Ever notice that in Mater's Tall Tales the cars drift with their wheels pointed in the wrong direction. I thought this was kind of odd considering that learning to drift was a MAJOR plot point in the movie.
It's Mater. Even if he knows how to drift he probably doesn't think about it as he's doing it, and he's making it up anyway.
In Cars, where does the fuel come from? Where did the talking cars come from anyway?
If the cars lack manual dexterity and require simplified interfaces to perform most tasks (pumping gas, opening doors, playing video games, etc.) then who built some of the more finely crafted items like trophies or the gas pumps themselves. This troper began to theorize that sapient cars and humans coexisted in the film universe, and that the cars simply ran over all the humans once everything had been built and they were no longer needed.
Nah, I'm guessing that the builders of the cars (As well as most carbon-based life, apparently) were wiped out in some sort of apocalypse, but the cars survived and gradually forgot about their old history. Either that, or Cars was created by a bunch of computer animators, if you will, who didn't think things through all the way.
That last one is just crazy talk.
The movie takes place in the same universe as the short story Trucks.
The only logical conclusion is that the cars are still imprisoning the humans, and using them as slaves.
Then why doesn't Sally have one of them get rid of her Embarrassing Tattoo? It's easy to remove a vinyl decal from a car, after all.
Because she's really not embarrassed by it and is just acting that way?*** Also, it's not a decal: it's pinstriping, which is painted on and top-coated. Removing pinstriping is quite a bit harder.
In a world of concrete-ore, asphalt mountains and oil lakes, a comet wiped out the mighty and fierce Trolleysaurus Rex, the Bicyclesaur, and even the peaceful Carrigdons. In the resulting ecological upheaval, the humble little Windups began to slowly evolve into more and more complex creatures, adapting for almost any semi-flat terrain. Over time the Carus Mechanis emerges, an intelligent being capable of changing it's environment to suit it's needs. From them came hundreds of unique races of Cars, who lived together in towns and cites, carving out their own peculiar society.
Best Justifying Edit ever.
Dear writers: Make this canon.
Already is: did you saw the bugs? And the cows!
Wait. So, if the cows...and the cars...what do they breed the cows for? They can't possibly eat them. Can they?
Where do you think the gas and oil comes from? What, they dig it out of the ground or something? Don't be silly.
In the unreleased "Mater's Tall Tales" short "Backwards to the Forwards", Mater ends up time-travelling to the prehistoric past, where he encounters stone wheels and a few dinosaurs. It's not canonical, but there you go.
Or alternatively, the Cars movies are all from some kid's elaborate imagination, a la the beginning of Toy Story 3.
Dear Tropers above. Find 2000ADs Alan Moore's Future Shocks, read "And they were all empty". Comic strip explanation from everyone's favourite bearded comics writer!
Which probably explains the other question. If vehicles evolved, then why not electronics (as a type of "organism") and thus robotic assembly lines (to build non-electronic and non-sentient machinery like the road paver)?
The movies show both gas stations and diners for cars. What's the difference?
Motor oil, chassis lube and antifreeze?
Maybe gas stations are the car equivalent of a really cheap fast-food place? Except without the cheap part, judging by today's gas prices.
Eh. A real-life coupe (such as Sally) can go what, fifteen to twenty miles on three bucks of gasoline as of this writing? A larger vehicle (like Mater), eight to ten? How far do you think you can go on three bucks of American junk food? (okay, I'll do the math for you. this site claims that jogging burns about 105 calories per mile, after making a lot of assumptions. Close enough. A double cheeseburger, large fries, and large soda puts on 1,300 calories, or 13 miles worth of human-fuel. Sounds about right. Flo's is the Radiator Springs equivalent to a Sonic)
I'm guessing that Gas stations are a necessity, while Restaurants are more of a luxury (or for formal events, like a date).
On the other hand, why is everyone freaked out of Fillmore naturist drinks? Is that gas without led, or drugs?
It's probably the Cars' Universe equivalent of Tofu. It sustains as well as normal gas but most don't prefer it.
I alway thought it was obvios; the gas is liquid, so its a DRINK, like coffee or something, and the food is, well food.
I can not be the only one bothered by Betsy. Is she a corpse or something?
The convention seems to be that if you can't move under your own power, you're not sentient. Hence Mac's trailer doesn't have a mind of its own, nor do the train's cars other than the engine.
How do you account for the tractors, then?
They can move under their own power, what's the problem?
An alternate scene in the first film has Lightning put into a construction machine rather than pulling one after they move his engine over during the night. The rule seems to be that your engine is where your brain is, therefore no engine=no brain. See the entry further down for more details.
In a world of sapient vehicles that don't really use "organic" oil, why would they harvest plants? Is it just gardening on a massive scale or do they have an unseen trade agreement with a planet that has a lot of fossil fuel and poor soil?
Having just learned that Deadliest Catch's Sig Hansen is cameoing as his own boat, I've got to ask what would vehicles do with crabs? And since bugs are VW Beetles are the "crabs" actually tiny walking tanks?
What's the difference between a male and a female car?
Two ball bearings and a stick shift? No, the real question is that if you were to make a Cars version of the Edsel...
Assuming you mean the long grill? Maybe just a beaked 'mouth' appearance. Or the grill is shifted up with a little artist license.
If the engine is the brain, what happens to those cars with the engine in the trunk, like VW Beetle? Do they have their faces in the rear? Do they get mocked by the other cars?
Beetles serve in the movie as literal bugs, but Sally is Porsche 911 so she must have her engine in the back and she seems perfectly normal. Besides, according to the car anatomy in the movie, front-engine vehicles would have their brains in their noses, which I don't think is really less weird than having brain in your butt.
The whole bit about the brain being in the engine was A) a nightmare and B) discarded so it doesn't matter.
Just how exactly can they handle things like books and wrenches with those huge tires of theirs?
Pimped-Out Car, with cool arm-like things to manipulate everything? That, or human slaves.
I believe they show Luigi using his windshield wipers like arms a few times. And others times they're shown lifting things with their tires, so they may be more adhesive than real world ones.
So the F/V Northwestern catches crabs. I'm wondering what vehicles would want with crabs, which are probably also vehicles (probably something like this). I can understand using plants as biofuel, but what would they use "animals" for? Do they suck out their "blood"? Grind them into abrasives? Are the "crabs" in fact sentient blobs of oil? If they were, wouldn't the crab pots look more like devices used to trap oil during the Gulf spill?
Perhaps the "crabs" are actually mobile pieces of ore.
Or dinky little deep-sea ROVs, which the cars break down for components. Heck, maybe that's where they get those little grippers so many of them use as prosthetic hands.
Exactly how does a car 'die'? This has been bothering me ever since I saw the movie. Running out of gas prevents a car from traveling (at least at high speeds), but it's not equivalent to 'starvation' in that the car remains conscious and can still talk, etc (c.f. Lightning in the first film and Miles Axelrod's backstory in the second). Likewise, an engine breaking down doesn't mean the car dies either (as evidenced by Mater towing the one crappy minor character car at least twice in the second film, and Rod saying that a broken engine block 'can be replaced'). Pile-ups and crashes in the races are treated as near-fatal incidents, although no car is actually shown dying because of damage accrued during a race. In the second movie the cars that do die are crushed into a cube (Leland), their engines explode (Rod), or they break into pieces (the car hitting the water after falling off the oil rig); it is also implied that cars can die of 'old age'. Although they are never used to actually destroy a car, blowtorches are used as attempted murder weapons a few times. So there seems to be a spectrum where, at one extreme, mechanical failure (such as engine breakdown) is little more than a minor inconvenience, and at the other end dismemberment is clearly fatal. But between those extremes, what counts as fatal and what doesn't? What does it mean for a car to die of 'old age'? What level of crushing or race damage is sufficient to kill a car? And why can't dead cars be brought back to life, if they're just machines? After all, it's clearly shown that replacement parts are easily obtained, and cars can be upgraded with new components.
I think a car dies when it gets broken beyond repair (or at leat when repair would require making an entirely new car). The one's crushed into a cube, that can't be repaired, the other's engine explodes that can't be repaired, and the one breaks into several pieces and the other pieces probably sunk to the bottom of the ocean, that can't be repaired. And I'm not sure but if I remember correctly they never said Doc died of old age...
At one point, Lightning wonders why he's being shot at. I wonder how the Hell he even knows what a gun is if nobody in the world has fingers, much less why Lightning would first think "gun" and not "backfiring", which is what's actually happening.
Explained in Cars 2. Weapons are mounted as prosthetics.
Or built into them like the fighter planes in Planes.
Why don't they ever show any children (who would all probably be portrayed as little kiddie-cars) in this universe? Is it because they are all too young to drive?
A few children are seen occasionally.
they did, in the first (i think) race sequence of the first movie. she was sitting in the stands, with her parents and has a die cast. i think her name was Polly or somethink.
What happens if Sally and Lightning wanna have a baby?...you know...cars Can't Have Sex, Ever. Maybe they'd have to go through something like the car delivery stork?
If all animals here are vehicles, then what do all of the other animals besides cattle and insects look like as vehicles?
According to that insurance commercial, at least some of them (pets) look like toy cars, planes and trains.
All of the characters' windows are completely opaque, and there are no convertibles in this world (their roof are all down). What the heck is inside their windows?
The corpses of ancient drivers?
This concept art shows that cars have "innards" inside their windows.
What concept art?
So, cars eat not only fuel, but also metal and "human" foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat. Where does their "meat" come from, if all animals are also vehicles? Are their meat products also made from metal?
''Tokyo Mater'' apparantly featured the automobile equivalent of nudity, where Kabuto will actually strip any car that challenges him to a race and loses of their modifications, and in the end Kabuto as a result of him losing his own race becomes naked himself. How the heck do you strip a car naked?
What do the cars use for money? And where do they keep it? Do they carry around some kind of physical currency in their trunks, thus explaining how Lightning was able to buy stuff from the residents of Radiator Springs in the first film?
Why is it that, at the end of the race, Lightning didn't win, then drive back to get the King so he would finish the race at 3rd?
Because he didn't want King to suffer the same fate as Doc Hudson and the desire to prevent that became more important than winning the race.
More specifically, it was his selflessness in helping the retiring racer finish his last race, despite the other car cheating, even when it was obvious that Lightning had all but won. It just underlines how much of a jerk that other car was, and how much Lightning had evolved through the movie.
And the resulting Pyrrhic Victory (for Hicks) and sense that Lightning has lost the race but won something far more important, makes for a more interesting ending than the other way.
If a car is wrecked and everyone finishes in front of that car, that car gets a DNF (did not finish), but if a wrecked car finishes ahead of a non-wrecked car they all get credit for finishing?
There were only three cars in the tie-breaking race. And Lightning pushed the other car over the line, so this would probably be the only case in which that could happen.
This bugged this troper too, because since King couldn't win in first anyway, was there any difference in 2nd or 3rd? Lightning really could have won, than turned around and pushed King through the line. That way Chick loses, Lightning wins, and King still finishes his race with dignity.
Because that would've been a shallow victory.
Could it also be an allusion to An Officer and a Gentleman? Remember when Zack Mayo sacrificed his time over the assault course in order to help Seeger deal with the wall and thus qualify? As in "YOU WANT JETS?..."
The way I see it, Lightning HAD to not win the race. He needed to show that he understood that some things are more important than winning, and finishing the race in first and then helping the King, while it still would have been nice, would have made the gesture less significant. By sacrificing the win, he was able to be a hero and show Chick's true colors (if they weren't obvious enough already) in one fell swoop. He had to sacrifice the win in order for his gesture to mean anything.
Once you cross the finish line, you are not allowed to go back on racetrack. That would be in the rules to prevent blocking. On the other hand, physical contact is obviously not against the rules, and they probably never made a rule about reversing. If McQueen had crossed the finish line, he wouldn't have been able to do what he did.
The homologation rules for the Piston Cup must be a hell of a lot looser than the stock car series that it's based on. How else could you explain why a Plymouth Superbird is taking on a 1980s Buick, which is taking on the love child of a stock car and a Group 5 sports car? Actually, how did Lightning McQueen manage to get homologated at all? He's clearly not based on a production car model, even as a silhouette version.
They had to put a variety of cars in there somehow. Besides, I always thought McQueen looked a little like a Corvette, but different enough that they didn't have to acquire the Chevy license.
What exactly does Dinoco do? I have theories but a confirmation would be nice.
Judging by how some cars have Dinoco gas or oil barrels strapped on like those canned soft drink hats in real life, I think Dinoco would be a bit more like Cocoa-Cola or Pepsi to the cars.
There was a Dinoco gas station in the first Toy Story (that was where Buzz Lightyear beat up Woody, and caused both of them to get separated from Andy). I would assume their logo is a reference to the Sinclair company.
Towards the end, Chuck blows one of Lightning's tires and only gets a yellow flag. This is bad enough, Lightning beats the pace car out of the pits. Unless the rules are different in this movie, you're not allowed to overtake the pace car.
He didn't "overtake" the pace car, he just happened to get back onto the track before he could be lapped.
He didn't happen to get back on the track before the pace car, He was hurrying in order to get back on the track ahead of the pace car. If he'd entered the track after it passed the exit from the pits, he'd have been considered an entire extra lap behind.
Lightning McQueen is NEVER GIVEN THE CHANCE to contact his agent or lawyer's office to have the legal matter sorted out. This is a gross miscarriage of the justice system, especially considering the judge wants him gone.
That's assuming that the legal system has exactly the same rules as Real Life, since auto racing clearly doesn't, there's no basis for that assumption.
He does get a chance, at his trial, when he's asked where his lawyer is, but he pretty much brushes it off with "Pfft. I dunno, Tahiti maybe, he's got a time share there." Not really a big chance, it's true, but he was given the chance and blew it off.
"Like tuh-mater, but without the 'tuh'." How would they know what tomatoes are? What use are fruit and vegetables to vehicles?
Tomatoes are great for throwing at Jerk Ass winners, as Chick found out at the end of the first movie.
This troper always assumed he was referring to his company, which IIRC is named "Tow Mater."
You saw that organic food is still grown in this world, since Mack passed a field of corn on the way to California. It wouldn't be a far stretch to assume they all know what tomatoes are.
If their world has been devoid of organic animals for long enough, the plants might well have evolved to use machines as their pollinators and seed-dispersers instead. Fruits and flowers could be producing fuel as bait for mechanical "animals" instead of sugars and starches for organic ones. That would explain why Mater could chow down on wasabi in the second film, and find it unbearably "spicy": it probably contained an octane mix that was a lot more volatile than his system could process, forcing him to slurp a nice tankfull of Allinol to settle his gut. (What, did you think that fountain on stage was flowing with water?)
OR, it might've been sprayed-on. Which would still be Fridge Logic considering there's a paint-shop across the street from her motel.
Plus the whole "no hands" thing.
You can write 3 movie scripts worth of text on the sheer amount of fridge logic required for this movie to work, but it still manages to be tons of fun to watch.
Why are the champion racer and his wife called Mr. and Mrs. "The King"? Isn't that just a title? His name is Strip Weathers, so why not call him Mr. Weathers?
"The King" is likely a nickname, and thus how he's known to the rest of the world, so that's what people call him, especially big fans like Lightning.
And the only one in the movie who called his wife "Mrs. The King" was Mater, who is... well, Mater.
When Mac and Lightning are on their way to Cali, they get passed by a minivan with a mattress on the top. What use would cars have for mattresses?
To keep their human slaves cozy?
Maybe motorcycles and mopeds use them when their tires are sore after a long day and they need a little lie-down.
How did McQueen replace all the broken neon in Radiator Springs? I'm pretty sure he didn't bring it with him and I didn't see a neon store in town. If he ordered it from out of town he must not have told anyone who he was, since it takes a call from Doc to bring all the reporters to town. And where was Sally while they replaced all the neon anyway? If she were up at the Wheel Well she would have seen them at work, since you can see the whole town from up there.
The neon lights are never stated to be broken; a few times you can see Sally turning on the neon sign at the Cozy Cone. Most likely, they just never turned the lights on because no one passes through anymore.
Sally says "You fixed their neon", implying that he fixed their neon.
Maybe he just replaced the fuses?
Actually, this troper always heard it as "They fixed their neon", implying that McQueen just gave them the idea and/or helped a bit.
How Does Chick get away with being such a vicious driver? After all, deliberately causing wrecks is a serious offense in normal racing where cars are not sentient living beings. In the Cars universe, it could easily fall under the heading of attempted murder. Given that he is shown as deliberately causing wrecks all the time, he's probably totaled numerous cars over the course of his career, which is probably the in-universe equivalent of murder. He even gets away clean for a blatant attempt to outright murder The King in the final race, which should have gotten him disqualified at the very least.
I've wondered that too, even though I love Chick. I never understood either why he seemingly waited for the King's final race to 'attempt to murder' him. You bring up a very good, very humourous point.
Having seen the movie again, it looks like Chick was simply pushed over the Moral Event Horizon after he and The King were passed by McQueen. It's not that Chick wanted to murder The King, but he didn't want to come in third in the biggest race in history.
"I am not comin'in behind you again, old man!"
I just noticed, before the final race, When Chick is flashing his little metallic C in Lightning's face, why is the reflected C not backwards?!
Can't believe this isn't here already, but... Luigi says that Lightning is his first real customer in years, and every implication is given that the same goes for the rest of the town too... how the hell are any of them still in business?
The townspeople keep each other in business, and perhaps once in a while some nostalgic guy rolls through and buys something from them.
It appears that the weaponry that the vehicles use are hidden behind panels. So does that mean that Mater, Shiftwell and McMissile have been surgically altered into fighting machines? Yeah, that brings up a bit of Fridge Horror for me.
More like the spy genre and the cyberpunk genre are the same thing in their world.
Spoilers for the sequel ahead. First and foremost, what's up with the sudden outbreak of violence? In the very first scene, agent McMissile explodes several of the enemy Mooks and throws one of them into the night sea off the oil platform. For all we know, they likely were security guards (or, worst case scenario, Punch Clock Villains). Am I supposed to be emotionally attached to him now? That felt like a pure What Measure Is a Mook? moment. Mid-film, Mater, of all characters, fires two miniguns at a crowd of cars (unintentionally, and they were villains anyway, mind, but still.) We do not see their fate, but I personally find it a bit of a stretch to believe no one got hurt. Speaking of which, there's a scene where we see remains of a previously seen character crushed into a cube of scrap metal (which would be the car-world equivalent of a mangled corpse), and - probably the most egregiously - there's a lengthy and very graphic torture scene ending with the torture victim's death. (There was a scene of Electric Torture in The Incredibles, if memory serves, but come on. Bob was a super and a protagonist, he was obviously going to be okay.) No, I understand, kids kind of love guns and explosions, and there are genre conventions of a spy thriller, but... seriously? What happened to the Pixar that I knew?
Death in a Cars film shouldn't be a surprise, really — the first movie certainly suggested that Doc Hudson's big crash was a near-death experience.
To explain my (OP's) point... both Doc's and King's crashes were appropriately dramatic. All the spectators watching the race gasped and held their collective breath when King went off-track and flipped over his roof several times, and so did I when I watched this film the first time. That was realistic, dang it, as in, that was like it happens in real life - in fact, that was how it DID actually happen in real life to Richard Petty, The King's voice actor. For me, that scene by itself (and how it causes Lightning to feel compassion, and selflessly sacrifice his victory in the end) would already be enough to love the first film with all my heart, even if there were no other Heartwarming moments (and there were). That's why I felt a change to the genre-usual (for spy movies) happy-go-lucky explode-o-rama was an eager step down. Not that the mooks deserved that kind of drama, of course.
As for the torture scene... my 10-year old nephew said after we saw the film together that (in this kind of movies) "tortures shouldn't be for killing, they are for the rescue to arrive at the last minute." Professor Zundapp mentions (and we see it later, when the emitter is used on other racers) that the gadget has a perfectly-working non-lethal setting. Fine, you have chosen the perfect moment to go realistic and become Darker and Edgier by showing how the villain wants to shut up a missing hero for real. Why on Earth after all this do we not even have a chance to see either of the masterminds properly punished? I mean, I'm not cruel or sadistic to want to see anybody suffer, but, for comparison, the original film had the short but important scene with Chick Hicks where we get to know how his victory turned out to be hollow and bitter. Nothing of this kind here... the bad guys get (I suppose) arrested off-screen, that's all. That's not too satisfying of a grand finale.
The main page says that Mater's aptitude for tall tales has key importance for the plot. Would anyone kindly point out where that skill was used? I didn't notice any case of it.
I haven't seen the movie yet but I know Mater causes Lighting to lose a stage in Grand Prix so I figure Mater tries to explain all the weird Espionage Tropes that are occurring to Lightning. Lightning, who's been told all of Mater's tall tales before, doesn't believe him.
Thank you. Yes, now that's probably the closest one it gets. Still, eh... Mater does not try to bring Espionage Tropes to light, as he does not yet even know that his new girlfriend is a spy. Because of that, his story does not sound implausible at all (heard the voice of my date, got out of the pit box, saw a martial arts festival, got into a fight...) - and McQueen doesn't seem too disbelieving, knowing Mater's previous antics - more like angry and annoyed at having lost the race. Not much of a tall tale, I think. But it's close, yeah.
There already is a question regarding homologation rules in the original, but in the sequel . The World Grand Prix openly includes all types of racers, from open-wheel F1 (like Bernoulli◊) through sports (like that◊ Japanese guy) to rally cars (like that one◊ from France). They even make an attempt at justifying it, saying that the race tracks have various parts, like strips of dirt-track where rally cars would be able to gain an advantage. Not being a racing aficionado, I would like to know how much sense it makes to those who are. Or is the WGP officially a charity event, making the rules more relaxed?
Repeat The MST 3 K Mantra a few times...there is no possible way you could fairly race F1 cars, NASCAR cars, rally cars, drifters, etc. against each other, ESPECIALLY not with different track sections—on a grand prix track the F1 cars would demolish the others, a rally-style stage would shred the other cars' bodies, which can't take dirt racing and aren't meant to, drifters are entirely different concept. Cars cars seem to be able to adapt themselves to conditions, real cars cannot.
In the scene where McMissile and Holly are outfitting Mater with spy gadgets, they offer to repair him, as his, ahem, less-than-perfect paint job interferes with their state-of-the-art holographic camouflage. Mater, of course, proudly refuses (can't let minor nuisances such as this alter the image of our protagonist, all right). But the reason he gives is that all these dents and scratches were received during his adventures with Lightning. Only... he totally was looking exactly like that when Lightning first met him in the original film. Fine, I could've let that one fly... but from that moment onwards, the holographic camo works like a charm on top of his rust without ever shorting out like it did the first time.
Holly mentions that she'll 'work around the dents' at the end of that scene, so that's your latter question answered.
She does? Weird that I missed the line. Doesn't explain much (if the camo can work around the dents, why did it short out in the first place?), but a handwave is a handwave, ain't an expert on how futuristic holographic spy camouflage should or shouldn't work anyway.
I would assume it would've been easier to fix the dents than to have to edit the complex software to disguise it. Holly would've preferred to not have gone to effort of doing something she saw as unnecessary, and only agreed otherwise when she understood how important it was to Mater.
And for the first one. He's a really rusty car that looks broken already, new dents wouldn't exactly stand out. What I'd like to know is how they got a computer like that to work away from the spy base (or plane, wherever they were). Even in the bad guy's meeting place.
The costume-shifting imagery was embedded in the new siren light they installed on top of Mater's cab. And given that Mater could get detailed information on the various villains, it probably included a high-speed wireless data link.
In all of the Japan scenes from the sequel, how the heck did Kabuto get his modifications back? He should've stayed naked because of Mater the last time they met!
Maybe all of Mater's tall tales never really happened, and the only thing that actually happened was him telling his stories. That would mean that Kabuto can still exist, but he just never ran in with Mater.
Suppose someone loses a bet and has to go outside naked as a result. Doesn't mean he's going to be naked when you meet him in a year.
You don't think Mater gave them back? He has no use for them and Kabuto had already been humiliated. Maybe he was a good winner and gave them back to him.
How does that one female car have her eyes in her headlights? What is that supposed to represent?
Some type of self augmentation thing that would probably just creep you out way too much to even wonder how it was done.
Now that I think of it, the twins Mia and Tia in the first movie were flashing their pop-up headlights at McQueen. Food for thought.
It was most likely a Take That against previous attempts to make anthropomorphic cars. Before Pixar, the most popular place to put the "eyes" was in the headlights. However, since the placement of headlights isn't exactly anatomically correct to where human eyes should be, it looks incredibly unsettling when compared to cars that have their eyes placed on the windshields.
But Real Life car designers often speak of a car's "face", with the headlights as eyes. Putting them in the windshield denies them the basic function of cars (i.e., transporting humans) led to a cascading effect of why buses, crab-fishing boats and taxis exist in a world without humans... And have you ever seen one of those Cars-car-eyes sunshades in use?
Different races or cars? Hey, that way we can insert all the other stories with anthropomorphic cars into the universe!
Judging by Mater's reaction of shock at first, followed by nervous politeness, it could be the Cars version of a physical defect or disfigurement.
According to Lightning McQueen, there are supposed to be 43 race cars competing in the Piston Cup (just like in NASCAR as in real life), but in actuality, there are only 36 cars competing in the Piston Cup!
Similarly, in the sequel, there are eleven race cars competing in the World Grand Prix, but the starting line shows an empty twelfth starting marker!
All right, in Cars 2, Sarge reveals that, before the last race, he switched Lightning McQueen's "Allinol" (the alternative oil sponsored by Axlerod) with his own organic fuel, thus explaining why he wasn't affected by the EM pulse. Except...the film didn't show the villains TRYING to hit him with the EM pulse! When did they even try?
At the very beginning of the third race, they had the EM camera trained on him the whole time and were surprised when nothing happened.
I think what the OP was trying to say is that Sarge never had a reason to switch the fuel, because he had no idea that Allinol was dangerous. I don't think he ever knew about the danger per se; he just really likes organic fuel for some reason. So McQueen has been running on organic fuel this entire time; it was switched before the first race.
Anyone else notice that ladder during the scene where Mater and the other two are driving through the airport? I mean, they're having some sort of chase scene AND THERE IS A FREAKING LADDER CONNECTED TO ONE OF THE BOARDING GATES IN THE BACKGROUND. Did the animators just not care, or something? Unless we're going with the 'human slave' WMG theory. Which admittedly explains a lot.
Big Spoilers Ahead: The plot of Cars 2 kicks off by announcing that Allinol is a replacement, environmentally friendly, sustainable fuel. The idea being that it's going to eliminate the Cars world's reliance on gasoline. Then the Big Bad and the "lemon mafia" find and tap one the largest oil fields on the planet. So a plan is hatched to blow up world-class racing cars in a high-profile, Allinol-fueled race so that any belief in Allinol being a suitable gas replacement will be crushed, so that cars will still have to rely on gasoline and be beholden to the mafia and the big oil companies. Then we discover that the racing cars are gettng blown up because Allinol isn't really a sustainable, replacement fuel source, but in fact just gasoline modified so that it makes cars blow up when hit by an EMP. Which means there was no Allinol to begin with. Why in the world cook up such a complicated plan to discredit Allinol (and, presumably, by association, other alternative fuels)? Instead, simply announce that, sadly, Allinol doesn't live up to its promise when that new oil field is found, and then own the market more-or-less legally, without any shenanigans or, more importantly, the Cars equivalent of murder. There's a throwaway line about Fillmore's homemade organic biofuel, but really, who's gonna believe a Hippie Microbus that he has a legitimate, alternative, scalable source of sustainable biofuel versus Axelrod's Allinol "failure", the oil industry and the frickin' mafia. (Especially since, if it's really a viable alternative fuel, you'd think it would get publicity from the fact that one of the winningest race cars in history uses it exclusively. Except that it's never even mentioned until a line or two at the end.) In conclusion: by the end of the movie the only changes to the status quo are: several world-class race cars get blown up, it is made clear that the mafia is now in charge of the largest oil field in the world, that large-scale, sustainable, alternative fuel sources don't exist and that the Cars world - except for a few cars who home-brew their own biofuel - is still going to have to rely on gasoline pumped from under the ocean.
Possibly it's meant as a shout out to James Bond Villains?
The point is not to discredit Allinol: it's to discredit all alternative fuels. Axelrod and the lemons plan was to make everyone fear change. Gasoline is safe, so why risk trying anything else. Lasseter explains it pretty well on the commentary.
The climax... I mean, I know Batman Gambits rely on the people involved doing exactly what you'd expect them to, but this one's pretty ridiculous. Consider if Mater didn't figure out how to escape from the Death Trap - then there wouldn't have been a bomb to blow up McQueen with, considering the bomb was attached to Mater directly. Then McQueen likely wouldn't die, considering the bomb in question would be nowhere near him, and the earlier EMP camera plan failed spectacularly. Not to mention, the only other plan I noticed - taking McQueen out in a fight - wouldn't play into the "alternative fuels are evil" message their plan hinges on. They couldn't really have put all their eggs in those two baskets, could they?
Maybe they had some other plan for how to plant a bomb in case Mater didn't escape, and the one attached to him was a fallback plan in case he did.
At the very end we get told that Allinol is just normal gas with something added to make it go ballistic when exposed to an EM ray. But we get told earlier that it had been analyzed by an independent scientist. How did this scientist not notice that it was gasoline with something added to it? An organic chemist testing the dangers against gasoline would quickly notice the similarities.
There WAS no independent study? Just a lie by Axelrod?
Either that, or the "independent scientist" was in fact paid off by Axelrod to give false information. It's not an unheard-of thing.
Axelrod really did create a biofuel by improvising when he got stranded in the wilderness, just not something that could be mass-produced and accessible to the world's cars as a viable fuel option in terms of affordability among other things.... But since he actually did create some biofuel, the cars of the world assumed that he could mass-produce it for the world and thought it redundant to personally examine the fuel every time it was put into a racer's tank for the World Grand Prix that he started anyway. That and he's been knighted; he is Sir Miles Axlerod. Seems like a trustworthy person.
Spoilers: How exactly was pretending to create a completely new and highly dangerous alternative fuel supposed to discredit existing alternative fuels, which are still unpopular anyway and have no known history of causing damage anything like Allinol? Surely the most damage lasting done by Axelrod's plan (apart from the victims of Allinol) was to his own reputation, making the whole sceme completely rediculous. Sure, he might be sitting on the biggest untapped oil reserve ever discovered, but it's hardly the only remaining source of fuel; heck, Axelrod sold an entire oil empire as part of the setup for his plan! Was the public really going to want to buy oil from him after the disaster he was responsible for, even if they didn't know it was all a setup?
There was never any warranty that Axlerod would be the face of the new oil empire, just like he rarely ever made personal appearances at his crime syndicate's meetings. A large portion of the winnings could still go to him without the public knowing he was behind the whole operation. Likely he'd hoped that after the Allinol fiasco, he'd be allowed to fade into obscurity as a celebrity, with people thinking he was too ashamed to show his face in public when he'd actually be rolling in riches.