HomeCar CultureCar movie of the day: ‘Cars’

Car movie of the day: ‘Cars’


Editor’s note: Car guys, and even car girls, can take only so much of those Hallmark holiday movies that fill the airwaves and cable systems this time of year. As an automotive alternative, we’re offering our own suggestions of our favorite car movies for your viewing pleasure. Check out more of our favorite car movies here.

After Toy Story 1 and 2 and A Bug’s Life, John Lasseter needed a break, so he and his wife packed up their five sons into a RV and drove across the country. The trip inspired him to send 11 people from his team at Pixar out on a similar drive. The result was an animated film, Cars, that basically turned a new generation onto cars.

The story line goes that a young, fast and full-of-himself race car gets lost on his way to the season’s final race and finds himself — literally and figuratively — in a small Southwestern town lost in time but full of character — and characters — after being bypassed by the interstate highway.

Any movie that gets the younger generation excited about cars is a good thing. But if they're actually good, like Pixar's <i>Cars</i>, it's all the better. | Walt Disney Pictures Screenshot
Any movie that gets the younger generation excited about cars is a good thing. But if they’re actually good, like Pixar’s Cars, it’s all the better. | Walt Disney Pictures Screenshot

Mention Lightning McQueen or Mater or Doc Hudson to any preteen and they’ll likely light up with joy, or perhaps show you their Cars-based toy cars.

P.S. — Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers might well provide similar responses.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Oh, the places we’ll go…
    I never saw "Cars", and was mystified when, some years back at a local Fargo "bring anything" car show, a posse of 6-7 little dudes became way excited by my ’04 GTO, which is Tor-red Red and wears yellow call-out Goodyears (in the summer).
    After the pics and selfies and questions, and hearing the aftermarket 408ci LS1, they were certain that I had Lightning McQueen. After a parent explained, I got the disc; gotta tell ya, I was just blown.
    Even though Doc Hudson was my fave, I saw immediately why the 5-6-7 yr old little dudes thought what they did. I love my Holden/Pontiac 40th anniversary GTO, and even with the manual and aftermarket engine, drive it year ’round (you haven’t really lived until you’ve driven an overpowered Australian car- they don’t understand winter at all- with a short-shifted 6spd in the ice and snow amongst Nodaks who I suspect are face-in-phone even during "relations" with their significant others; certainly they don’t bother to watch the road. Worst. "Drivers". EVER. And I used to live in Saudi).
    My dearest wish is that my accommodation to the little dudes (I revved the motor to 4+ grand to get the over run pop/bang/gurgle, and let them sit in the driver’s seat on my backpack and pretend to be driving, as well as answering a torrent of questions about the lion on my keyfob- Holden, don’tcha kno’-, the leather "GTO" seats, the red gauge faces, the wonderful "GTO" script coilcovers, and pretty much everything about the GTO culture specifically and cars in general) inspired at least one to pick up a "Hot Rod" or "Car Craft", read a Frank Butterworth story, beg to go to more car events, and eventually enter the lifestyle (drive a car like this in Fargo ND, it’s no longer just a "hobby"). I’m a year from 60, and no one in my family is interested- and we’re from Indianapolis, fer Christ’s sake- and if one of those little dudes, who are probably now in Jr. High, expressed any sincere interest, I’d be very tempted to leave him the car. Sadly, no females of any age have expressed an interest in the GTO or the hobby/lifestyle (or me, but that’s another story). I’d not omit them, it’s just they’re not into it, so it will go, when I go, to my younger brother, who is a @#&!! Mopar guy (sigh), but will at least appreciate the thought.
    Anything a car person can do to bring new/young people into the fold is necessary; gasoline won’t be around forever, but I suspect driven cars always will. Show a kid something magic, they like that. FYI- a semi-local with a top of the heap Tesla and I squared off. I have the dyno reports from my engine builder and the shop that put it in, and apparently 490hp to the rear wheels isn’t enough. Dude ate me alive, ’bout 2 car lengths off the line and 3+ pulling away by the end.
    But- BUT- I sounded GOOD. The Tesla sounds like, well, it doesn’t. But if the new little dudes are into that, hey, as long as it’s driven cars, I’m ok.
    Fresh blood is always better than bitter, whiny old guys (you know who you are), and if the future is electric, well then let’s make it REALLY electric. Frickin’ Tesla just ran away from me. Curses. But I had the GTO; style points! How to Tesla-fy a Holden. Hmm…
    Fargo ND


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