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Pixar Cars: Radiator Springs

Updated on June 20, 2013

Welcome to Radiator Springs

Radiator Springs is the fictional town on Route 66 where Lightning McQueen, a rookie race car, finds himself stuck in the Disney/Pixar movie CARS. The town is not based on a single location, but is based on real areas along Route 66. In 2001directors John Lasseter and Joe Ranft, along with others from the creative team at Pixar, toured parts of Route 66 to get inspiration for the film and help them create Radiator Springs. If you're a CARS fan, read on to learn more about Radiator Springs.

Radiator Springs is a fictional town that has gone from a bustling thoroughfare with lots of travelers to an out-of-the-way stop on the "old" Route 66 after the new I-40 interstate is built. Its fate is similar to real towns that line Route 66, but the town isn't based on any one specific locale. It was based on a variety of places that the Pixar team visited while traveling Route 66 in 2001.

According to Wikipedia, the setting for Radiator Springs is situated between Gallup, New Mexico and Kingman, Arizona. However, the physical location of Radiator Springs in relation to I-40 is similar to that of Peach Springs, Arizona.

More facts about Radiator Springs:

The hill at Radiator Springs (with the white letters RS for Radiator Springs) resembles the top of a radiator with a cap.

Willy's Butte resembles the landmark of Mexican Hat, Utah.

Nearby "Ornament Valley" (a reference to Monument Valley) is derived from the rugged Black Mountains in Arizona, and the famous Cadillac Ranch sculpture in Amarillo, Texas.

The bridge that McQueen sees Sally driving on resembles several bridges on Route 66, including the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge in Tulsa, the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California, and the now-closed bridge over Diablo Canyon at Two Guns, Arizona.

Flo's V8 cafe is designed to look like a V8 engine head on, with a circular air filter, tappet covers, spark plugs and pistons and connecting rods as the supports for the shelter.

The railroad grade crossing at which Lightning McQueen outruns a passenger train on his way to Radiator Springs is protected by a pair of antique "upper-quadrant" wigwag crossing signals which accurately depict those once made by the Magnetic Signal Company in both appearance and start-up. Few are left in actual operation in the United States.

Radiator Springs GeoTrax Playset by Fisher-Price - Race your favorite Disney/Pixars Cars characters

You can bring Radiator Springs to life in your own home with this GeoTrax racing set from Fisher-Price. It features five Cars characters (Doc, Mater, Lightning McQueen, Sally, Sarge and Flo) with special effects and a GeoTrax playset to create your own race.

Fisher-Price GeoTrax Disney Pixar CARS Mega Set
Fisher-Price GeoTrax Disney Pixar CARS Mega Set

The GeoTrax Disney Pixar's CARS Mega Set by Fisher-Price brings the world of Radiator Springs to life, just like in the Pixar CARS movie! With over 40 total pieces, including a turbo speed RC vehicle, character vehicles w/ SFX, sites & track. Individual characters such as Lightning McQueen, Doc and Mater can also be purchased separately and work with all existing GeoTrax playsets.


"Shoot! You're in Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County." - Mater

Singer James Taylor and songwriter Randy Newman won a Grammy award for the song "Our Town" from CARS. The song was also nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to "I Need to Wake Up" from the film "An Inconvenient Truth." These are the lyrics for the song written about the fictional town of Radiator Springs.

Long ago, but not so very long ago,

the world was different, oh yes it was.

You settled down and you build a town and made it live,

and you watched it grow, it was your town.

Time goes by, time brings changes, you change too.

Nothing comes that you can't handle so on you go.

You never see it coming, when the world caves in on you,

on your town, there's nothing you can do.

Main street isn't main street anymore.

Lights don't shine as brightly as they shone before.

To tell the truth, lights don't shine at all,

in our town.

Sun comes up each morning, just like it's always done,

get up, go to work, and start the day.

You open up for business, it's never gonna come,

as the world roles by, a million miles away.

Main street isn't main street, anymore.

No one seems to need us, like they did before.

It's hard to find a reason left to stay,

but it's our town, We love it anyway.

Come what may, it's our town.

Radiator Springs map credit: robdebsgreen on Flickr

James Taylor Sings "Our Town" from the Movie CARS

Cars: Radiator Springs Adventure

Cars: Radiator Springs Adventure
Cars: Radiator Springs Adventure

Start your engines for ten exciting games! Adventure through Radiator Springs with Lightning McQueen and your favorite movie characters. Complete a series of action-packed challenges as you gear up for some Radiator Springs competition! Rated E for everyone.


Luigi's Casa Della Tires in Radiator Springs Playset

Luigi's Casa Della Tires is one of the remaining businesses in Radiator Springs. This is the place where McQueen gets a new set of whitewall tires.

Disney Pixar Cars Luigi's Casa Della Tires Playset
Disney Pixar Cars Luigi's Casa Della Tires Playset

Recreate scenes from Cars! This playset opens up for more play and includes a toppling tire stack and a "neon" light-up sign. Cars are sold separately.


Flo's V-8 Cafe Playset

Flo's V-8 Cafe is where cars hang out and get a drink in Cars. In the movie, the neon lights on the cafe flash in the proper firing order for a Ford flathead V8, and the cafe sign briefly displays a "hidden Mickey" as it rotates.

Radiator Springs Curio Shop

Lizzie's Curio Shop is the home of a wide selection of Route 66 memorabilia in the Cars movie. The Curio Shop is based on the crazy Route 66 jumble of memorabilia and knickknacks at Hackberry General Store in Hackberry, Arizona and the SandHills Curiosity Shop, (aka the City Meat Market building) in Erick, Oklahoma, according to Wikipedia.

Ramone's House of Body Art

According to Wikipedia, Ramone's House of Body Art is based primarily on the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas. It opened in 1936 as Tower Conoco (from its distinctive Art Deco spire) with the U-Drop Inn Cafe and a retail building attached. Many other establishments built along Route 66 in its heyday had Art Deco elements that might be reflected in the design of Ramone's.

Read About Locations Along Route 66

If the Disney/Pixar Cars movie got you interested in locations along Route 66, pick up one of these books to learn more about fun and historic places to visit.

Have You Ever Driven Route 66?

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    • crystalwriter profile image

      Crystal A Murray 

      6 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

      @crystalwriter: I meant the movie picked up the general feel of the more western portions of Route 66 (not movie), but the page wouldn't let me delete and retype the message. I kept getting a script error.

    • crystalwriter profile image

      Crystal A Murray 

      6 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

      I used to live in Kingman, so I recognized many of the landmarks from old parts of Route 66 in the Cars movie--which I loved. The movie picked up the general feel of the far western portions of the movie. Some of the back roads of route 66 can be seen in the movie "Roadhouse 66" (not to be confused with Patrick Swayze's "Roadhouse") that stars Willem Defoe, Judge Reinhold, and Alan Autry.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool springs outside kingman

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I spent several months in Kingman, AZ, during which time I toured the longest remaining continuous stretch of Route 66. I loved it! I also love the movie Cars...especially the landscape in the background. I enjoy recognizing landmarks from places I've been.

    • Cars2Cam profile image


      8 years ago

      I live near Route 66, but all the way in Illinois!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this! Great.

      Pre Owned Lexus

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens. I'm sure I drove through Radiator Springs (or somewhere like it) last time I drove along part of Route 66.

    • AliciaAnn89 profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      No, but I want to! Great lens!!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      9 years ago

      Welcome to the Totally Awesome Lenses Group


    • ChristopherScot1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens and thanks for joining the group for A Day of Hope.


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