So… I’ve been told I’m sleeping on Pixar’s Cars…🤦🏾‍♀

He was so right.

Anya Logan
5 min readFeb 16, 2022
Photo by Max Cortez on Unsplash

Okay… before you start reading, I want to clarify that I have seen cars: every single one, about a million times. Pixar’s Iconic movie was released in 2006 and has changed the lives of every 21-century child and possibly every 20th-century adult.

In my previous article, The Best Racing Movies Of All Time, I got a comment from a very good friend of mine that I missed one of the most essential racing movies, and I must say that he is completely right!

How could I not include one of my favorites!

And so I thought, “Why would I lump Cars into a whole bunch of different movies? Cars deserve an article all to itself.” Hence this article.

But shout-out to him (You know who you are) for bringing it to my attention.

So let’s get started!

Lightning McQueen

So we all know Lightning McQueen, the bold and overconfident rookie racer who mellowed out after his time in Radiator Springs. But what you might not know is that Lightning McQueen was supposed to be a 2006 Chevrolet Corvette C6.

I bet you didn’t know that! (Cause I didn’t)

Honestly looks nothing like him.

As we all know, Lightning McQueen, in his rush to get to the Los Angeles International Speedway, finds his way to Radiator Springs, Arizona, when his Truck, Mack, falls asleep on the highway.

Then he gets scared, totally ruins the road of the cute and quaint little town and yadda, yadda, yadda.

You’ve seen the movie…Right?

Anyway, let’s get into more things that I’ll bet you didn’t know about Lightning McQueen.

  • Lightning’s Number

We know that Lightning’s racing number is 95. Duh. But believe it or not, it wasn’t always going to be that number. His number was going to be 57 in honor of John Lasseter’s (the director of the movie) birth year. But they changed it in recognition to Pixar’s first-ever animation, Toy Story. Released in -you guessed it- 1995. Yes, we are all old.

  • Lightning’s Wheels

Most haven’t taken notice of Lightning’s tires. That’s understandable. But the brand of the tire is called “Buzzard,” and the manufacturer for the tire is “Lightyear.” Is it a reference to Buzz Lightyear?

A coincidence? I think NOT! (If you remember that reference from another beloved Pixar movie, put it in the comments!)

  • Lightning’s Name

Everyone thinks that Lightning McQueen was named after the famous actor, Steve McQueen, but think again. Lightning was actually named after Glenn McQueen, a Pixar animator who created Woody from “Toy Story” and Boo from “Monsters, inc.”

Sadly, the 41-year-old died four years before Cars’ release in 2006 from Melanoma. Lightning was then named in memory of Glenn.

Mater (or Tow Mater, take your pick)

Ah, what to say about Mater? Mater is a sensitive and optimistic tow truck that immediately befriends Lightning McQueen after being sentenced to fix the totally destroyed road.

Mater, although not the smartest bolt in the toolbox, at least until Cars 2, has won the hearts of everyone who has watched Cars (Unless you’re a cold and heartless human).

He was inspired by a mixture of the 1951 International Harvester and a mid-1957 Chevrolet 3800.

My goodness.

Guess what? Mater’s full name is Tow Mater. “Tow” is his first name, and “Mater” being his last

Doc Hudson

I have always had a knack for liking the mean characters in movies. I don’t know why.

It’s alarming.

That’s not the point, though.

Doc Hudson is undoubtedly my favorite (with the exception of Mater). He’s stubborn, mysterious, and just downright harsh, but he’s also the most loyal. He’s a Motor-Medic in the small town radiator springs but also acts as the judge and mayor too.

As surprising as it may be, no one in Radiator Springs knows about his racing past. Doc Hudson is a 1951 Hudson Hornet (Go figure.)

Ooooh, I like the black.

In Cars 2 and 3, we all wondered why Doc Hudson wasn’t there and how he died (At least I was). It turns out the voice actor for Doc Hudson, Paul Newman, died in 2008 at 83 years old.

They “retired” Doc after Paul’s death because it just wouldn’t have been the same. And I agree although it would have been great to see Doc Hudson again.

Sally (Sally Carrera)

You want to know something super sad? Lemme whisper it in your ear.

I didn’t know that Sally was a Porche until my 5th time watching it.

I hate saying that aloud only because I am supposed to be the car nut. I should know these things, right? Yeah, I dropped the ball.

Doesn’t matter. We all know Sally and her connection to Lightning. Really when you think about it, their relationship was a whole, enemies to friends kind of thing.

She was the one who gave him the job to fix the road and also gave him the cold shoulder when he tried to use his “charm” to get him out of work—respect Sally.


Sally is a 2002 Porche 911 (One of my dad’s favorite).

Such a nice car…

Unknown fact: Sally’s real name is Sarah.

She was an attorney and lawyer in LA when she decided she had enough of the city life, so she hit the road and drove until she ran out of gas in radiator springs.

She quickly fell in love with the town and decided to settle there. She started the Cozy Cone and became the town’s Lawyer and Attorney.

There are so many other cars that made the movie such an iconic film, but I grabbed the most important ones.

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