Culture in Disney and Pixar’s Cars

The other day we were talking about Disney and Pixar’s animated film Cars. I love that the film is not just another cartoon but an expression and record of culture, the American car culture.In being a film expressing culture it is inspired by the car culture.In making it they could have easily chose to create generic cartoon cars but they chose to use real and historical cars.Here are a few of the inspirations for the film.

The mountain range making up the landscape surrounding Radiator City was clearly inspired by the the famous Cadillac Ranch located in Amarillo, Texas along the classic Route 66.  The creators buried 1949 to 1963 Cadillacs so their rear halves pointed out to the skys.  The point was to emphasize the beauty of the chrome and fins era in which the cars were made.

The Cozy Cone motel came from the wigwam motels also along Route 66 with the closest one in San Bernardino, CA.

The cars and characters were also inspired.  “The King” character was based on the famous NASCAR 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner driven by Richard Petty.  Petty himself even supplied the voice for “the King.”

Doc Hudson was characterized in resembliance to the Fabulous Hudson Hornet which is from the legendary winning car of the early years of NASCAR.  The voice was provided by Hollywood car guy Paul Newman.  Newman himself was also a race car driver.

It is also worth mention that the name of the main character Lightening McQueen.  Steve McQueen was also a Hollywood car guy and a skilled motorcycle racer.  McQueen starred in and did much of the stunt driving in Bullitt which contains one of the greatest car chases filmed.

9 Responses to Culture in Disney and Pixar’s Cars

  1. The Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles is now showing an exhibit on the Disney film ‘Cars.’

  2. ... says:

    Que lindo esse caro azul !
    Muito lindo msm !

  3. the king racing really exist love it

  4. elreeceo says:

    i think this is a greta page

  5. kimberly says:

    wow, the king is real?
    i loved it in the movie, and it looks great in rl.

  6. Bastiaan says:


    I am Bastiaan from The Netherlands. I’m six years old and may make a wish with the “Make a wish foundation”. I realy want to go to the original disney-cars (The King, Doc Hudson, etc).

    I wonder where i can visit these cars. Do they stand is a museum or otherwise? Can you help me with some information.

    Thans !!

  7. Troy says:

    I’d like to add two notable points you’ve touched on. John Lasseter and the crew at Pixar put a lot of work into modifying their animation tools to capture Richard Petty’s (The King’s) signature lopsided smile, giving even more humanity to the character. Also, in a way Lightning McQueen may pay some small homage to Steve McQueen, that the character was not named for Steve McQueen. The name was chosen in remembrance of Glenn McQueen, an animator at Pixar who passed away in 2002.

  8. Troy says:

    Oh, forget to mention: Beautiful photos, thanks!

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