Pixar Studios is the place where they created everything from Toy Story to Monsters Inc. to Finding Nemo to Wall-e. And Cars — all three of the Cars movies. But it’s not like Universal Studios where you can buy a ticket, walk in and see everything from Jaws the shark to a thrilling Fast and the Furious chase to a Norman Bates lookalike dumping a mysteriously body-shaped object into the trunk of his car. No, Pixar is as secret a place as Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and you’ll never get in. Until now. Consider us your little Oompa Loompa.
The Pixar Motorama started out as a small company car show for employees to show off their cars.
“Jay (Ward) and I started doing Cars way back in the early 2000s,” recalled Pixar chief John Lasseter. “We started doing all the research. So this history of Motorama weaves right into the history of the movie Cars.”
About the time they were working on the original Cars, Lasseter and Pixar creative director Jay Ward started noticing that many of their employees had cool cars. Ward had a side hobby of putting on hot rod shows. So they decided to have Ward organize a car show for Pixar employees on the Pixar grounds. Employees would park their cars on the walkway and on the lawn outside of the headquarters building at lunch. It was a popular event.
The Chrysler 300C was also a character in Cars 3
And then it grew. And grew.
“We started it and (held) it every year and now it’s gotten so big that we do it every two years,” said Lasseter.
This year they decided to hold the show on the same day that Cars 3 was being released nationwide. So the show, which had been a fairly small, sedate affair, became much bigger. The grounds were packed, cars were spread all over the lawn and along the walkways and families of employees crowded in. It was great.
As usual, there was manufacturer participation. Nissan brought a GT-R, Aston Martin brought a DB11, McLaren brought a 720, Porsche brought a beautiful black 911, AMG brought a blue GT, there was a beautiful new Corvette. Those were all on what Ward calls “the main bricks,” outside the entryway to Pixar’s Steve Jobs Building.
On the lawn adjacent to that were the Concours cars. GM brought a Turbine car. Jay Leno had two cars, members of the Petersen Automotive Museum brought their own collectibles, including ancient Alfas, Ferraris and Maseratis. The Blackhawk Collection brought a custom car. There was an original Prince sports car that looked like a Ferrari LM. John Lasseter brought his 1948 Chrysler Town & Country convertible (“It’s like your living room couch,” he said. “It’s so glorious.”)
One corner of the Concours lawn featured characters from the Cars movies: The King, Sarge, Doc Hudson and Junior Moon.
Nissan brought a GT-R
On the walkway were all the employee cars. Our favorite is still Brad Winemiller’s Westfalia camper, but we did like the Porsche Speedster, too.
But the public will never be invited in. So dust off your resume and contact Pixar HR. Can you write? Can you animate? If so, you may be Pixar material!
Jay: It’s a pretty nice show for employees.
John: Or if you’re a friend of Jay.
Jay: Or friend of John. Friend of Jay, works both ways.
Then they both dutifully plugged Cars 3.
“Cars 3 opens today,” said Lasseter. “Everybody go see it. You’ll love it. You will love it!”
The Pixar Lamp