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There will be "more than meets the eye" at Lowe's Motor Speedway Sept. 13-16 when a pair of Autobots from "Transformers," the summer's hottest movie, make an appearance at Food Lion AutoFair.

Bumblebee, a yellow 2009 Chevrolet Camaro, and Ironhide, a black GMC Topkick truck, will be among the "heavy metal" on display in the spacious Food Lion Pavilion throughout the four-day automotive extravaganza.

Toy maker Hasbro introduced the Japanese-born Transformers concept-good and evil fighting robots who disguise themselves as everyday objects-to United States and European stores in 1984. With a few twists, turns and clicks, each of the innovative figures converted from a toy car, truck or airplane into a fierce, humanoid-shaped battle machine.

The line was accompanied by a syndicated television cartoon series whose theme song pounded home the idea that these were "robots in disguise."

Hasbro was taking advantage of the Federal Communications Commission's lifting that year of rules restricting toy companies from broadcasting toy-based cartoons.

Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, were the good guys. The Decepticon evil-doers were led by power-hungry Megatron, who in early years folded into an authentic-looking Walther P38 9mm pistol. In the first television series, the Transformers fought for control of Cybertron, home planet to both factions. Marvel Comics, the company that gave the world Spiderman, X-Men and The Fantastic Four, broadened the Transformers universe by publishing monthly issues from 1984 to 1994.

As with any successful entertainment franchise, the vast Transformers universe has endured many changes; some of which were embraced by fans, others rejected. Unicron was a character who could eat and/or become an entire planet. Robots that transformed into mechanical versions of animals evolved into Battle Beasts, who morphed into realistic-looking predators.

There were Constructicons (evil robots based on construction vehicles), Dinobots, Aerialbots, Predacons, Headmasters, Stunticons, Combaticons, Super-God Masterforce (Japan only), Powermasters, and Protectobots. The list of variations, generations and sub-groups rivals that of any biology catalog.

A lot of the cartoon episodes took place on Cybertron or other alien worlds, but the Transformers come to Earth in one of this year's biggest-grossing action movies.

Actors Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel play two of the humans who get caught between Autobots and Decepticons as they each look for a powerful cube known as the Allspark. Like Earth's own nuclear power, the Allspark can be used for good (healing damaged Autobots) or destruction (converting innocent machines into Decepticons).

In this latest addition to the Transformers mythology, the Autobots are represented by Bumblebee, Ironhide, Optimus Prime (in the form of a Peterbilt truck), Jazz (Pontiac Solstice), and Ratchet (Hummer H2).

Bumblebee is the scout assigned to find and protect Allspark's keeper on Earth while Ironhide is the team's weapons specialist and most-experienced warrior.

Other attractions scheduled for the Sept. 13-16 Food Lion AutoFair include a trio of cars from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s personal collection; TV host John Walsh's unique amphibious vehicle; a pair of awesome Audis; Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 "pass in the grass" Chevrolet from 1987; and world-class hot rods from Watty's Fabrications.

Food Lion AutoFair is the world's largest automotive extravaganza.  Attracting over 120,000 visitors, the four-day event includes a car show featuring various makes and models from more than 50 clubs; more than 7,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia; and a collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack. A car corral, which completely circles the 1.5-mile superspeedway, features nearly 1,500 vehicles available for sale or trade.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5. For information, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.