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September 16, 2019

1988 Ford Fiesta Transformed Into Real-Life Transformer

When UK-based artist Hetain Patel was gifted a 1988 Ford Fiesta as his first car when he turned 17, he likely could not have realized the influence it would have on his artistic career. In 2013, Patel has taken an acquired vehicle, with the exact same specifications as his now-vintage original, and turned it into ‘Fiesta Transformer’, a large-scale construction mimicking the robotic alien creatures from the widely recognizable film and toy franchise ‘Transformers’.

He said: “The 1988 Ford Fiesta was my first car my parents ever bought me when I passed my driving test at 17. It was a little beat up up and not very reliable but it was my first real feel of freedom – the power to decide where to go, as long as I could get together some petrol money. The car was also for a long time one of the symbols of working class Britain, which reflects my family heritage in a lot of ways.”

1988 Ford Fiesta

With the help of his father and brother, the all red automobile is structurally reworked into a squatting, human-like figure. Each and every facet of the form is recycled from the car’s parts: deconstructed doors are adapted into outwardly extending arms, engine pieces become biological joints, and the hood and headlights are remodeled into knees.

“I made the sculpture with my dad over a period of three or four months,” he said of his work. “I was really keen to spend time with him in his world, learning from him. So our building process felt a bit like my taking an apprenticeship in cutting and welding metal and learning about cars. It was definitely a bonding experience.”

But besides learning skills passed down the generations there’s a reason it’s not depicted in a fighting stance.

“The final sculpture is in a squatting posture that comes up a lot in my work,” he said. “It is a posture commonly adopted by the lower classes in India, and one that is still built into some of my family members’ bodies despite them having lived in the UK now for many years. So ‘Fiesta Transformer’ represents some elements of working class India and working class Britain.”

Forget all the fancy talk of art and empowerment and all the rest. This piece of art is just plain awesome and stands on it’s own. No pun intended. It shows what a father, son, brother trio of geeks can accomplish.

If you’re a Transformer fan you may already know that they were launched in Japan in 1984. Originally they represented alien robots disguising themselves as cars. They’re now often seen in films and comic books, or in this case influencing modern art.


  1. It looks like it's taking a dump.

    1. It looks like it IS a dump. (Also, reason #73407203709784302 why the 80s sucked so hard.)

  2. My father and I also had a project, we created a metal sculpture of our dog, this brought us very close and I learned how to work with welding.
    What kind of welding did they use? I think TIG welding, so that there are high-quality welds.




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