The Wheelmen or Wheelman were an assortment of figures in the Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos and Machine Robo: Battle Hackers toylines, released by Bandai in Japan in 1987.
The figures are slightly larger (maybe an inch or so taller in robot mode) than those in the Machine Robo Series and were built around a powerful friction motor. To emphasise this all were custom-style cars with lots of visible engine details. Each came with a sticker sheet of racing car decals; these were identical across the releases and could be applied wherever the buyer wanted, to fit in with the custom car vibe. Initially the sheets included real racing sponsors, including Elf, Shell, Texaco, Marlboro, Lucky Strike and Bridgestone; at some point this was replaced by a sheet instead featuring bowdlerised versions of the same names, presumably in reaction to some sort of legal issue. The legal issue does not seem to be that a children's toy featured cigarette branding.
Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos
Hot Rod Joe
Machine Robo: Battle Hackers
- Early concept work for the Wheelmen included the idea of the engines being removable and being able to transform, similar to the later Transformers Powermasters.