Cars Toons
Directed by
  • John Lasseter
  • Rob Gibbs
  • Jeremy Lasky
Based on
Produced byKimberly Adams
Music by
Distributed by
Release dates
October 27, 2008 (2008-10-27)
May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)
Running time
2–7 minutes
CountryUnited States

Cars Toons is an American animated short series based on the Cars franchise. It features Lightning McQueen, Mater, and their friends in comedic antics and adventures canonical to the films. Larry the Cable Guy reprises his role as Mater while Keith Ferguson replaces Owen Wilson as the voice of Lightning McQueen until "The Radiator Springs 500 ½", when Wilson reprises his role.

The series premiered on October 27, 2008, with "Rescue Squad Mater" on Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family. Not exclusive to television, the shorts were also released on home media and/or as theatrical shorts. The series ended on May 20, 2014, with "The Radiator Springs 500 ½".


Mater's Tall Tales

All Cars Toons in Mater's Tall Tales follow a shared formula: Each episode opens with McQueen and Mater seeing something that results in the latter proceeding to tell the former a “tall tale” about something he supposedly did in the past, before the action shifts to the flashback of Mater's story. At a midway point, the action briefly shifts back to Mater and McQueen in which McQueen questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred (or in some episodes asks him what he did next), resulting in Mater proclaiming that McQueen was also involved. The flashback then resumes with McQueen's sudden and usually unwilling participation in the story's events. After Mater finishes his tall tale, McQueen denies the fact that Mater's tale is real before one or more characters/elements involved in the story coincidentally appear to McQueen's shock (with the exception of "Tokyo Mater", "Unidentified Flying Mater" and "Time Travel Mater"), paradoxically suggesting that Mater's story really happened.

All episodes also feature Mia and Tia and various pit crew forklifts in supporting roles (with the exception of "Time Travel Mater").

Tales from Radiator Springs

All Cars Toons in Tales from Radiator Springs follow the daily lives of McQueen, Mater and their friends in their hometown Radiator Springs, following the events of Cars 2.

Voice cast

Main article: List of Cars characters


Production of the series began in 2006 following the success of Cars. The first nine shorts were produced by Pixar, while all the following shorts were produced by Pixar's subsidiary, Pixar Canada.[1]

"Tokyo Mater" premiered in theaters with Bolt on December 12, 2008. The short is the first Disney/Pixar production presented in Disney Digital 3-D.[2] However, it is not featured on the film's home media releases. Sulley and Mike from Monsters, Inc. make cameo appearances in "Tokyo Mater" as their car forms from the credits of the first film.



The Disney·Pixar Cars Die-Cast Line included die-casts of various characters from the shorts, including "Rescue Squad Mater", "Mater the Greater", and "El Materdor", in the toy line.

Video game

A video game based on the series titled Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales was developed by Papaya Studio and released on October 19, 2010 for the Wii.[3][4] A PC version was also released outside the United States and on Steam worldwide in 2014.[5][6][7]

Home media

A DVD and Blu-ray compilation of the first nine shorts, titled Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales, was released on October 31, 2010. The compilation includes "Mater the Greater", "Rescue Squad Mater", "Monster Truck Mater", "Unidentified Flying Mater", "El Materdor", "Moon Mater", "Heavy Metal Mater", "Mater Private Eye" and "Tokyo Mater".[8] "Moon Mater" and "Mater Private Eye" debuted in this set.[9]

"Air Mater" and "Time Travel Mater" were released on Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 2. "Hiccups", "Bugged", and "Spinning" were released on and YouTube. "The Radiator Springs 500 ½" was released on Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 3.

Lost Unreleased short

In addition to "The Radiator Springs 500 ½," which was released in 2014, director Rob Gibbs revealed at the 2013 Disney D23 Expo a fifth Cars Toons: Tales from Radiator Springs episode titled "To Protect and Serve." The short was expected to debut in 2014 on the Disney Channel.[10] but it ended up being unreleased for unknown reasons.[11] Despite never being released, it did receive merchandise, including die-cast models and a book. The book contains several images from the short, which confirms that it was completed but, as of now, remains lost media.

Short films

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
Mater's Tall Tales11October 27, 2008 (2008-10-27)June 5, 2012 (2012-06-05)
Tales from Radiator Springs4March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22)May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)

Mater's Tall Tales (2008–12)

No.TitleDirected byOriginal air dateOriginal release
1"Rescue Squad Mater"[12]John LasseterOctober 27, 2008 (2008-10-27)Toon Disney

Mater is working as a fire truck and has to rescue Lightning McQueen from a burning building. After he saves McQueen, the ambulance rushes McQueen to the hospital where Mater reveals that he's also a doctor (with an MD, PhD, STP and GTO).

2"Mater the Greater"[12]John LasseterOctober 28, 2008 (2008-10-28)Toon Disney

Mater is a daredevil, dressing in a style like that of Evel Knievel. In a stadium, Mater attempts to jump a long line of cars, but instead merely tiptoes over them. He performs other stunts, and later claims Lightning McQueen failed to jump over Carburetor Canyon while strapped to a rocket.

3"El Materdor"[12]John LasseterOctober 29, 2008 (2008-10-29)Toon Disney

Mater is a matador fighting a herd of bulldozers in Spain. When Lightning McQueen enters the story, the bulldozers chase after him due to his red paint job.

4"Tokyo Mater"[13]John LasseterDecember 12, 2008 (2008-12-12)Theatrically with Bolt[2]

Mater offers to tow home a stranded Japanese car inspired by the Toyota Century (named Ito-San), but ends up in Tokyo, Japan after hauling him all the way across the Pacific Ocean. He is subsequently challenged to a race by the Drift King Kabuto (a car resembling Boost, the leader of The Delinquent Road Hazards), with the winner being crowned "King of All Drifters" and the loser being stripped of all custom modifications to become a "stock" car. "Lightning Dragon McQueen" shows up to help Mater fend off an attack from Kabuto's ninjas and then helps Mater catch up with Kabuto and win the race.

5"Unidentified Flying Mater"[14]John LasseterNovember 20, 2009 (2009-11-20)Disney Channel

Mater befriends a small flying saucer called Mator and they have a night out. When Mator is captured by the military forces, Mater sneaks up and saves him with the help of Lightning McQueen and Mator's mothership.

6"Monster Truck Mater"[15]John LasseterJuly 30, 2010 (2010-07-30)Disney Channel

Mater, alias "The Tormentor", is a monster truck wrestler who works his way up the ranks from amateur to World Champion Monster Truck Wrestler, fighting against all kinds of characters along the way. These trucks include the I-Screamer, Captain Collision, The Rasta Carian, Dr. Feel Bad, and Paddy O'Concrete. When faced with his biggest opponent yet, the Monster of Dr. Frankenwagon, Mater tags in his "tag team partner", Lightning McQueen, alias "Frightening McMean".

7"Heavy Metal Mater"[16]John LasseterOctober 8, 2010 (2010-10-08)Disney Channel

Mater is a rock star in a heavy metal band. He starts out in a garage band called "Mater & The Gas Caps" and rises to the top with his hit song, "Dadgum" (which bears a heavy-metal style by accident when the drummer goes crazy trying to kill a fly on the drum while recording an album), a song based on the line Mater is famous for. Lightning McQueen goes debut to joins him on stage in the middle of a huge concert and they rock into a history.

8"Moon Mater"[9][17]Rob GibbsNovember 2, 2010 (2010-11-02)Mater's Tall Tales DVD/Blu-ray

Mater is the first tow truck to land on the moon, with the mission to rescue the Impala XIII by giving him a tow and bringing him back to Earth. Lightning McQueen joins Mater and they are met with a hero's welcome.

9"Mater Private Eye"[9][17]Rob GibbsNovember 2, 2010 (2010-11-02)Mater's Tall Tales DVD/Blu-ray

Mater is a private investigator working on an open-and-shut case of counterfeit tires, when Tia rolls back into his life. She hires Mater to find her sister, Mia, who's been car-napped. Mater searches for clues and closes in on a major crime scene. Lieutenant Lightning McQueen arrives just in time to help bring the criminals to justice.

10"Air Mater"[18][19]Rob GibbsNovember 1, 2011 (2011-11-01)Cars 2 DVD/Blu-ray

A tow service leads Mater to Propwash Junction, a town populated by planes. Amazed by all these flying machines, Mater gets interested in learning how to fly when he sees Skipper's Flight School, which has a sign that says they could teach anyone. After learning how to fly, he learns himself to fly backwards and amazes a group of stunt planes known as the Falcon Hawks. Since one of them has sprained a wing during practice for a stunt show, they ask Mater to take place of the injured plane. He accepts and becomes the stunt planes' new member. Lightning McQueen, also a stunt plane, helps Mater at one point when he is in trouble.

11"Time Travel Mater"[20][21]Rob GibbsJune 5, 2012 (2012-06-05)Disney Channel

Accidentally gaining the ability to travel in time, Mater travels back to 1909 in the middle of a desert where he meets Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs, who works as a travelling radiator caps salesman. With the realization, that if Stanley goes away there would be no Radiator Springs, Mater brings McQueen from the future to which Stanley sells him a radiator cap. Mater then suggests Stanley to settle there and build a town where he could serve broken travelling cars, and Stanley accepts. Jumping to 18 years in the future, in 1927, Stanley shows Mater and McQueen the expanding town when Mater takes a note of a broken Ford Model T, which turns out to be Lizzie. Lizzie's seemingly falling in love with McQueen makes Mater panic again about Radiator Springs' future, but it turns out that Lizzie had her eye on Stanley. After Stanley and Lizzie were introduced to each other by McQueen, he and Mater make another time jump, where they attend Stanley and Lizzie's wedding before returning to the present. There, Lizzie thanks McQueen for introducing her and Stanley.

Tales from Radiator Springs (2013–2014)

No.TitleDirected byOriginal air dateOriginal release
1"Hiccups"[22]Jeremy LaskyMarch 22, 2013 (2013-03-22)Disney Channel
Lightning McQueen gets hiccups while drinking oil. Many of the Radiator Springs residents give him advice on how to cure the hiccups, but none of the ideas work until Sally kisses him on the cheek, curing McQueen of his hiccups. Sheriff then starts getting hiccups, which leads to Mater, thinking that kissing will help all hiccups, attempting to kiss Sheriff to cure them, leading to a chase between Sheriff and Mater.
2"Bugged"[22]Jeremy LaskyMarch 22, 2013 (2013-03-22)Disney Channel

Red's morning routine is interrupted by a pesky bug, which he attempts to get rid of.

  • Note: This is the only Cars Toon episode not to feature Lightning McQueen or Mater.
3"Spinning"[22]Jeremy LaskyMarch 22, 2013 (2013-03-22)Disney Channel

Luigi assigns Guido to shake his store's sign to draw in customers. When Guido discovers his hidden talent as a street corner sign spinner, he draws in a huge crowd.

  • Note: This is the last Cars Toon episode to feature Keith Ferguson as the voice of Lightning McQueen.
4"The Radiator Springs 500 ½"[11][23]Rob GibbsMay 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)
August 1, 2014[24]
Disney Movies Anywhere,
Disney Channel

Radiator Springs celebrates a Founders Day honoring the late Stanley when a gang of racers descend on the town and challenge Lightning McQueen to an off-road race.

  • Note: This is the only Cars Toon episode to feature Owen Wilson as the voice of Lightning McQueen.


Mater's Tall Tales

Characters Rescue Squad Mater Mater The Greater El Materdor Tokyo Mater Unidentified Flying Mater Monster Truck Mater Heavy Metal Mater Moon Mater Mater Private Eye Air Mater Time Travel Mater
Mater Larry the Cable Guy
Lightning McQueen Keith Ferguson
Tia Elissa Knight
Mia Lindsey Collins Uncredited actress Lindsey Collins
Guido Silent Cameo Guido Quaroni Credit only Guido Quaroni Silent Cameo
Fillmore Silent Cameo Silent Cameo George Carlin
(archive recordings)
Silent Cameo; Credit only
Sheriff Michael Wallis
Kabuto Mach Tony Kobayashi
Ito-San Robert Ito
Skipper Stacey Keach
Judge Davis Jonathan Adams
Sparky[25] Danny Mann[26]
Stanley John Michael Higgins
Lizzie Katherine Helmond

Tales from Radiator Springs

Character Hiccups Bugged Spinning The Radiator Springs 500 ½
Lightning McQueen Keith Ferguson Keith Ferguson Owen Wilson[11]
Mater Larry the Cable Guy Silent Cameo Larry the Cable Guy
Sally Bonnie Hunt Bonnie Hunt
Luigi Tony Shalhoub Tony Shalhoub
Guido Guido Quaroni Guido Quaroni
Flo Jenifer Lewis Jenifer Lewis
Sarge Paul Dooley Paul Dooley
Fillmore Lloyd Sherr Lloyd Sherr
Sheriff Michael Wallis Michael Wallis
Red Jerome Ranft Silent Cameo
Ramone Cheech Marin
Lizzie Katherine Helmond


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