Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Disney's "Cars"


Here are the most iconic real-life places (and things) that inspired the locations from Cars.

Who doesn’t love the movie Cars? From little kids, to Route 66 aficionados, to the everyday car enthusiast, it’s one of those rare kids movies pretty much everyone can tolerate, even love. Here are the most iconic real-life places (and things) that inspired the locations from Cars.

Motor Speedway of the South = Bristol Motor Speedway 

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

If you’re a NASCAR fan, you recognized the Motor Speedway of the South almost immediately as paying homage to the high-banked short track Bristol.

Radiator Springs = Peach Springs Arizona & Angel’s Barber Shop

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

Nailing down the exact town Radiator Spring was modeled after is a little tricky. Truth is it could be any little Route 66 town that I-40 has now passed by. Geographically, the one-horse town of Peach Springs, AZ matches up best. Director John Lassester also mentioned much of the film was inspired by conversations about the struggles for Route 66 towns with barberAngel Delgadillo of Seligman, AZ

Ornament Valley = Monument Valley 

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

So these two don’t necessarily look super similar in these pictures, but it’s safe to say Monument Valley, given its size and notoriety, is the valley that gave them the idea for Ornament Valley. Of course, it is the American West, so pretty much pick a valley and it probably applies.

Lizzie’s Curio Shop = Hackberry General Store 

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

This is another location that seems to represent pretty much any little oddity shop along Route 66, but perhaps its most accurate real-life counterpart is the Hackberry General Store, a must-see on Route 66.

Flo’s V8 Cafe = Ford V-8 Flathead

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

The resemblance of Flo’s V8 Cafe to a motor is pretty obvious. But, did you notice the spark-plug style lights illuminate in the same sequence as the firing order of a Ford Flathead V-8? Well played, Pixar/Disney, well played.

Cozy Cone = Wigwam Village 7 Motel & Cozy Dog Drive-In 

wigwam

The Cozy Cone Motel is without a doubt paying its respects to the Wigwam Motels that used to dot the country. Today, you can still stay at Wigwam Motels in California and Arizona. And the Cozy Cone name? A reference to the birthplace of the Corn Dog, the Cozy Dog Drive-In.

Ramone’s House of Body Art = Conoco Tower 

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

Already a well-known Route 66 icon, the Tower Conoco/U-Drop Inn was a logical choice to show up in the movie as Ramone’s House of Body Art. (Notice the subtle hint to Cadillac Ranch in the background?)

Los Angeles International Speedway = Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum & Auto Club Speedway & Dragway & Rose Bowl & Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Kachow! Visit the Real-Life Locations that Inspired Pixar's 'Cars'

Finally, we have the Los Angeles International Speedway… This beast is a combination of some of the most well-known stadiums and tracks in America. LA International Speedway is a combination of the LA Coliseum, the Rose BowlAuto Club Speedway, and the legendary timing tower at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Of course, there are dozens of other bridges, scenic features, and subtle hints to real life things/places/people in the movie. Which ones have you noticed?

(Cars images and screenshots via Disney/Pixar)

Places explored in this article:

This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
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