‘Cars 2’ Introduces Nearly 1,000 New Characters and More Fun Facts (Minor Spoilers)
Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have provided us with these exciting fun facts about the upcoming summer blockbuster, Cars 2 which features old friends and — as you will soon find out — just a few new ones.
LOTS OF CAR-ACTER
‘STICKERS’ NO MORE — Lighting McQueen is voiced by Owen Wilson.
- He is a Pixar design with a V-8 engine, 750 horsepower and rear-wheel drive.
- He has coil-over shocks with tubular A arm front suspension, a solid axle rear end and vented disc brakes at all four wheels. He also has air flaps on his roof to prevent flipping.
- His top speed is 200 mph, 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
- Lighting McQueen’s name is in memory of Glenn McQueen, a Pixar animator who worked on the original “Cars.”
- Lightning McQueen’s “Lightyear” tires are in reference to Buzz Lightyear.
- Lightning McQueen’s number, 95, is a reference to the year 1995, when “Toy Story” was released.
- For “Cars 2,” #95 has been outfitted with working headlights (in lieu of the stickers he sported in “Cars”). But Sally still calls him “Stickers.”
AMERICA’S FAVORITE TOW TRUCK — Mater is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.
- The number A113, which refers to John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton’s former classroom at CalArts, makes an appearance in every Pixar film. Mater’s license plate is A113.
MASTER BRITISH SPY — Finn McMissile is voiced by Michael Caine.
- Finn McMissile’s small tailfins were inspired by a 1958 British sports car called the Peerless – one of the few British cars with fins.
- Finn McMissile was originally conceived of for “Cars,” as a character in a spy film that Lightning McQueen and Sally watch while on a date at a drive-in movie theater. While that scene was cut, Director John Lasseter never forgot the character and so revived Finn McMissile for the action-packed spy story in “Cars 2.”
- In “Toy Story 3,” Finn McMissile can be spotted on a poster hanging in Andy’s bedroom.
- As a master spy, Finn McMissile is outfitted with a plethora of secret gadgets, including: (front) two bumperette grappling hooks, left headlight spy camera, right headlight missile launcher, side mirror digital read-outs and deployable glass cutter, front wheel hub magnetic explosives launcher; (side) side vent deployable machine guns; (rear) rear wheel hub deployable surveillance probes, rear bumperette grappling hooks, rear turn signal oil blaster; (undercarriage) undercarriage mounted quad harpoon gun, hydrofoil for oversea travel; (roof) roof-deployed holographic disguise emitter; (misc) submarine-mode for underwater escapes
<FRESH FROM THE ACADEMY — Holley Shiftwell is voiced by Emily Mortimer.
- Newly out in the field, Holley Shiftwell is equipped with some state-of-the-art gadgetry, including:
– Projection lamps above headlights that emit a heads-up display
– Headlight cameras
– Right wheel concealed gun and electro-shock device
– Telescoping utility arm
– Mounted dual trackball platforms for controlling the heads-up display
– Retractable wings for flight
IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A SPY JET— Siddeley is voiced by Jason Isaacs.
- The Latin inscription on the British secret service emblem seen inside Siddeley the spy jet reads, “Honor Courage Horsepower.”
- Siddeley’s windscreen is a composition of metallic-coated fused silica quartz to withstand the temperature, speed and UV rays Siddeley is exposed to during his high-speed trips around the world.
- Siddeley is equipped with cutting-edge cloaking and stealth technologies that allow him to fly undetected anywhere in the world.
- His twin jet engines propel him to a world-record speed of mach 1.
- Siddeley is 175.658 feet in length with a 156.623 foot wingspan.
- The legendary CalArts classroom, where John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter studied, is not only referenced on Mater in “Cars 2.” A113 is also Siddeley’s tail number.
FROM RACE TRACK TO BIG SCREEN — Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton has a character named after him in “Cars 2,” for which he provides the voice and also chose the car’s black and yellow paint scheme.
GORDON WINS AGAIN — The character of Jeff Gorvette in the film is named after and voiced by NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon.
GUIDO X2 — The character of Guido in the film is named for the Italian verb “guidare” – “to drive.” Pixar supervising technical director Guido Quaroni, who is a native of Monza, Italy, suggested this name to John Lasseter, and was then asked to provide the temporary voice. The director liked his voice so much it made it into the finished film. Guido even got a chance to work on the character he named and voices: in “Cars,” Guido Quaroni performed shading work on Guido the car!
FAMILIAR VOICES — The World Grand Prix announcers in “Cars 2” are named after and voiced by icons of the sports world. Darrell Cartrip is voiced by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip; sportscaster Brent Musburger voices the character Brent Mustangburger; racing driver and sportscaster David Hobbs voices the character David Hobbscap.
PARKING LOT IS FULL — The “Cars 2” character team built 145 new character models for the film and 781 variants. These variants, which are primarily background cars, include 13 model variants – unique character models that are based on other new models – and 768 shading variants – models that are re-used from classic and new “Cars,” “Cars 2” and “Cars Toons” models, but with new, unique paint schemes. In total, there are 926 new characters in “Cars 2.”
A GLOBAL ADVENTURE
FIRST STOP—TOKYO – The launch party for the World Grand Prix is held in Japan.
- Mount Fuji, seen during the Japan trip in “Cars 2,” has been “car-ified” for the film. It has snow runoff that looks like tire tread-marks.
- The Tokyo night race in “Cars 2” is inspired by the Formula 1 race through the streets of Singapore.
- The Rainbow Bridge seen in Japan is made up of automobile parts, including valves, rocker arms and springs.
OUI OUI PARIS – Though there is no racing in Paris, Mater visits the iconic city as part of his role in the elaborate international espionage storyline.
- The Pont des Arts seen in Paris in “Cars 2” is constructed with automobile leaf springs – a type of spring used in car suspensions.
- There is a longstanding Pont des Arts custom wherein couples attach a padlock to the railing and throw the key in the river, sealing their love forever. If you look closely at the Pont des Arts in “Cars 2,” you can indeed see padlocks on the railing.
- John Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, were once told during a visit to Paris that couples are supposed to kiss when they cross the Pont Des Arts. This tip made it into “Cars 2,” where you can spot two kissing characters on that bridge.
- Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in the film is adorned with 24 “car-goyle” statues and flying buttresses in the shape of exhaust pipes.
- The top of the Eiffel Tower seen in “Cars 2” is the shape of a 1937 spark plug; its base contains the features of a wire wheel.
THE BEST OF THE EUROPEAN RIVIERA –In creating the look of the fictitious Italian seaside town Porto Corsa, “Cars 2” production designers combined the racetrack of Monaco with the terrain of the Amalfi Coast.
- The casino in Porto Corsa is built on a rocky outcropping shaped like a 1948 Fiat 500 Topolino.
- The Porto Corsa Marina is shaped like an automobile wheel.
- The church in Uncle Topolino’s village is called “Our Lady of Automobiles.”
- The fountain in Topolino’s village commemorates the six Maserati brothers – Enzo, Bindo, Carlo, Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto.
- At the craps table at the Porta Corsa casino, the game is played with fuzzy dice, much like the kind you might find hanging from a car’s rearview mirror.
CROWNING THE CHAMPION – The World Grand Prix comes to a close in London.
- In the London of “Cars 2,” the landmark St. Paul’s dome is shaped like a car’s differential gear casing.
- London’s famed clock tower, Big Ben, is named Big Bentley in “Cars 2,” and is made up of Bentley grilles and hood ornaments.
- The Latin inscription below the clock dial on Big Bentley reads “God Salvage Crown Victoria the First” – a reference to the Ford Crown Victoria.
- In London, the Lucite canopy over the Queen’s platform is based on the canopy built for Prince Charles’ investiture as the Prince of Wales.
- The architecture of the race pits in London is based on Landau bars, a design feature used on cars to simulate the look of a convertible.
BEHIND THE WHEEL — “Cars 2” is directed by John Lasseter, who directed “Cars,” as well as “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story 2.” In addition to his role as a director, he is also the chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, the principal creative advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering
IT’S THE PITS — The pit lane configuration for all the races in “Cars 2” is based on the Formula 1 track in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
THE RACE IS ON – Since the racecars in “Cars 2” span a wide variety of car type, the racetracks featured in the film have different technical elements that play to each car type’s strength, thus creating an even playing field.
THE RIGHT WHEELS — The cars seen in the background throughout the film were selected specific to the location (United Kingdom, Japan, France and Italy) they represent, rather than all being US models. For example, the Toyota Magesta, Nissan Figaro, Opel Meriva and Ford Mondeo are among the cars seen in the film that were never imported to America. Even the parts used to “Car-ify” locations are specific to the countries, for example, British spark plugs were used for columns in London’s parliament building.
PASSPHRASE PLEASE — In “Cars 2,” there is a secret spy passphrase involving a certain detail about the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. This passphrase was the brainchild of “Cars” franchise guardian Jay Ward, who drove a Karmann Ghia in high school.
CARS COME TO LIFE — Life-sized remote-controlled models of Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissile were created for “Cars 2” as part of the “Agents on a Mission” tour, presented by State Farm. The star cars leap off the big screen and into a host of cities, including Detroit, Toronto, Phoenix, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Miami, among others.