Do you consider yourself an expert on everyone’s favorite talking automobile? It may come as a shock to learn that Lightning McQueen is a real car. In September, we can expect to see the premiere of Cars on the Road, a series created by Pixar for Disney+. All of us Lightning McQueen fans just took a trip down memory lane. Everything you ever wanted to know about the iconic little red car is right here.
Nobody can resist the tale of a brilliant newcomer who is taught valuable lessons the hard way. One of Disney-most Pixar’s cherished works, the Cars franchise does just that. Taking place in a world populated by talking automobiles, it follows the egotistical Lightning McQueen as he receives a crash course (pardon the pun) in sportsmanship.
The question of what kind of car Lightning McQueen is based on is understandable given the hundreds of vehicles that appear in the series. In reality, there’s more to it than that!
What is Lightning McQueen?
In Pixar’s Cars series, Lightning McQueen leads a cast of sentient, humanoid vehicles who drive around and converse with one other. McQueen, played by Owen Wilson, is a newcomer racing automobile in the Piston Cup Circuit (modeled on the real-world NASCAR Circuit). His trademark slogan is “Ka-chow! which he says every time he shows off his driving prowess to a crowd.
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What Type of Car is Lightning McQueen?
Lightning McQueen is a red race car with yellow lightning bolts on the sides, as seen in the film. The number 95 is emblazoned in orange on his torso, and he has NASCAR-style wheels and a spoiler. Given the franchise’s motorsports focus, the NASCAR aesthetic is unmistakable. Fans are left wondering, “What real car is Lightning McQueen based on?” because the character’s design isn’t immediately clear.
Pixar’s animators apparently drew inspiration from a wide variety of sources when designing McQueen. However, the Chevrolet Corvette C1 (manufactured between 1953 and 1962) and the Chevrolet Corvette C6 serve as his primary inspirations when it comes to automobiles (produced between 2004-2013).
What Brand Of Car is Lightning McQueen?
At the beginning of the series, McQueen is a cocky, overconfident challenger who is trying to outsmart the established leaders and establish his reputation. But he soon learns that his egocentric behavior has alienated him from everyone he once considered a friend.
The famous racer “Doc” Hudson Hornet helps him rebuild his self-assurance, go through a training montage (reminiscent of the one in The Karate Kid), meet some new people, and restore his reputation as a top-tier driver.
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Car Models That Inspired Lightning McQueen’s Design
Chevrolet Corvette C1
In 1953, Chevrolet released the first of many iterations of the Corvette, a series of high-performance sports vehicles. It was first shown at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City as part of the General Motors Motorama event. The C1 was a two-seater, open-top roadster powered by a six-cylinder engine producing 115 horsepower.
The exterior was made out of fiberglass-reinforced plastic and painted in traditional red and white. While in production, the C1’s price tag occasionally hit $4000. It’s clear that this was a major influence on Lightning McQueen’s look.
Chevrolet Corvette C6
While taking some classic cues from the C1, Pixar also looked to the Corvette C6 to ensure that McQueen’s design would resonate with a newer audience. It was first shown to the public in 2004 at the Detroit Auto Show, where its slick exterior design, improved suspension, and larger engine impressed the masses.
For an average of $47,000, you could purchase one of these between 2005 and 2013. In addition to being the first car since 1962 to use open headlights, it also came in a convertible and coupe body style.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.