116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
- "Life's a journey - Enjoy the trip."
Cars is a feature film by Disney and Pixar. It is the main film and the movie that started the Cars series.
The film opens in the final race of the 2006 Piston Cup stock car racing season and championship in the Motor Speedway of the South, where a skilled but arrogant rookie racecar, Lightning McQueen, has overtaken his opponents, past a huge wreck, and has built up a huge lead over the cup's defending (but soon retiring) seven-time champion, Strip "The King" Weathers, and perennial runner-up Chick Hicks. However, because of his refusal to make regular pit stops and get new tires, his rear worn tires burst into flames on the final lap, causing him to skid and ultimately crawl to the finish line, barely managing to tie the King and Chick Hicks in a photo finish. Race officials announce that because the three racers are also tied in overall season points they will compete in one final tiebreaker race to be held at the Los Angeles International Speedway in one week to determine the champion.
While traveling down Interstate 40 to California, McQueen becomes separated from Mack, his transport truck, and while trying to catch up becomes lost on U.S. Route 66, catching the attention of the local Radiator Springs Sheriff in the process. A chase ensues, during which McQueen crashes and gets tangled in wires, damaging part of the town's main street in the process.
McQueen is taken to traffic court, where the town's attorney, Sally Carrera, pleads against McQueen. He is sentenced to repave the road using "Bessie", an asphalt-laying machine. Only interested in leaving and extremely furious, he makes an escape attempt before being hooked up, only to figure out his gas tank was siphoned. McQueen rushes through his first day of paving and the new road surface is so bumpy, unusable, uneven, and poor that he is told he must scrape it off and start over again.
When Doc Hudson offers McQueen a deal -- beat Doc in a race around Willy's Butte and he is free to go -- McQueen eagerly accepts. He leaves Doc in the dust at the starting line, but loses control on the loose dirt turn and crashes into a cactus patch. While the town's tow truck, Mater, hauls McQueen out of the cactus patch in which he landed, Doc effortlessly cruises to the finish line after informing McQueen that he races like he fixes roads. McQueen is compelled to scrape off the botched pavement and start over again.
As the ensuing days pass, McQueen is disturbed by nightmares of Chick Hicks winning the Piston Cup and landing Dinoco. He starts to befriend the town's residents and learn more about the town in the process: how Radiator Springs was once a thriving town until completion of the nearby interstate bypassed the little town, depriving it of its business traffic and visitors (and ironically, depriving those passing visitors of the natural beauty found in the scenery along the old highway); how Sally left behind her rich but unhappy life as an urban lawyer; what "tractor tipping" (a parody of cow tipping) is; and how Doc Hudson was once a famous racecar himself (the "Hudson Hornet") -- and 3-time Piston Cup champion -- until a horrible crash in 1954 ended his racing career. Doc bitterly refuses to reveal much about his past (despite McQueen witnessing him expertly drifting through the loose dirt of Willy's Butte where McQueen crashed), labeling his old trophies as "a bunch of empty cups".
By the time McQueen finishes repaving Radiator Springs's main road, he has formed a bond with the town and its residents. Rather than immediately leaving for California (as he had initially been eager to do), he spends the day touring the town's businesses, receiving a fresh coat of paint and new tires in the process, and participates in a cruise party that night. But he is suddenly found, then whisked away in his truck, Mack, without even a chance to bid farewell to Radiator Springs. The town's residents are sad to see him leave, and Sally is angry to learn that it was Doc who ultimately informed the media of McQueen's whereabouts.
The final race among McQueen, The King, and Chick opens with what the race's commentators call the "biggest race in history." McQueen is distracted by his memories of Radiator Springs, losing time to The King and Chick Hicks, and begins to fear he will simply lose. To his surprise, Doc Hudson has arrived at the race, with Mater and a few others from Radiator Springs who will serve as his pit crew; Doc, once again wearing his original "Hudson Hornet" racing stripes, takes over as McQueen's crew chief. With Doc's coaching, a record-fast pit stop for new tires, and a few tricks learned from the small town's inhabitants, McQueen is not only able to overtake his opponents, but has built a considerable lead by the final lap.
As McQueen approaches the finish line, Chick sideswipes The King in a desperate attempt to avoid finishing behind him yet again, sending The King into a terrible rollover crash. McQueen, fearing that The King's racing career will end in the same way as did the Hudson Hornet's, comes to a full stop right before the finish line. After Chick gleefully crosses the finish line, McQueen then backtracks to push the veteran racer across the finish line ahead of him, saying that "I think The King should finish his last race". Although Chick Hicks has officially won the Piston Cup, he begins to learn that it's a hollow victory as he is jeered and despised for taking out The King, while McQueen is cheered as a hero for his good sportsmanship. Tex from Dinoco, The King's sponsor company, offers to support McQueen as his new sponsor; but McQueen, having now had a change of heart, respectfully declines, saying that his current sponsor Rust-eze gave him his "big break," and he wanted to continue with them.
Two days after the race, McQueen returns to Radiator Springs, announcing that he will establish his racing headquarters there. This helps to revitalize the town and draw back visitors and tourists, with the once-abandoned Route 66 being reclassified as "Historic Route 66."
The original script (called The Yellow Car, about an electric car living in a gas-guzzling world) and some of the original drawings and characters were produced in 1998 and the producers agreed that Cars would be the next movie after A Bug's Life, and would be released in early 1999, particularly around June 4. However, that movie was eventually scrapped in favor of Toy Story 2. Later, production resumed with major script changes.
In 2001, the movie's working title was Route 66 (after U.S. Route 66), but in 2002, the title was changed to prevent people from thinking it was related to the 1960 television series with the same name. Also, Lightning McQueen's number was originally going to be 57 (Lasseter's birth year), but was changed to 95 (the year Toy Story was released), the number seen in the movie today.
Joe Ranft's Death
Cars is the last film worked on by Joe Ranft, who died in a car crash in 2005. The film was the second to be dedicated to his memory, after Corpse Bride.
Unlike most anthropomorphic cars, the eyes of the cars in this film were placed on the windshield (which resembles the Tonka Talking Trucks, as well as the characters from Tex Avery's One Cab's Family short and Disney's own Susie the Little Blue Coupe), rather than within the headlights. According to production designer Bob Pauley, "From the very beginning of this project, John Lasseter had it in his mind to have the eyes be in the windshield. For one thing, it separates our characters from the more common approach where you have little cartoon eyes in the headlights. For another, he thought that having the eyes down near the mouth at the front end of the car made the character feel more like a snake. With the eyes set in the windshield, the point of view is more human-like, and made it feel like the whole car could be involved in the animation of the character."
The characters also use their tires as hands, the exceptions being the various tow truck characters who sometimes uses their tow hooks, and the various forklift characters, who use their forks.
Top Down Truck Stop
Pixar had another idea for getting Lightning McQueen separated from Mack. In this deleted scene, Mack stopped at Top Down Truckstop to get a car wash. After a while, Lightning got impatient, so he went out of his trailer to look for Mack. He met Mia and Tia, who were waitresses at Top Down Truck Stop. The characters that became Rusty Rust-eze and Dusty Rust-eze were there too. Meanwhile, Mack finished his car wash, and Lightning was still hanging out with his fans. Mack didn't know Lightning wasn't in the trailer, so he drove away without him. Lightning said that he must get back to Mack, but he couldn't find him. He looked at where his trailer was parked, and the car wash, but Mack wasn't there. Then he saw Mack driving down the Interstate, so he rushed after him. He drove through a red light, and almost crashed. He drove up the exit ramp, going the "wrong way." He had to dodge a bunch of cars on the road, and then the whole road was blocked by trucks, so he drove off the road. A watermelon truck dropped watermelons on him. Finally, Lightning got back on the road, and tried to find Mack.
Lightning had caught up with Mack, but found out it wasn't Mack. The truck drove away, leaving Lightning at the crossing. Lightning didn't know what to do. Then, on his left, he saw the Interstate, so he quickly raced towards it. Next, it became dark, and then a "thud" happened. Lightning found himself going off the road. Then he fell down a hill, and crashed into a bunch of branches. He bumped into a car behind him. He turned around, and the car was a dead car. Lightning freaked out. He looked around, and more dead cars were everywhere. One was even hanging on the tree. Several of them had branches growing through them. Lightning then imagined that some of those dead cars were about to grab them with tree branches. Really, he crashed into a fence. The fence got tangled on him. On the other side of the fence was the engine of another dead car. Lightning got back on the road, and tried to run away from the dead car's engine. Lightning eventually got untangled and ran away. The dead car's engine seemed to have exploded.
Lightning was asked to do a race in Radiator Springs, but he refused, and chose to do standard community service instead. He was sleeping in the impound. While he was sleeping, he had a nightmare. In the nightmare, Doc Hudson, Mater, and Sheriff had put his engine in a steamroller. He tried to escape. He drove through the fence, and Sheriff chased him with his siren. He flipped a switch on the back of Lightning, which turned on a machine that splats asphalt on the road. Then, another machine that sprays the yellow line in the middle turned on. In the whole sequence, asphalt gets splatted on the road, the steamroller wheels flatten it, and the yellow line gets painted. Also, Doc has put Mater's engine into Lightning's body, so now Mater was a racecar. He had fun being a racecar, and Lightning was worried he will wreck his body. Then, Mack came back, and he mistaked Mater for Lightning. Mater got into Lightning's trailer, and Mack drove away. Lightning tried to get Doc and Sheriff to get Mater back, but they wanted him to continue fixing the road. Lightning looked down the road, and there was lots of road to fix. Then Lightning really woke up, and found himself in his regular body. He saw the steamroller body on the side. He decided to change his mind and do the race instead.
Radiator Springs was having a karoake night. Flo was singing a song. Lightning asked Ramone how he and Flo fell in love. Ramone has started his story. Some Motorama Girls have came to Radiator Springs from Detroit, Michigan. Nobody had seen anyone like them before. They had a chaperone, who broke down, and that's why they were in Radiator Springs. The girls had some time to kill, so they did what they do best. They had lots of fun. They drank fuel, they danced the conga, and Red gave them car washes. Then they came to Ramone's to get paint jobs. Ramone gave them some paint jobs. Finally, on the last car, Ramone dropped his air brush. Flo asked, "What's the matter? You're too good to paint me?" Ramone said, "No, baby. You're too good for me to paint. I can't touch a classic." The next day, the Motorama Girls left, and Flo stayed. And that's the story of how Ramone and Flo fell in love. Lightning asked how Ramone knew she was the one. Ramone replied, "You just know, man. You just know." Meanwhile, Flo finished her song.
This deleted scene later became a storytellers' story titled Showstopper.
The landscape in the distance behind Radiator Springs is made up of rock formations intentionally reminiscent of Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. The road map shown in the montage history of the town calls the area "Cadillac Range." Some of the mountain peaks in the Cadillac Range, shown during the movie, resemble the quarter panels of late-50's Cadillacs, with their distinctive tailfins.
The setting for the fictional town of Radiator Springs is situated between Gallup, New Mexico and Kingman, Arizona. A landmark, called Radiator Cap, overlooks the town, and has two white letters ("R" and "S") written upon it. The style and relative positioning of these letters on the landmark closely resemble the "RS" badge used on the first-generation "Rally Sport" Camaros.
Radiator Springs is loosely based on Amboy, California in the Mojave Desert -- a town that showed a decline in almost all traffic when I-40 opened in 1972. Sally references this in the film.
Nearby "Ornament Valley" (a reference to Monument Valley) is made of rock formations that project from the valley walls or rise from the valley floor and resemble the front ends of late 1930s to early 1940s American automobiles.
The Flo's V8 Cafe logo is similar to that used by the '32 Ford V8, the first V8 for mass marketed cars. This logo also appeared on Ford V8 in the sixties as well as third-generation Ford Explorers.
The track on which the opening race (Motor Speedway of the South) takes place is actually based on and an enlarged version of the real life Bristol Motor Speedway. The venue for the Piston Cup tiebreaker race (the Los Angeles International Speedway) is a conglomeration of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena where the Rose Bowl is located, as well as the California Speedway.
Many characters and places in the movie are directly inspired on the real Route 66 places and people.
To quote the Pixar crew:
- "As we traveled on Route 66, we were privileged to visit many places and to meet a number of people who live and work alongside 'The Mother Road.' The following is a list of the places and people we wanted to honor by including their names in our 'Special Thanks' credits at the end of the film."
The Cars Soundtrack has two versions of the classic Nat King Cole jazz standard 'Route 66' song, one by Chuck Berry and a new version recorded specifically for the film's credits performed by John Mayer.
Among the many references to Route 66 landmarks and personalities:
- The Cozy Cone Motel's design is based on the two Wigwam Motels along Route 66, in Holbrook, Arizona and Rialto, California. These were once two out of seven built motels (3 remaining), with individual cabins shaped like teepees. The name "Cozy Cone" was inspired by the Cozy Dog Drive-In of Springfield, Illinois, which lays claim to being birthplace of the corn dog.
- Ramone's House of Body Art is based primarily on the U Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas. It opened in 1936 as Tower Conoco (from its distinctive Art Deco spire) with the U Drop Inn Cafe and a retail building attached. Many other establishments built along Route 66 in its heyday had Art Deco elements that might be reflected in the design of Ramone's.
- In the background of one scene, there is a yellow billboard reading "HERE IT IS" and has an image of a Model T. It is based after the Jackrabbit Trading Post on Route 66.
- Interstate 40
- Top Down Truck Stop
- Motor Speedway of the South
- Radiator Springs & nearby locations
- Los Angeles International Speedway
In its opening weekend, Cars grossed $60.1 million, lower than previous Pixar films such as The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. In the United States, the film held onto the #1 spot for two weeks before being surpassed by Click and then by Superman Returns the following weekend. It went on to gross $461,981,522 worldwide (ranking #6 in 2006 films) and $244,082,982 in the U.S. (the third highest-grossing film of 2006 in the country, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Night at the Museum). It was the highest-grossing animated film of 2006 in the U.S., but lost to Ice Age: The Meltdown in worldwide totals.
The film has 75% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, making it the only Pixar film, until it's sequel, Cars 2, and Brave in 2012 lower than 90%.
Critics have stated that Cars did not do as well critically as other films. "The movie is great to look at and a lot of fun," says critic Roger Ebert, "but somehow lacks the extra push of the other Pixar films." Reeling Reviews wrote that the film's "only real drawback is its failure to inspire awe with its visuals and to thoroughly transport with its storytelling."
Cars was originally set to release in theaters on November 7, 2005, but was pushed back to a release date of June 9, 2006 in late 2004. Steve Jobs confirmed the reason for this was because he wanted all Pixar films to be released during the summertime.
Cars was released to DVD on November 7, 2006. On November 6, 2007, Cars was released on Blu-ray, and a release of the Blu-ray Combo Pack was released on April 12, 2011. It was the first Pixar movie to get a Blu-ray. It got a Blu-ray 3D on October 29, 2013, the same month Monsters University was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
Although the movie was rated G in the United States, it was rated PG in the United Kingdom.
- Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
- Paul Newman as Doc Hudson
- Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera
- Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
- Cheech Marin as Ramone
- Tony Shalhoub as Luigi
- Guido Quaroni as Guido
- Jenifer Lewis as Flo
- Paul Dooley as Sarge
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff
- George Carlin as Fillmore
- Katherine Helmond as Lizzie
- John Ratzenberger as Mack
- Joe Ranft as Red and Peterbilt
- Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks
- Richard Petty as The King
- Jeremy Piven as Harv (US)
- Jeremy Clarkson as Harv (UK)
- Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass
- Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip
- Richard Kind as Van
- Edie McClurg as Minny
- H. A. Wheeler as Tex
- Tom and Ray Magliozzi as Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze
- Lynda Petty as Mrs. The King
- Andrew Stanton as Fred
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. as Junior
- Michael Schumacher as Michael Schumacher Ferrari
- Jay Leno as Jay Limo
- Mario Andretti as Mario Andretti
- Sarah Clark as Kori Turbowitz
- Mike "No Name" Nelson as Not Chuck
- Jonas Rivera as Boost
- Lou Romano as Snot Rod
- Adrian Ochoa as Wingo
- E.J. Holowicki as DJ
- Elissa Knight as Tia
- Lindsey Collins as Mia
- Larry Benton as Larry
- Douglas Keever as Albert Hinkey
- Tom Hanks as Woody
- Tim Allen as Buzz Light Car
- Billy Crystal as Mike
- John Goodman as Sulley
- Dave Foley as Flik
- Rodger Bumpass as Wide Chick Pitty
- Artie Kempner as Artie
- Hooman Khalili as Hooman
- Jess Harnell as Sven the Governor
- Sonoko Konishi as Chuki
- Sheryl Crow as Elvis
- Jack Angel
- Michael Bell
- Bob Bergen
- Susan Blu
- Andrea Boerries
- Marco Boerries
- Torbin Xan Bullock
- Richard Cawood
- Scott Clark
- Kathy Coates
- Jennifer Darling
- Paul Eiding
- Bill Farmer
- Brian Fee
- Teresa Ganzel
- Craig Good
- Erik Langley
- Sherry Lynn
- Danny Mann
- Mickie McGowan
- Laraine Newman
- Teddy Newton
- Colleen O' Shaughnessey
- Bob Peterson
- Steve Purcell
- A.J. Riebli
- Dan Scanlon
- Stephen Schaffer
- Ken Schretzmann
- Bob Scott
- Matt Staudt
- Jim and Jay Ward
- Colette Whitaker
- Main article: Cars (soundtrack)
A soundtrack was released three days before the film, featuring nine songs sung by popular artists, leaving the other eleven composed by Randy Newman.
- During "Life Is a Highway", the birds from For the Birds can be seen sitting on a telephone wire.
- Dinoco, The King's sponsor, is also the gas station Buzz Lightyear and Woody get stranded at in Toy Story.
- The snowman from Knick Knack is seen in the snowglobe in Lizzie's Curios Shop.
- Syd VanDerKamper is watching the final race, which he is surrounded by flamingos which is a reference to Knick Knack.
- The Pizza Planet delivery truck, which has shown up in every Pixar film except The Incredibles, appears before the final race, next to the Elvis camper in the left background behind Bob Cutlass. He also appears during the Life is a Highway sequence, at a Dinoco station, reproducing how the truck appeared in Toy Story, at a Dinoco gas station.
- During the end credits, car-stylised versions of Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc. are seen playing at the Radiator Springs Drive-In Theatre.
- A camper has an image of the Jackalope from Boundin' on his back.
- Two trucks at the Top Down Truckstop have Mr. Incredible's red-dotted lowercase "i" incorporated in the logo on their trailer.
- Also, some of the trucks' trailers have either "TS" or "FN" written on them, a possible reference to Toy Story and Finding Nemo, respectively.
- The tires of Piston Cup racers are Lightyear tires, which alludes both to the tire manufacturer Goodyear, and to Buzz Lightyear. They also bear the inscription "Section 4 Gamma Quadrant", the location where Buzz is seen in the video game in Toy Story 2.
- Chick Hicks's number (86) is a reference to the year Pixar was founded. Lightning McQueen's number (95) is a reference to the year Toy Story was released in the theaters.
- During the introductory race, there is a white car with the Apple, Inc. logo.
- Cars is the second Pixar film to have a post-credits sequence. The first is Finding Nemo.
- At the tie-breaking race at the Los Angeles International Speedway, while three fighter jets pass over the stadium, Pixar Animation Studios can be seen among the nearby buildings, although the real studio is located at Emeryville, near San Francisco, not at Los Angeles.
- Ornament Valley, near Radiator Springs, is shaped like car hoods. The mountain range surrounding Radiator Springs is called Cadillac Range. The mountains are shaped like quarter panels of 50's Cadillacs, in reference to Cadillac Ranch.
- The neon lights on top of the canopy at Flo's V8 Cafe fire in the same pattern as a 1932 Ford V8 Flathead.
- On average, it took 17 hours to render each frame of the film. In addition, it was the first Pixar film to use ray-tracing to accurately create the reflections on the cars.
- Cars was originally going to be called Route 66, which would make a lot of sense because of the location that the movie takes place in. The release title was chosen to avoid confusion with the 1960s TV series of the same name as the working title.
- This is the first Pixar movie that used the word "hell". The second time was Ratatouille.
- One of the cars in the first race is sponsered by 'Leak Less'. A bottle of 'Leak Less' fuel is seen in WALL•E.
- Cars is the seventh Disney·Pixar feature film, and the first film by Pixar released when it was bought by Disney.
- The film is also the second Pixar film to have an entirely non-human cast after A Bug's Life.
- The plot of Cars bears a striking resemblance to that of Doc Hollywood.
- Cars received a 74% "Certified Fresh" rating on the movie review website, Rotten Tomatoes. This is the second lowest rating ever given to a Pixar film, after Cars 2, which got an even lower rating.
- Many famous people, particularly from the automobile racing world make a cameo appearance in Cars which include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Bob Costas, Darrell Waltrip and Jay Leno; references to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elvis, although it is not known if the former is voiced by himself. The latter certainly isn't as he died in 1977, long before Pixar was founded.
- This film demonstrates Pixar's most extensive use of product placement seen in any of its films thus far, with automobile brands, both current and defunct.
- This inspired Vídeo Brinquedo to make The Little Cars in the Great Race, a rip-off of this film.
- In the scene where the race announcers are talking about the popularity of the race, it says that the whole town of Emeryville is closed for the race. Emeryville is the location of the Pixar Studios.
- In Lightning's dream about Lightning Storm, a car gets zapped and emits the Wilhelm scream. The Wilhelm scream is a sound effect used in many movies.
- In the teaser trailer, there is a car sponsored by "Jumbo Pretzels". This is presumably the same company that was seen in A Bug's Life under the name "Jackson's Jumbo Pretzels."
- All of the vehicles in the series appear to have their windows completely opaque and blanked out, and no convertibles nor any vehicles without roofs actually appear (the vehicles that do resemble convertibles always have their roofs up), and it's heavily implied that they all may not be hollow.
- This is the last Pixar film to have a fullscreen format for its US home release.
- This is Pixar's longest film to date.
- Originally, the film was going to be about and electric car living in a gas-guzzling world. Interestingly enough, the original concept also featured Fillmore and Sarge.
- This is Joe Ranft's last film, since he died in a car accident the year before, while the film was still in production.
- At the scene after the first race, when Lightning McQueen poses for the paparazzi, we can see Dash Boardman at the left behind Mia, he has green color. But when the security SUVs push Mia and Tia away, we can see that Dash Boardman has now a brown color.
- In the tractor tipping scene, Mater demonstrates to Lightning how to do it by using two tractors before Lightning's first try. And then, when Lightning revs his engine at full throttle, and we have a wide open shot of the field, we can see that all the tractors in the field are still turning. Missing are the two already tipped by Mater. However, it could be that those tractors got upright before McQueen tips all of the tractors, according to the video games.
- When the car crash starts, you can see Chick Hicks knocking Winford Bradford Rutherford off the track, who then crashes into Murray Clutchburn, who then crashes into Johnny Blamer. Look carefully in the shot after Chick says "Ha! Get through that McQueen!" and you'll see that James Cleanair is shown instead of Murray Clutchburn.
- On the last lap of the first race, Lightning blows a tire and swerves a bit while Darrell Cartrip says, "Oh no! McQueen has blown a tire!" The camera changes scenes for about 3 seconds and then shows the large TV. However, the TV shows the same exact swerve, and the signal couldn't possibly take so long.
- After the first race, in the scene where Lightning is rushing out on the stage thinking he is the winner, loads of confetti is shot out when the King and Chick Hicks gets onto the stage. The confetti is then falling down, but not a single flake hits any of the cars. However, in the following shots, you can see plenty of it on the stage underneath the cars, even though they haven't moved. It might be that it is special confetti and cannot hit any of the cars and can go underneath them.
- Before Lightning falls off the end of Mack's trailer, you can see Snot Rod and one of the other cars running alongside the trailer. But when the camera moves to show Lightning coming off the trailer, you can see alongside the trailer in the background, and the cars are now missing. The camera switches back to the front of Mack, and the cars are back alongside again.
- When the Delinquent Road Hazards are fooling around with Mack, the camera does a closeup shot of Snot Rod revving his engine, and you can see the throttle butterflies closing when he revs higher. They should be opening, not closing, with higher revs.
- Before the start of the final race, when Chick is bragging to Lightning, the sun is reflecting off of Chick's "C in a thundercloud" sticker, displaying a clearly visible letter C on Lightning's paint. Based on the orientation of Chick's sticker, the C should be displayed backwards in the reflection, not forward as it is shown.
- An apparent rendering error: as the camera pans through a crowd entering the stadium where the final race is being held, a brown car that is just to the right of the center of view has his left front wheel showing through his fender until the camera gets closer.
- An apparent rendering error: at the scene when Luigi offers his service to Van and Minny, we can see Guido juggling wheels. When Guido finishes his juggling with all the wheels over his right lift, his real wheel seems to overstep his own bodywork.
- At the scene of the final race, when Lightning McQueen discovers that his friends from Radiator Springs are his pit crew, the camera shows the pit crew, and we can see that Mack has his headphones on. Right after that, another camera shows a closer view to the pit crew, and Mack doesn't have his headphones on anymore. But on the next scenes of the race, we can see that he still has the headphones on.
- During the final lap of the first race, the last 2 cars continually change from Kevin Racingtire and Slider Petrolski to Todd Marcus and Claude Scruggs, despite the fact that the four cars are nowhere near each other.
- When Lightning rides on the wall to pass Rusty Cornfuel and Floyd Mulvihill, he passes Winford Rutherford and Sage VanDerSpin, and goes to Slider Petrolski, however, if you notice, past him are Todd Marcus, Ernie Gearson, and Winford again, as if there were 2 RPM cars with the same body, but there isn't.
- When the car crash starts, after the camera zooms out you can see that Eugene Carbureski made it through the wreck, clearly, but in the next few frames it shows Eugene in the wreck.
- At the beginning of the film, The King's eyes are brown. During and immediately after his wreck however, his eyes are the same shade of blue as his paint. At the end of the movie, while The King, his wife and Junior are in the museum, his eyes are brown again.
- When the jets are flying over the Los Angeles International Speedway, Pixar Animation Studios can be seen in the background. In reality, Pixar Animation Studios is in Emeryville, not Los Angeles. However, it could be that in the film, there is another Pixar Studios in Los Angeles.
- At the very beginning of the film, Lightning McQueen claims that there are 43 racecars competing in the race (just like in NASCAR in real life), but in the actual race, we only see 36 cars racing each other. A 36 car field, however, does exist in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series field.
- In the first Piston Cup race at the beginning, Darrell is wondering if McQueen will be the first rookie to win a Piston Cup. Doc Hudson won his first Piston Cup in 1951, but the Hudson Hornets were first built in 1951, meaning that Doc may actually be the first rookie to win a Piston Cup. But Darrell also says "... and land Dinoco?", so he could mean first rookie to do both.
- Chick Hicks was not seen behind Lightning when he tried to stop right before the finish line at Los Angeles.
- The first teaser poster showed Lightning McQueen under a tarp with part of it hiked up to show his smiling mouth. For some reason, that illustration of him for some reason showed him with rear-view mirrors, something actual stock cars (and McQueen himself in the actual film) do not have.
- During the close-up of "Petrol" Pulaski giving Winford Bradford Rutherford oil, Chief RPM can be seen colored white. However, during the scene with all of the pit crews, he is colored yellow.
- In the scene where Mater is rounding up the tractors while McQueen is chasing Doc, the DVD and Blu-ray subtitles mistakenly refer to the tractors as trucks.
- When Luigi says to Sally that he has tires at his store, the DVD and Blu-ray subtitles mistakenly don't capitalize the "t" in "tires".
- When Mater explains that Radiator Springs is the cutest little town in Carburetor County, the DVD and Blu-ray subtitles misspell Carburetor County as "Carburettor County".
- In some scenes, both of Mater's back tires are brown. But in other scenes, they are yellow on the right, and silver on the left.