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In General

  • 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.
    Gas supplies 
  • 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.
      • Wait, Trucks by Stephen King? Oh, Crap!!
      • 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 its environment to suit its 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)?
    • Jalopnik asks Pixar the Hard Hitting Questions about eating, breeding, the Homunculus Theory, and Nazi cars in WWII.
    • Okay, you guys went from gas to where cars come from? Didn't Mack mention the "Manufacturer"? Which I'm pretty sure is their equivalent of God. Also, I'd like to have seen the first submarine to sprout wheels.

    Service stations 
  • 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.
    • It's a good thing someone finally asked the food question. It's been an issue since Jay Jay the Jet Plane and Thomas the Tank Engine.
      • I alway thought it was obvious; the gas is liquid, so its a DRINK, like coffee or something, and the food is, well food.

    What is Bessie 
  • I can not be the only one bothered by Bessie. 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 Bessie 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.

    Plant harvesting 
  • 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?
    • Biofuel?
    • 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?

    Car gender 
  • 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.

    Hooks and wrenches 
  • 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.

    F/V Northwestern 
  • 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.

    Cars that die 
  • 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...
    • My guess is, cars "die of old age" when their batteries go flat. Non-rechargeable, non-interchangeable batteries... welp, nothing's perfect.
    • I think it's more that they die when all their parts stop functioning.

    Getting shot at 
  • 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.

    Kid cars 
  • 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 something.
    • A picture of a car family is visible in the pub near the end of the second film.

    Auto erotica 
  • What happens if Sally and Lightning wanna have a baby? Can't Have Sex, Ever. Maybe they'd have to go through something like the car delivery stork?
    • There are mentions of various types of car or of engine parts being manufactured in the second movie, so it's likely that young cars are assembled in factories, then adopted out to couples that want to raise them.
    • Maybe the car parents build their children like Rodney Copperbottom's parents built him in Robots.
    • Well, first the female lays a clutch of eggs, and then...

  • 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.
    • Some model-plane "pigeons" appear in the Paris scenes from the second film.

    Opaque windows 
  • 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?
    • The salescar from the second film which had headlight-eyes had an empty compartment behind her windshield, like a Real Life car. The angle wasn't right to tell if she had seats in there or not, though.

    Car food 
  • 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?
    • Strip off all the paint, maybe?

    Auto banks 
  • 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?

    The Mayor of Radiator Springs 
  • Who the heck is the Mayor of this town? Seriously this is a question I've had ever since I saw the movie. Is it Doc? He's dead now so not anymore. Sally? Mater? Lizzie? She may be the wife of the town's founder but she's pretty forgetful. I mean she didn't even know Lightning left to race! So who runs Radiator Springs?
    • Most likely Sally. As she was an attorney before becoming a resident of Radiator Springs, she seems involved enough in law and politics to qualify.
    • In the first movie, it's probable the town is so small and run-down and empty that there's not much of a need for an actual mayor, so Doc might've been the de facto leader there during the first film, since he is a judge. By the time he died, Radiator Springs had become more popular and may have had more people move there and open up businesses, thus opening up doors to many new candidates for the position.
  • Are there any motorcycles in Cars universe? I've seen planes, blimps, boats, trains, yachts, possible submarine-fishes (assuming the fishing boat in the sequel had intention to fish some of them); yet I can't remember seeing any motorcycles.
    History before the invention of cars 
Were there any sentient beings in the Car universe before the invention of cars themselves? If so, what were they powered by if anything?


    Lightning's return for the King 
  • 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.
    • on the Animators commentary Chick Hicks was originally disqualified before it got changed.
    • 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.
    • Also, he probably saw it as making a point that there was more to it than just winning. By forfeiting the cup and going back to help The King, he helped to open people's eyes as to tragedy of the racers who get left behind and forgotten about in a race...Look at Doc - he became all cynical and grumpy because everyone brushed him aside for the next guy after his big wreck. Watching the movie, you really get the feeling that deep down, Lightning didn't want to win once he saw what happened to The King, and that he viewed taking a stand for that sort of thing was more important. He could've done it, but it would've felt empty and hollow.

    Piston Cup Rules 
  • The homologation rules for the Piston Cup must be a hell of a lot looser than NASCAR. How else could you explain why a 1970 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.
    • They're a gas company, and an Fictional Counterpart of Texaco.
      • 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 name is a reference to Texaco, while their logo is a reference to the Sinclair company.

    Pace car rules 
  • Towards the end, Chick 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 needed a lawyer 
  • 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.
    • There is also the problem that they set up trial on the very next day to his crime; even if Lightning hadn't joked off about his lawyer, there was no way the guy could have arrived on the same day, especially since Radiator Springs has been de-mapped. And they basically tossed Mater, who is obviously not a lawyer, and the prosecutor, Sally, who was a high-class lawyer, blatantly sabotaging all, if any chance Lightning had of defending or even explaining himself, and he HAD a good defense("I was left stranded on the highway and took the wrong turn, this cop started shooting at me and I panicked, it was an accident!"; sure, the Sheriff DIDN'T actually shoot at Lightning, but it would be clear it was his engine making the noise and scaring Mc Queen, and he wouldn't look like some delinquent who destroyed the street For the Evulz). And the fact the jury is completely biased, since they're all long-time friends and sole inhabitants of Radiator Springs, rather than random, unbiased people with no personal investment on the case. Hell, Doc came into the courtroom crying murder. For all intents and purposes, it was a Kangaroo Court, to showcase how backwater and slightly off their rocks Radiator Springs really is. But what bothers me more is how Sally and Doc ignore a big opportunity to make the town popular again by forcing Lightning to make public monetary and marketing reparations instead of, you know, simply making him pave the road For the Lulz. The rest of the town is too isolated to think of it, but Doc and Sally are more modernized. They could have made any number of deals with Lightning, but instead they preferred to troll him.
      • Doc didn't want to make the town popular again. He preferred it the way it was at the time. He tried to dismiss the charges and kick McQueen out at first, and when that didn't work, he deliberately gave him as low a profile punishment as he could. As for Sally, she saw him as yet another jerk jock just trying to get into her trunk; i.e. someone not worth her time.

    Mater's name 
  • "Like tuh-mater, but without the 'tuh'." How would they know what tomatoes are? What use are fruit and vegetables to vehicles?
    • Biofuel?
    • Someone pelts tomatoes at Chick towards the end of the first movie.
    • Maybe 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?)
    • He said "Tow Mater." He just has a goofy accent.

    Sally's stripe 
  • Sally's Embarrassing Tattoo overlaps with Fridge Logic if you've ever peeled something like that off a car. (hint: adhesive-backed vinyl decal...)
    • 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.

    The King's name 
  • 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?
    • Like with Richard Petty, "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.
      • Well, toy-lines and Pixar call her Linda Weathers (like Richard Petty's wife was named). Sounds good enough to me.
    Mattress on the minivan 
  • 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.

    Replacing the neon signs 
  • 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, I always heard it as "They fixed their neon", implying that McQueen just gave them the idea and/or helped a bit.

    Chick's ability to not get parked for his antics 
  • 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!"
    • It's possible that there's a far more lax standard of rules for the Piston Cup than there is for other racing organizations. Chick caused a massive wreck in the first part of the movie, yet he never got penalized for it, despite the fact everyone could clearly see him instigating it. Either the referees Failed a Spot Check and weren't paying attention to that area during the race, or it's become such an expectation of the entire sport that wrecks are just given no mind. The difference between that wreck and the King's wreck is that Chick went after a beloved seven-time champion who was about to retire instead of some wet-behind-the-ears rookie. Well, that and Lightning gave up the race just to help the old man out, which was an entirely selfless act he didn't need to do.

    Awarding Chick the trophy 
  • Why was Chick even allowed his piston cup? I can understand he was rejected with Dinoco but what's the point of still giving Chick the Piston Cup despite his blatant purposeful wreckage to the King?
    • Perhaps whoever made the rules didn't deem it necessary. Were the rules changed afterwards to prevent this from ever happening again?
    • My guess is that the rules of racing are a lot more lenient in a world where cars are sentient beings. If every wreck can cause such major injuries, there's probably some sort of liability waiver when you enter into a race that you understand it's a risky business and that potential injury is to be expected. So Chick's knocking the King off the road, while low and unsportsmanlike, wasn't enough to disqualify him.
    Luigi's first customer 
  • 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.
    • Also , logically speaking , Flo's Cafe could(and most likely did) got "refills" once in a while.(After all , we do saw tankers on the highway scenes , when Mack was still carrying Lighting. And most of gas station don't drill their own oil.) So those "supplier" , that the townspeople still use , are also from time to time , buying something from the town.
    • Guido says it's his first real customer. Lightning is willing to go in there and buy a full set of fancy tires, whereas his usual sale is probably just a replacement for a flat. Considering how cheap it is in rural areas, he's probably able to scrape by on those small sales.

  • At one point, Filmore plays Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and refers to him by surname. Now, is this the human Hendrix we know and love, or a car Hendrix? If it’s the former, that adds to the above, but celeb cars like Dale Jr. point to the possibility of the latter. Now, how can a car play guitar with tire treads? If Cars has a 60s era like ours, is there anything as potent as LSD? Did the rest of his discography exist? Is he dead, and if so, HOW? And that’s without going into the National Anthem itself...

    Why make Lightning repair the road? 
  • Sally argues that they should make Lightning fix the road because if he doesn't no one will be able to get to the stores and everyone will go out of business. But repairing the road takes multiple days, and absolutely no one has trouble getting around at all. In fact, everyone presumably just used this broken road to get to the court house. It'd probably need to be fixed eventually, if only for convenience sake, but it's obviously not the urgent thing she makes it out to be. Yeah, she just really wanted to make him fix it, but she couldn't come up with any argument that made a modicum of sense?
    • The broken state of the road might not stop the locals from getting around, but it'll make it a hell of a lot less likely for tourists to come by if the road is in that kind of shape. Given the choice, would you rather walk along a smooth sidewalk, or one that's chopped up with concrete jutting out at weird angles and holes all over it?
    • But, it's kind of implied most of the tourists are there as a stop before a larger destination (presumably, if people went there to go there, building I-40 wouldn't have mattered). They don't have a choice; the road leads to their destination, they either use it or don't reach the destination. And large chunks of the plot hinge on there not being many tourists to begin with ("Travelers? What travelers?"). And the two we do see during the days this film takes place over don't even mention the road. And it's not like they can't get the thing repaired without him there; let him go and make him pay the expenses to get it professionally rebuilt (it's heavily implied he has the money), it'd probably take less time than making one guy who has no idea what he's doing do it.
    • While it's true that no one visits Radiator Springs just to visit it, they wouldn't be as likely to stop there and shop, sightsee, or stay the night if the road was in such dilapidated condition. Yes, the people driving on the former US 66 have to drive through town to reach their destination, but they don't have to actually stop there unless they want to. And while they could've just let Lightning go under the instructions of sending the money/personnel to fix the road in his stead, they had no idea if he would've followed through...and knowing Lightning at this time, he probably wouldn't have. And where does that leave them? Well, now they have a busted-up road in a dingy little town, and their only means of getting the right person to pay for it is by going after a famous racecar with no proof that he'd even been there, on top of having to find a judge who would care that much about the town.

    Why fret Lightning's departure? 
  • Why is such a big deal made about Lightning leaving the town to go to the race? He can come back later, can't he?
    • He probably would've been swept back up in the limelight and forget all about them.
      • Probably not, but they could've feared that that's what might have happened.

     How does the "He did what in his cup" joke work? 
  • When Lightning says that Doc won three Piston Cups, Mater replies, "He did what in his cup?!", the joke being that he thought Lightning said, "he pissed in his cup", but cars don't pee, so how does the joke work?
    • Don't they? They're shown to have restrooms in this film and the sequel, and the scene where Mater (actually Axlerod) leaks oil at a party is treated similarly to a case of Potty Failure in-universe.
    • Also, Rule of Funny.

     Reference Doesn't Hold Up to Scrutiny 
  • I get that "Float like a caddillac, sting like a Beemer" is a boxing reference, but those are types of cars, and cars are the equivalent of humans, so isn't that like saying, "Float like a Hispanic, sting like a Native American?".
    • Lightning is horrifyingly racist.

     Lightning and the finish line 
  • Why does Lightning sticking his tongue out to touch the finish line allow him to draw with The King and Chick? His opponents' wheels were at the finish line and even crossed it entirely just before Lightning hopped over it. The commentators claim it's too close to call, but it's very clear that, since The King and Chick's wheels made it over the line before Lightning's, that Lightning finished the race after them. His tongue touching it shouldn't factor into it; the wheels should take priority.
    • Much like in real life, if a part of the car crosses the finish line while it's still attached to the vehicle, it still counts as a win. His tongue is a part of him, so Lighting was given entry.

     Mater and Frank going at the same speed as Lightning 
  • When Mater invites Lighting to play with some tractors, one big and mad one appears to chase them down, how are him and Mater able to keep up with the same speed as Lightning? He is a race car even if his tires are not made for that type of terrain, couldn't he try going at his maximum power?
    • He has track tires on as I recall. If he just jams the throttle then they'll spin uselessly. They don't have enough grip.
    • And he's running on a limited amount of gas, as I recall. The greater his speed, the faster his gas gets eaten up, and he certainly doesn't want to be left stranded.


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