Mater (also known as "Tow Mater" or "Sir Tow Mater") is the deuteragonist in Disney/Pixar's 2006 Cars and the main protagonist in its sequel. He also appeared in his very own TV short series Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales as the main character. His best friend is Lightning McQueen. Mater also likes to go Tractor Tippin' at night, which is also his favorite hobby. Mater's catchphrases are "Dad gum!" and "Git-R-Done!" (his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy's signature phrase).
Mater is a friendly, loyal, silly, dim-witted, and goofy tow truck, but he also has a vast knowledge of all car parts considering his job of towing and salvaging, which proves to be useful in exposing Miles Axlerod as the one behind the conspiracy to sabotage the World Grand Prix.
"Mater's lived in Radiator Springs his whole life. In his younger days, he used to be a real handful around town, playing pranks on everyone, tippin' tractors, saying inappropriate things at the wrong time, but luckily he's matured a lot since then."
"Mater's a good ol' boy with a big heart and the only tow truck in Radiator Springs. He runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage and manages the local impound lot. Though a little rusty, he has the quickest towrope in Carburetor County and is always the first to lend a helping hand. Mater sees the bright side of any situation. He's the heart and soul of Radiator Springs, and he doesn't have a mean bolt in his chassis."
"Keep an eye on Mater, he tends to take things a little too literally."
Mater is a friendly tow truck with buckteeth. He speaks with a thick Southern redneck accent with a dash of hillbilly twang and frequently uses incorrect syntax.
Mater runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage. Mater is one of the first to befriend and support Lightning throughout his adventure in Radiator Springs. During the film, Mater shows Lightning how to do Tractor Tippin' and how to drive backwards without crashing by using rearview mirrors, which Lightning uses to counter Chick Hicks' dirty racing in the Piston Cup race. In the end, Lightning gives Mater an opportunity to fly in a Dinoco helicopter like he always wanted, saying to Sally that Mater is his new best friend.
Mater is also capable of racing, as well as being the (self-proclaimed) world's best backwards driver. He attributes his skill to his rear-view mirrors and his own philosophy: "Don't need to know where I'm going, just need to know where I've been."
Mater is the main protagonist of his own short. One night, Mater plays a series of scary pranks on his friends until a blue light begins to haunt him. Mater's final prank is his most successful: Lightning sees a tow hook hanging from behind a stack of cans and, assuming that Mater is hiding behind it, approaches to foil the prank. Mater then jumps off of the roof of Flo's café, screaming behind Lightning, who then is startled and knocks over the pile of cans, revealing that the hook was actually from the sign of Mater's place of business, thus a decoy. Everyone starts to laugh at Lightning for falling for such a trick, and Mater says that Lightning looks like he's seen "the Ghostlight". Sheriff tells Mater not to mock the Ghostlight, a character of urban legend amongst the cars. The Ghostlight is a glowing orb of blue, translucent light that haunts Radiator Springs, and hates nothing more than the sound of clanking metal -- a sound frequently made by Mater's rickety shell. Sheriff continues to tell the story of a young couple lost in the area, whose only remains were "two out-of-state license plates". He then concludes with an overly cheerful "Well, g'night!". The population of Radiator Springs then leaves within seconds, leaving a very nervous Mater all by himself in the dark. As he reaches his garage, he is first frightened by a "lightning bug" (a tiny flying Volkswagen Beetle with bright headlights). As he relaxes, a bright blue glow suddenly appears behind Mater and he goes into a blind panic, driving around in a frenzy, first going along the main road, then going through the tractor field (past Frank), then around Willy's Butte, and doing a lock-strafe move after that, until he is exhausted. However, the Ghostlight was revealed to be a glowing blue lantern to Mater's towing cable hung up by Lightning and Guido. The short ends with Mater finally collapsing on the road with the rest of the folks surrounding him, revealing the joke to him as retribution for the pranks he did to them. The credits roll and after them, there is a closing shot where the frightened Mater finds he has a huge construction vehicle behind him, snarling and carrying the license plate "Banshee." However, Mater doesn't realize who it is and warns it of the Screamin' Banshee before driving off, bidding the Banshee good night.
In the sequel, Mater returns, but as the main protagonist. In the now popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Cheerful, honest and loyal to a fault, Mater rushes to his best friend’s defense, which ultimately lands the off-duty Lightning in an international racing exhibition: the World Grand Prix. When Lightning invites Mater to come along as a member of his pit crew, Mater leaves Carburetor County for the first time ever.
Not long after their arrival in Tokyo, Mater learns that the world outside of Radiator Springs is decidedly different and its newfangled ways may take some getting used to. But when he’s mistaken for an American secret agent, he falls into an intriguing adventure of his own. Caught between supporting his best friend on a globe-trotting racing competition and his new role in international espionage, Mater ends up in an explosive chase through the streets of Tokyo and Europe alongside a team of British spies and international bad guys. Just before the end of the film The Queen knights Mater for his bravery.
Mater is the main protagonist in his own TV series. Each tale begins with Mater telling a story of something he has done in the past. In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament.
When Lightning questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred, Mater responds, "Don't you remember? You was there, too!", and continues the story including Lightning's sudden participation. The cartoons end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might be real. In the short series, Mater is the main protagonist and tells about his past jobs. His jobs included:
- Daredevil (Mater the Greater)
- Fire Truck (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Doctor (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Racer in Tokyo (Tokyo Mater)
- UFO (Unidentified Flying Mater)
- Bulldozer Fighter (El Materdor)
- Private Eye (Mater Private Eye)
- Auto-naut (Moon Mater)
- Monster Truck Wrestler (Monster Truck Mater)
- Rock Star (Heavy Metal Mater)
- Plane/Falcon Hawk (Air Mater)
- Time Traveler (Time Travel Mater)
- Zero to 60: 10 seconds
- Engine: V-8 with two-barrel carburetor
- Horsepower: 200
- Top speed: 90 mph
Weaponry And Gadgets
In Cars 2, since Mater plays a role in a spy affair, he is added several gadgets, however not as spectacular as those of Finn McMissile or Holley Shiftwell. Since Mater is not familiar with his gadgets, they are activated by voice commands.
- Deployable machine guns: One on each side. Deployed when Mater uses his catchphrase "Dad-gum."
- Twin rockets: Give Mater a powerful boost, and can serve to direct himself when gliding.
- Deployable paraglider: Of an orange color, it permits Mater to glide in the air. When used with his rockets, this gadget permits Mater to direct himself more precisely.
- Deployable holographic disguise emitter: Disguised as the flashing light on the roof. The device instantaneously makes a disguise all around Mater, and may even simulate supplementary volume or hide some.
At the end of Cars 2, it appears Mater was removed of all his gadgets. However, he obtained the favor to keep his twin rockets.
Mater appears in Disney's Hollywood Studios along with McQueen, both as "drive-around" characters and in a sequence added to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show to tie-in with Cars 2. Mater also appears in some Disney on Ice shows. Mater hosts Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and appears in Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. A figure of Mater also appears at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris at the Cars Race Rally attraction watching over the action.
- Mater's license plate is A113, a recurring joke in Pixar films.
- Mater, along with other countless versions of him, have been released in the Cars, Cars Toons and Cars 2 Die-Cast Lines.
- Mater and Ivan are the only characters in Cars 2 that are tow trucks.
- During the credit roll of Cars 2, Mater's passport scrolls past. His birth date is listed on it. It turns out to be the same as John Lasseter’s: January 12, 1957.
- During the last section of the World Grand Prix, Mater is described as the world's greatest backwards driver.
- For more pictures and screenshots of Mater, click here.