Doc Hudson, also known as Fabulous Hudson Hornet, was a former dirt track racer that served as Radiator Springs' judge and doctor, prior to his death in between the events of Cars: Race-O-Rama and Cars 2. In memory of Doc, the Piston Cup Racing Series' trophy was renamed the Hudson Hornet Piston Cup, and the Racing Museum now contains memorabilia related to Doc, including old newspapers, and Doc's trophies.
In the early days of the Piston Cup Racing Series, Doc, then known as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, was a rather popular dirt track racer that was considered one of the best racers of the time, receiving the name "The Champion of All Time." On the track, Doc befriended many of his competitors, including Mario Andretti. In addition to being a talented race car, Doc was also good at making repairs to other cars, and once helped his friend Gus O'Line when he was having trouble with his semi-axis.
Doc acquired the Piston Cup trophy in 1951, 1952, and 1953, and continues to hold the record for most wins in a single season. However, his racing career took a sharp turn when Doc was involved in a terrible crash during the final lap of the 1954 championship race, which prevented him from competing again. After recovering, Doc returned to the circuit, only to find out he was replaced by a rookie race car, not unlike Lightning McQueen, who Doc would meet years later.
Upset, Doc decided to search for a city to blend into; in his search, he met many travelers who recognized him; to counter this, Doc removed all of his decals and racing tires, to no success. Along the way, however, Doc gave medical advice to the cars he met, and eventually found himself cruising down Route 66, where he met a young British car named Philip, who had broken down on the side of the road. After Doc fixed his engine, he realized that he could take up a medical career; he attended medical school, and soon became the resident doctor in the nearby town of Radiator Springs.
In Cars, when Lightning accidentally rips up the main road of Radiator Springs by dragging the statue of Stanley down the middle of it, he is taken to court, where Doc and the other town residents sentence him to community service, by making him re-pave the road with Bessie until it is brand new again.
Bored and frustrated with the task, Lightning decides to rush it, and finishes the road within an hour. However, when word spreads to Doc, he discovers that the road is far from smooth, and is nothing but a mess of asphalt. After the residents confront Lightning, his cocky response inspires Doc to challenge him to a dirt track race. As the Radiator Springs townsfolk are unaware of Doc's past, they are surprised to see him up for a racing challenge.
Later that day at Willy's Butte, Doc and Lightning have their competition; a simple one-lap race around the Willy's Butte oval, which has one banked turn, but one sharp turn without any type of wall. As Luigi and Guido start the race, the audience stares in confusion as they see Doc standing still at the finish line while Lightning speeds away. Doc and Mater then slowly make their way around the track as Lightning fails the second turn and runs straight down a hill and into a cactus patch, and Mater is told to fish McQueen out with his tow hook.
The next morning, the Radiator Springs residents wake up to find the road halfway done, looking better than ever before. Confused as to Lightning's whereabouts, Doc notices Bessie parked near the road leading to Willy's Butte, and follows it until he finds Lightning trying to practice on Willy's Butte, but again fails and ends up covered in dirt. Doc gives him advice by telling him to "turn right to go left", which McQueen simply passes off as nonsense from a "crazy old car".
The following day, Lightning comes into Doc's clinic to complain about the road, and upon leaving, he angrily kicks a can on the side of the road, which ends up landing inside of Doc's garage, and a loud noise is heard. McQueen goes to investigate, and, to his surprise, discovers three Piston Cup trophies, and a newspaper that details the accident that ended Doc's career. As he pokes around, Doc catches him, and when Lightning admiringly asks him questions, Doc angrily kicks him out.
Excited, Lightning races to Flo's V8 Café, and alerts the residents of the newly discovered information, but they do not believe him, as they are completely unaware of Doc's racing talents. When Lightning returns from a drive with Sally, the Tractors that he and Mater accidentally let out of the fence the previous night stampede through the town, and while everyone attempts to catch them, Lightning follows a stray Tractor to Willy's Butte, where he finds Doc practicing, and Lightning is shocked by his talents. When Lightning comes down and praises Doc, he grumpily races away, leaving Lightning in admiration.
Shortly after, the road is finished, and Lightning is allowed to leave the town. However, he receives some new modifications and enjoys a nice cruise night in the Radiator Springs streets, until it is interrupted by the Piston Cup press, who take Lightning away to the tie-breaker race in Los Angeles. After Lightning is taken away, Kori Turbowitz thanks Doc for calling them, who is then scolded by Sally.
At the race, Lightning has only Mack on his pit team, and thinks about his friends from Radiator Springs while he is taking practice laps, until he finds out that his friends have come to the race to act as his pit team, with Doc as the crew chief. During the race, Doc is noticed by the audience and announcers, and is given approval for working with McQueen.
Despite losing the race, Lightning is still seen as the winner in the eyes of the audience due to helping The King, and decides to stay in Radiator Springs and set up his headquarters there.
Later in the story, Doc challenges Lightning, Fillmore, Ramone, and Sheriff to a race around the back roads of Radiator Springs, as a "check-up" of sorts. At Lightning's fourth Piston Cup race, the Smasherville International Speedway event, when Lightning confronts Chick for stealing his gear, Doc separates the two and tells McQueen to save their conflict for the track.
After McQueen wins the final Piston Cup race at the Los Angeles International Speedway, Lightning, Doc, Mater, and Sally are driving through Ornament Valley, and McQueen tells them that his trophy is alongside Doc's Piston Cups in the window of Doc's Clinic.
Doc also appears as an unlockable playable character in the arcade and versus modes, and can be obtained by purchasing him for 5,000 Bonus Points. He has above average speed and stability, but lacks in handling and acceleration.
Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures
In Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures, Doc appears in the cutscene for the Doc's Tune Up activity, in which he asks McQueen to help him out with his medical work. He is also the second opponent that Lightning must face in the Legends Races series of events.
Mater and the Ghostlight
In Mater and the Ghostlight, Doc is among the residents that are listening to Sheriff's story at Flo's V8 Café, which ends up scaring Mater into believing that there is a spooky creature named the Ghostlight that haunts the roads of Carburetor County. After the townsfolk trick Mater by placing a lamp on his tow hook, Mater discovers that he is not really being pursued by the Ghostlight, and when he laughs it off, Doc tells him about the Screamin' Banshee, a large construction vehicle. At the end of the short, Mater can be seen in front of the banshee, and he warns him about it, not realizing that he is the Screamin' Banshee.
Cars: Mater-National Championship
In Cars: Mater-National Championship, Doc appears in the cutscene for Radiator Springs Circuit, where he yells at Lightning, Philip, and Fred for blocking the main road. The conversation eventually leads to a race, which Doc competes in, but loses to Lightning. Shortly after, Doc competes in a Relay Race against the newcomer Giovanni, where he is on the player's team, along with Lightning and Mater. Not too long after this, Lightning and Doc are heading up to Lightning's new stadium to see how the construction is going, and they start a race with Luigi, Barry, and Otto.
Throughout the game, Doc serves as the player's instructor; before each event, he explains how to complete them and provides tips for being successful. Additionally, during races, Doc will also give advice to the player, through what sounds like a headset.
Doc appears in many of the game's races, and in the first Transporter event, the player must collect something and return it to him. In the final cutscene of the game, Doc congratulates Lightning for performing well in the Race-O-Rama series.
Doc returns once again as a playable character in the arcade and versus game modes, where he can be unlocked by obtaining a certain amount of Bonus Points.
The World of Cars Online
Doc appeared in the World of Cars Online, where he would give missions for the player. However, when the Cars 2 update was released, Doc was removed from the game, as to coincide with the death of Doc.
As Doc passed away after the events of Cars: Race-O-Rama and before Cars 2, Doc does not make a physical appearance in the film, but a newspaper with a picture of him on it can be seen inside of the Hudson Hornet Racing Museum, the building which used to be Doc's Clinic. Additionally, it is revealed that the Piston Cup trophy was renamed the Hudson Hornet Piston Cup in memory of him.
Doc is also mentioned by both Mater and Darrell Cartrip during the first race of the World Grand Prix. As Lightning skillfully navigates through the dirt portion of the track, Darrell praises him and tells the audience about Lightning's mentor, while Mater informs him to perform exactly like Doc taught him.
The circumstances of how Doc died are unknown. John Lasseter was at first adamant that Paul Newman would return to voice Doc Hudson, even though he had announced his retirement from acting. After Newman's death, Lasseter said that they would see how the story goes with Doc Hudson. Story supervisor Nathan Stanton said: "we felt, after really tooling around with the idea of him being in the film and how do we properly use him, it just felt right that we should have his character have passed away also [as Paul Newman]." John Lasseter said that he realized "Doc Hudson was Paul Newman. The character was written after listening to him talk about his passion for racing." and that "We pay homage to Doc Hudson, which is paying homage to Paul Newman."
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According to John Lasseter, Hudson will be referenced again in Cars 3. After Lightning McQueen is forced out of the racing world following an accident during a Piston Cup race, he looks to his former mentor for inspiration. His voice will be provided by archived records of Paul Newman.
Despite Doc's death before the events of Cars 2, he appears in Cars Land in Radiator Springs Racers. After getting tires from Luigi or a paint job from Ramone, the riders will meet with Doc, who serves as their crew chief during the race. Doc will inform them of racing directions, and will congratulate the rider's upon the end of the race.
Doc's dialogue differs depending on which car the rider is in.
"Come on in, Rookie. It takes more than new tires to win a race. I'm your new crew chief, and I'll tell you when to pitch it hard and get it into the groove, so pay attention and do us proud."
"Come on in, Rookie. Shiny paint don't win a race. Now get out there and do us proud."
When the car comes out of Luigi's or Ramone's
"Show me what you got, kid!"
"Give it everything you got!"
Coming around Radiator Cap Mountain
"Hold tight around the turn!"
"Dig into that turn!"
Half-way around Radiator Cap Mountain
"Now power through those hills!"
Going over the hills, towards Willy's Butte
"Pour it on!"
"Drive into like an open stick!"
Entering Willy's Butte
"Hot shot, you won! I knew you had it in you, kid. Congratulations!"
"Way to go, hot shot! You tore up that track like a real dirthouse!"
Crossing the finish line.
Doc Hudson is based off of the real 1951 Hudson Hornet, which is where his name, number and paint scheme came from.
During his Piston Cup racing days, Doc was painted in a dark shade of blue, with a chrome bumper and grille. On his doors were the number "51" painted in yellow, as well as the words "Fabulous Hudson Hornet" painted in both white and yellow. He also had the words "Twin-H-Power" on both sides of his hood, and the Piston Cup logo beneath them. While Doc had red racing wheels during his racing career, official artwork seems to suggest that he had chrome rims at one point or another.
After arriving in Radiator Springs to set up his own medical clinic, Doc attempted to hide his past by removing most of his decals, leaving only his dark blue coat of paint and the his chrome grille, bumper, and lining.
Doc's license plate reads "51HHMD", which references to his racing number, 51, his model, the Hudson Hornet, and profession, which is a medical doctor.
Personality and traits
Doc is portrayed as a grumpy old man who wants to leave his racing career behind, and stay out of the public line. Doc enjoys peace and quiet, and often isolates himself from the other Radiator Springs residents, instead choosing to stay inside of his clinic and garage.
When Lightning arrives in Radiator Springs and accidentally rips up the main road, Doc's initial reaction is highly negative, and upon entering the courtroom to judge McQueen's trial, he mutters about how he hopes he rots in jail, and that the prison rots on top of him, and immediately after tries to make Lightning leave, without putting much thought into it. However, Sally and the other residents instead propose to make McQueen stay and repair the road as community service, which Doc dislikes the idea of, but subsequently introduces him to the road-paving machine that Lightning will be working with, a giant tar machine named Bessie.
Despite their arguments throughout the majority of Cars, at the end of the film, Doc and some more of McQueen's friends show up at the tie-breaker race to support him, and Doc takes on the role of Lightning's crew chief. Doc is impressed when Lightning gives up his victory to aid Strip Weathers upon his crash, and when the King questions why he has done this, he replies with "it's just an empty cup," advice that Doc had given him earlier.
After the events of Cars, Doc continued to serve as Lightning's crew chief, until his death in between the events of Cars: Race-O-Rama and Cars 2.
Powers and abilities
Doc was considered the best dirt track racer of all time during his racing life, until the wreck that ended Doc's career forever. Despite this, Doc can still race with great skill, with incredible statistics, even being able to compete with other Piston Cup race cars in Cars: The Video Game. Drifting is one of Doc's most well-known abilities, being able to easily take turns on dirt tracks.
Hudson also has medical experience, as he is the town doctor. Additionally, Doc serves as the judge for Radiator Springs.
Though he was not much of a social person, Doc was shown to be on mostly friendly terms with the residents of Radiator Springs, particularly with Lightning McQueen, though he seemed to hide it.
Though a bit grumpy to others, the only enemy Doc has been shown to have is Chick Hicks - he seems to share a dislike of him with Lightning, due to his constant bragging and bad attitude towards McQueen and his team.
Doc's first career was as a professional race car in the early days of the Piston Cup Racing Series, until a wreck put him out for the season, with a rookie replacing him in the subsequent one.
As Doc attempted to forget his past, he learned that he was quite skilled in the medical field, and eventually became the local doctor of the small town Radiator Springs. Doc also served as the town judge.
Doc is sometimes referred to by McQueen as "Old Timer" due to his older age. Additionally, Doc was referred to as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet when he was a professional dirt track racer.
"Doc is a car of few words but many talents. He not only serves as the town judge, he's also Radiator Springs' resident doctor. Doc is respected and admired by the townsfolk for the way he looks out for their health and tends to their aches and pains. No one knows too much about Doc before he came to town. He keeps his private life private. But if you've got a bad spark plug or a rattle in your engine, his door is always open."
Cars: The Video Game
Cars: Mater-National Championship
Paint Jobs: 8
Unlocking criteria: Unknown
Paul Newman - Cars, Cars: The Video Game, Mater and the Ghostlight, Cars 3 (archived records)
"All right, I wanna know who's responsible for wreckin' my town, Sheriff. I want his hood on a platter! I'm gonna put him in jail till he rots! No, check that. I'm gonna put him in jail till the jail rots on top of him, and then I'm gonna move him to a new jail and let that jail rot. I'm... Throw him out of here, Sheriff. I want him out of my courtroom. I want him out of our town! Case dismissed." - Cars
"Hey! Was that floatin' like a Cadillac or was that stingin' like a Beemer? I'm confused. You drive like you fix roads! Lousy! Have fun fishin', Mater." - Cars
"I knew you couldn't drive. I didn't know you couldn't read." - Cars
"You look! All I see is a bunch of empty cups." - Cars
"They quit on me. When I finally got put together, I went back expecting a big welcome. And you all know what they said? 'You're history.' Moved right on to the next rookie standing in line. There was a lot left in me. I never got a chance to show 'em. I keep that to remind me never to go back. I just never expected that that world would...would find me here." - Cars
"These are good folk around here, who care about one another. I don't want 'em depending on someone they can't count on." - Cars
"Not all my tricks, rookie!" - Cars
"So... you ready to blow out a little carbon?" - Cars: The Video Game
"So, you want to learn how to race, huh?" - Cars: The Video Game
"Yep. The great Hudson Hornet. Those were the good old days..." - Cars: The Video Game
"This is gonna feel great! I'm ready." - Cars: The Video Game
"It's time." - Cars: The Video Game
"If only you moved that fast on the race track." - Mater and the Ghostlight
"Good, I like a little competition." - Cars: Mater-National Championship
Names in other languages
Wójt Hudson / Hudson „Huragan” Hornet
Mayor Hudson / Hudson "Hurricane" Hornet
Doc's racing number, 51, is a reference to the first year of the Hudson Hornet's movement, 1951.
A blue Hudson Hornet makes a cameo in The Incredibles, even though it was released before Cars. The Hudson Hornet was one of the first cars used by drivers in the beginning of NASCAR.
The story of the Fabulous Hudson Hornet is true. Many Hornets used in NASCAR at that time actually used that quote on their body paint design. Hudson won the championship from 1952-54.
Although Doc's number was 51, there was no actual #51 Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
He was Paul Newman's last non-documentary role. Also, like Newman, he has blue eyes.
Doc Hudson is the third Cars character whose original actor died, preceded by Red and Fillmore and followed by El Machismo.