In Wisconsin, an Oldsmobile Alero is more than meets the eye: he's a 23-foot-tall red robot, and his name is Hardwire.
The Transformer's creator, George Edgren, says he wasn't particularly involved with the franchise. "I liked them, but I wasn't a huge massive fan or anything. It's not like an 'I needed to be there on opening night' kind of deal," he tells The Verge. But when a friend suggested that he make one of his own, he ultimately took up the challenge. Over the course of a month, he bolted together the giant robot that now stands in his driveway. A longtime metalworker, he was already building and selling lawn art, but this was his biggest hobby project ever. While it's clearly a Transformer, it's not trying to fit any kind of canon. "I don't really plan things too much," he says. "I built the rough frame of it, and then for the artistic portion of it, I just kind of went with what I had in my head."
When he finished the project a few days ago, Edgren put up a call for names on Facebook. A news channel suggested "Oldmobilius Prime," and several people, to his confusion, converged on "Ollie." The winning suggestion pays homage to the Alero's well-known electrical problems. He's also had to address some basic lore questions from the Transformers universe. There are, he says, a lot of questions about AllSparks. "There's a guy and a kid talking, and the kid's like ‘When is it going to move?'" he says. "The father said ‘It's not quite done yet. It's missing the AllSpark.' And I turned to the father and said, ‘That sounds expensive.'"
Currently leaning over Edgren's house, Hardwire is mostly meant to catch people's eye, and Edgren doesn't have any firm future plans for it. He's also not sure whether he'll be building any more Autobots or Decepticons. "If I did, I would want to go for something bigger and better, but at this point in time, with my yard art, I just have to buckle down and stick with that," he says. "Next year I will, but I don't know what it will be." He might stick with Transformers, but come next summer, people could be seeing a giant spaceship — or something entirely unexpected.