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Cars 2 Cast Talks First Cars and Lemons

Jun 20, 2011

By: Lynn Barker

With the new Cars movie coming out, we decided that it would be fun to ask some of the cast members and director/writer/head of Pixar John Lasseter about the first cars they drove. Were they cool or just lemons?

The movie features a spy story as Mater and McQueen are swept into international intrigue while overseas where McQueen has entered a huge world-wide race to name the fastest car in the world. The “bad guy” characters in the film are all cars with bad reps as unreliable junk.

Here is what John Lasseter and the actors told us:

Lightning McQueenLightning McQueenCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen): The first car I had was a blue Chevrolet Blazer which I later wrecked driving back to Dallas from my first year at USC. My parents didn’t want me to drive straight through and I was like “No. I’ll be fine” and I drove straight through and I was a little bit tired and the car went off the road and was totaled.

Kidzworld: Have you had a lemon car that you really loved?

  • Owen: No. But, the first car I got when I got out here to California was a Nissan Maxima and that was more because I got bowled over by the sales people. I go in and the next thing I know I’m in the office with the salesman and had agreed to buy. I asked him “Can you just tell me if I’m overpaying a lot for this car?” He said “I’ve seen people pay more.”  (laughter)

Miles AxlerodMiles AxlerodCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Eddie Izzard (Miles Axlerod): Well, my first car was a mini. My dad had told me never to buy one. I went to university and I was hitching back there and it was raining. (A car picked me up) and there was water in the floor of this mini and the guy said “I’m selling this”. I said “How much?” “50 quid.” “All right. I’ll buy it”. So I had this piece of junk but it was a nice piece of junk. I drove down from London when I left university and the windshield wipers broke. I tried to sell it and finally took all the good bits and put them on another mini. This guy came round to buy it and the axle went. The front wheels were pointing into each other and I had the temerity to ask him “So, what do you think? (Still wanna buy it?)”

Kidzworld: What car would you want as a dream car?

  • Eddie: An Aston Martin DB 5 or 6. I can never quite tell the difference but they are gorgeous and James Bond had people fly out the roofs of them or an E-type Jag. Michael Caine’s (character Finn McMissle) is part of that (James Bond-type spy thing) in the film.

Tow MaterTow MaterCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Larry the Cable Guy (Tow Mater): My first car was a 1969 Formula Firebird with a double hood scoop and glass packs (muffler replacement).  The last of the big 400 (horsepower) engines. I think I was nineteen. My first lemon though was a 1995, hunter green Dodge truck that had to have the transmission fixed about every six months.


Holly ShiftwellHolly ShiftwellCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Emily Mortimer (Holly Shiftwell): My first car was an awful 1960 Saab that my father said I needed a tetanus shot to get into because it was so full of old half-eaten sandwiches and coke cans and everything. I’m not allowed to drive by my husband because I’m very unreliable.



Finn McMissleFinn McMissleCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Sir Michael Caine (spy car Finn McMissle an Aston-Martin): I grew up in (World War 2) in London. I didn't know anybody who had a car until I was sixteen or seventeen. We had The Tube, the subway and the buses. It was great and it was cheap. So, there was no reason to have a car. Once I became a movie star, the first car I ever bought was a Rolls Royce and I couldn't drive it. I had chauffeurs my whole life and I never drove a car until I went to Los Angeles.

Kidzworld: You must have had to take a driving test there.

  • Michael: Yeah. I got in the car, very nervous. I was a terrible driver, but I passed that test. I've had lots of cars, but I don't drive them. I have a chauffeur. But (in Cars 2) I AM a car! I don’t drive but I’m a car.
  • John Lasseter (writer/director and head of Pixar Studios): My first car was a 1969 Toyota Corona, not a Corolla but a Corona. It was a good car. It was so easy to work on. If it broke down, you could just fix it.

Kidzworld: John, there are a lot of lemon cars. Why wasn’t there an old Pinto or a Vega as lemons in this film? How did you choose the bad guy lemon cars?

  • John: It was so much fun in a spy movie with cars as characters to take a look at who could be the bad guys, and it was really fun coming up with the lemon cars of the world be the bad guys. We actually went to some of our friends who work in the automobile magazines and we had them help us draw up a list from all around the world, notoriously bad cars, like lemons.
  • What we found was that a lot of the car companies didn’t want us to use their cars as bad guys. So we were kind of limited, but were able to get two of my favorite cars; the Gremlin and the Pacer because they’re so absolutely unique looking. It was really fun to have them as bad guy characters.

GremGremCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Joe Mantegna (“bad guy” car Grem (a Gremlin): I’m not only gonna tell you, I’ll show you. (He whips out his cell phone and the car is his screensaver). It’s a 1947 Buick. I bought it in 1967 and I still own it. It’s a beautiful car. I have a 1970 Opal GT that’s been restored. I still drive them.



AcerAcerCourtesy of Disney/Pixar
  • Peter Jacobson (“bad guy” car Acer, an AMC Pacer): I never had my own car. Our family car was a Buick Century. My dad drove a Caprice Classic. Then we got an Audi and my dad had a Karmann-Ghia. That was a cool car.




See the fun Cars 2 in theaters (in both 3-D or 2-D) starting this Friday, June 24th, 2011