- "Life's a journey - Enjoy the trip."
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."
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, with the exceptions being the various tow truck characters, who sometimes use their tow hooks, and the various forklift characters, who use their forks.
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.
- Sheriff is voiced by Michael Wallis, an American historian and author of Route 66: The Mother Road.
There are many different locations, some notable ones being Interstate 40, Top Down Truckstop, Motor Speedway of the South, Los Angeles International Speedway, and Radiator Springs, as well as its nearby locations.
Car FinderWhen Cars saw a Blu-ray release in 2007, an additional bonus feature was included, which was a game titled "Car Finder". The game is played by watching the entire film, broken up into three chapters: Motor Speedway of the South, Radiator Springs, and Los Angeles International Speedway. At the bottom of the screen, there is a bar with artwork of five different Cars characters. Whenever one of the five appears on screen, the player must press their icon in order to unlock their bio and specifications, as well as the snapshot that they took.
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.
- 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 Magliozzi as Rusty Rust-eze
- Ray Magliozzi as 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
In addition, there are also some additional voice credits, although it is unknown what roles the actors play.
- 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
List of scenes
|Dinoco 400||Motor Speedway of the South||The final race of the Piston Cup season results in a three-way tie between Lightning McQueen, The King, and Chick Hicks.|
|Victory Lane||Motor Speedway of the South||After the race, Lightning McQueen is interviewed by the press and talks to other racers, before his team quits due to his ignorance.|
|Rust-eze||Motor Speedway of the South||Much to Lightning's disinterest, Mack forces McQueen to make an appearance in the Rust-eze tent, where he is greeted with several rusty fans.|
|Life is a Highway||Interstate 40||Lightning tells Mack that in order to win a challenge against Chick Hicks, they must drive through the entire night, but this proves to be a difficult task.|
|Lost||Interstate 40||Four delinquents cause Mack's trailer to release Lightning from his trailer, leaving him stranded in the middle of traffic, with Mack nowhere to be seen.|
|In Town||Radiator Springs||Sheriff chases Lightning through town after he speeds past him on Route 66, and several obstacles cause Lightning to spin out of control and rip up the road.|
|Where's McQueen?||Los Angeles International Speedway||Mack arrives at the Los Angeles International Speedway, only to discover that Lightning is not in the trailer, causing major press coverage around the world.|
|The Impound||Radiator Springs||Lightning awakens in the Radiator Springs impound lot, where he tries to trick Mater into releasing him.|
|Traffic Court||Radiator Springs||Because he ripped up the main road in the town, Lightning is sentenced to repair the entire road before he is allowed to leave.|
|Bessie||Radiator Springs||In order to fix the road, McQueen has to pull Bessie, an old, rusty road paving machine, which annoys him because of its unsanitary conditions.|
|Customers!||Radiator Springs||While McQueen is fixing up the road, two travelers arrive in Radiator Springs, and all of the shop owners try to advertise, though they are not interested.|
|Doc's Challenge||Radiator Springs||Doc challenges Lightning to a race around Willy's Butte, knowing that Lightning will fail.|
|A New Road||Radiator Springs||After McQueen realizes that he can leave if he fixes the road, he does it as quickly as possible, although the terrible quality causes him to do even more time.|
|Turn Right to Go Left||Radiator Springs||Doc gives Lightning a lesson about how to handle dirt curves, telling him of a powersliding technique he calls "Turn right to go left".|
|Back to Work||Radiator Springs||Lightning continues his work of pulling Bessie, while all of the townsfolk watch him.|
|Tractor Tipping||Ornament Valley||Sheriff puts Mater in charge of supervising McQueen, and Mater takes Lightning to tip tractors in the middle of the night, but Frank chases them out.|
|Backwards Driving||Radiator Springs||Mater shows off his backwards driving skills to McQueen, much to his amazement.|
|Good Night||Radiator Springs||Sally allows Lightning to sleep in one of her motel rooms, but Lightning has a dream where Frank is chasing him, Chick, and The King down a speedway.|
|Doc's Piston Cups||Radiator Springs||After noticing that Doc left his garage door open, Lightning enters the garage to discover that Doc was really a three-time Piston Cup winner, named the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.|
|Breakfast at Flo's||Radiator Springs||Lightning informs all of the townsfolk about his discovery, although no one believes him due to Doc never telling anyone about his history.|
|Drive with Sally||Tailfin Pass||Sally takes Lightning on a drive through Tailfin Pass, where they view multiple beautiful sights including waterfalls, pine trees, and a bridge.|
|Wheel Well||Tailfin Pass||When Lightning and Sally arrive at their destination, the Wheel Well Motel, Sally tells him about many sites that had been forgotten over the years.|
|"Our Town"||Radiator Springs||Sally continues to tell Lightning about how Radiator Springs was once a popular town with hundreds of visitors, but the town faded when it was removed from maps.|
|Stampede||Radiator Springs||Since McQueen and Mater never closed the gate after they escaped from Frank, a hoard of tractors stampedes into the town and harass the townsfolk.|
|Doc Races||Radiator Springs||McQueen chases a runaway tractor into Willy's Butte, where he sees Doc secretly practicing his racing.|
|He's Gone||Radiator Springs||The townsfolk wake up one morning to see the road is complete, and think that McQueen has left, which causes a sad reaction for everyone, until Lightning reveals that he didn't leave.|
|A New Customer||Radiator Springs||Since the road is done, and Lightning is allowed to leave, he asks for new products from Luigi, Guido, Fillmore, Sarge, and Ramone.|
|Cruisin'||Radiator Springs||McQueen surprises Sally with an all-new look, and the townsfolk have the first "cruisin'" night they've had in a very long time.|
|McQueen is Found||Radiator Springs||Doc calls the press and informs them of Lightning's location, and they come to take him away to the race, much to the townsfolk's disdain.|
|California Race||Los Angeles International Speedway||The tie-breaker race sees Chick Hicks as the winner, although he cheated and wrecked The King. Many see Lightning as the winner because he helped The King finish the race.|
|Back on the Map||Radiator Springs||When Lightning arrives back in town, he tells Sally that Radiator Springs was put back on the map.|
|Epilogue||Radiator Springs||The new coverage results in many new visitors and customers arriving in town.|
- Main article: Cars/Errors
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.
Piston Cup position inconsistencies
When the car crash starts, the viewer 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 James Cleanair is shown instead of Murray Clutchburn.
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, 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, the viewer can see that Eugene Carbureski made it through the wreck, clearly, but in the next few frames, it shows Eugene in the wreck.
While Pixar was wrapping up production on A Bug's Life in the Fall of 1998, story development artist Jorgen Klubien began writing a story for a brand-new animated feature. The original script was called The Yellow Car, about an electric car living in a gas-guzzling world. Some of the original drawings and characters were produced in 1998. However, when John Lasseter reviewed the script, he didn't think it was strong enough to support an entire animated feature, saying that a bigger, stronger character needed to be dropped into the small town setting that Jorgen had initially dreamed up with. Later, production resumed with major script changes, like giving Mater, Doc and a few other characters a bigger part.
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.
- Main article: Cars/Deleted elements
Top Down Truck Stop
Pixar had another idea for getting Lightning McQueen separated from Mack. In this deleted scene, Mack stops at Top Down Truckstop to get a car wash. After a while, Lightning gets impatient, so he goes out of his trailer to look for Mack. He meets Mia and Tia, who were waitresses at Top Down Truckstop. The characters that became Rusty Rust-eze and Dusty Rust-eze were there too. Meanwhile, Mack finishes his car wash, and Lightning is still hanging out with his fans. Mack doesn't know that Lightning wasn't in the trailer, so he drives away without him. Lightning says that he must get back to Mack, but he couldn't find him. He looks at where his trailer was parked, and the car wash, but Mack wasn't there. Then he sees Mack driving down the Interstate, so he rushes after him. He drives through a red light, and almost crashes. He drives up the exit ramp, going the "wrong way." He has to dodge a bunch of cars on the road, and then the whole road was blocked by trucks, so he drives off the road. A watermelon truck drops watermelons on him. Finally, Lightning gets back on the road, and tries to find Mack.
Lightning catches up with Mack, but finds out it wasn't Mack. The truck drives away, leaving Lightning at the crossing. Lightning doesn't know what to do. Then, on his left, he sees the Interstate, so he quickly races towards it. Next, it becomes dark, and then a "thud" happens. Lightning finds himself going off the road. Then he falls down a hill, and crashes into a bunch of branches. He bumps into a car behind him. He turns around, and the car was a dead car, freaking Lightning out. He looks around, and more dead cars were everywhere. One was even hanging on the tree. Several of them have branches growing through them. Lightning then imagines that some of those dead cars are about to grab him with tree branches. Really, he crashes into a fence. The fence gets tangled on him. On the other side of the fence was the engine of another dead car. Lightning gets back on the road, and tries to run away from the dead car's engine. Lightning eventually gets untangled and run away. The dead car's engine seems to have exploded.
Lightning is asked to do a race in Radiator Springs, but he refuses, and chooses to do standard community service instead. He is sleeping in the impound. While he is sleeping, he has a nightmare. In the nightmare, Doc Hudson, Mater, and Sheriff have put his engine in a steamroller. He tries to escape by driving through the fence, and Sheriff chases him with his siren. He flips a switch on the back of Lightning, which turns on a machine that splats asphalt on the road. Then, another machine that sprays the yellow line in the middle turns 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 is a racecar. He has fun being a racecar, and Lightning is worried he will wreck his body. Then, Mack comes back, and he mistakes Mater for Lightning. Mater gets into Lightning's trailer, and Mack drives away. Lightning tries to get Doc and Sheriff to get Mater back, but they want him to continue fixing the road. Lightning looks down the road, and there were lots of road to fix. Then Lightning really wakes up, and finds himself in his regular body. He sees the steamroller body on the side. He decides to change his mind and do the race instead.
Radiator Springs is having a karaoke night, and Flo is singing a song. Lightning asks Ramone how he and Flo fell in love, to which Ramone starts 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 have some time to kill, so they do 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 asks how Ramone knew she was the one. Ramone replies, "You just know, man. You just know." Meanwhile, Flo finishes her song.
This deleted scene later became a storytellers' story titled Showstopper.
Reception and rating
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.Com Tomatometer, making it one of three Pixar films lower than 90%, after Cars 2 and Brave.
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."
Although the movie was rated G in the United States, it was rated PG in the United Kingdom.
References in later media
- Cars: The Video Game: Many of the buildings and environments featured in Radiator Springs. Motor Speedway of the South and Los Angeles International Speedway both return as racing arenas. Tractor tipping is also a minigame.
- Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures: Many of the minigames are based around scenes from the movie.
- Mater and the Ghostlight: The Ghostlight returns, which was previously mentioned by Mater when Kathy Copter shines her light down on Lightning.
- Cars: Mater-National Championship: Tractor tipping is a minigame featured in this game.
- Rescue Squad Mater: Many characters in this short are based on characters from the movie, such as Nurse Kori and Rescue Squad Trooper.
- Mater the Greater: The stadium where Mater performs most of his tricks is the Motor Speedway of the South.
- The World of Cars Online: Many locations from Cars make re-appearances in this game.
- Cars 2: A direct sequel to Cars.
- Cars: Fast as Lightning: One of Lightning's paint jobs, "Retro Look", references his appearance in Cars.
- Main article: Cars/Staff
Opening Race - The score that plays at the Motor Speedway of the South
Bessie - The score that plays as Doc introduces McQueen to Bessie
|Tractor Tipping - The score that plays while McQueen and Mater are tractor tipping|
|McQueen and Sally - The score that plays during McQueen and Sally's drive|
|The Big Race - The score that plays at the Los Angeles International Speedway|
- For this subject's image gallery, see Cars/Gallery.
- "Wreck? Shoot! I'm the world's best backwards driver! You just watch this right here, lover boy." - Mater, Cars
- "Doc, hold it! Seriously, your driving's incredible!" - Lightning McQueen, Cars
- "Hey, you scratched my paint! I oughta take a blowtorch to you, man!" - Ramone, Cars
- "Well, the road didn't cut through the land like that Interstate. It moved with the land, you know? It rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn't drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time." - Sally, Cars
- "Well, I really didn't have a choice. Mater didn't get to say goodbye." - Doc Hudson, Cars
- Many references to other Pixar properties are made; the birds from For the Birds appear sitting on telephone wires during the montage of Mack and McQueen's journey to the Los Angeles Speedway, the sponsor Dinoco and the character Todd are based on the respective gas station and Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story, Syd VanDerKamper's flamingos are a reference to Knick Knack, Knick from Knick Knack appears in a snow globe owned by Lizzie, car-themed versions of Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc. are shown in the end credits, Bud's rear has a picture of the jackalope from Boundin', and one of the trucks at the Top Down Truckstop has Mr. Incredible's "i" logo on it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 celebrities, 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 Schwarzenegger and Elvis, although it is not known if the former is voiced by himself. The latter certainly is not, 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.
- 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.
- This is the last Pixar film to have a fullscreen format for its US home release, as well as Pixar's longest film to date, spanning 1 hour and 56 minutes.
- The film is also the second Pixar film to have an entirely non-human cast, after A Bug's Life.
- Originally, the film was going to be about an 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.
- This is the last Pixar film to have a VHS release (though rare), and the first to have a Blu-ray release.
- During the race at the Motor Speedway of the South, 60,700 vehicles were attending. 60,000 were seated, while the other 700 were located in the infield and aisles. At the Los Angeles International Speedway, the infield and aisles had nearly 1,500 attendees, while the seats had 100,000. Additionally, nearly 13,000 were seen going into the stadium.
- Throughout the film, McQueen goes through fourteen different paint variants, including when he gets different amounts of dust and dirt on his bodywork.
- At the start of Mack's journey to California, there are four different shots where 21,566 lights are seen.