Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch was an animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in 1974.
The series followed the adventures of Wheelie, an anthropomorphic red car who made his living as a professional racing and stunt car, being the characters of the series were cars or any other kind of vehicle. He was also frequently antagonized by a four-member motorcycle gang known as the Chopper Bunch, which consisted of Chopper, who acted as the leader of the gang; Revs, a red motorcycle who often mixed up words in his sentences; Hi-Riser, the tallest member of the gang who was rather dimwitted, and Scrambles, the smallest member, who seemed to be the kid of the group. Wheelie did not talk, like the other characters could, instead honking in order to communicate, as well as displaying different symbols across his windshield (such as a heart for love, or a light bulb for an idea). Wheelie was also accompanied by his girlfriend, Rota Ree.
The series ran for one season on NBC before being cancelled in 1975.
The show provides examples of the following:
- Catchphrase: Every time one of Chopper's plans fails, this exchange follows:Scrambles: I toldja! I toldja!Chopper: I know!
- Failure Is the Only Option: Chopper's plans always fail, despite Scrambles' warnings.
- Feather Fingers:
- The Chopper Bunch have no problems using their handlebars as arms and hands.
- What the cars use as hands is never consistent. Sometimes it's the wheels, sometimes it's the fenders, and sometimes mechanical arms come out of their hoods. Often they'd do more than one of these within a single episode; In fact, during the opening sequence Wheelie does all three within a single scene, and this is after he was shown holding a brush with one of his doors earlier in the opening.
- Flintstone Theming: In this case, the theme is motor vehicles.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Chopper Bunch appear to be a villainous example of this trope; Chopper (choleric), Revs (melancholic), Hi-Riser (phlegmatic), and Scrambles (sanguine).
- Jerkass: Chopper is this in spades.
- Logo Joke: Wheelie would sometimes "honk" the NBC chimes.
- Malaproper: Revs has the habit of mixing up his words whenever he speaks, much as Zummi Gummi (another character voiced by Paul Winchell) would later do.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Chopper.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: One episode features a Country Music singer named Johnny Crash.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Scrambles falls victim to this, every time he tries to warn Chopper that his plans are about to fail.
- Punny Name: Rota Ree's name appears to be based both on the word rotarynote and on Ruta Lee (High Rollers was also an NBC show at the time).
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Wheelie being the Road Runner to the Chopper Bunch's Coyote.
- Sentient Vehicle: The entire cast.
- Simpleton Voice: Hi-Riser.
- Spiritual Successor: To Speed Buggy, no less, though this series itself may have possibly been the inspiration for Cars.