- Mater: "My name's Mater."
Lightning McQueen: "Mater?"
Mater: "Yeah, like "tuh-mater," but without the "tuh"."
- —Mater introduces himself to Lightning McQueen
Tow Mater, better known by his surname Mater (also known as "Sir Tow Mater"), is a rusty old tow truck and is a major character in the Cars franchise. His catchphrases are: "Dad-gum!", "If I'm lyin', I'm cryin'!", and "Git-R-Done!" - the last of which is shared with his voice actor.
- Mater's a good ol' boy with a big heart and the only tow truck in Radiator Springs. He runs Tow-Mater's Towing and 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.
- 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.
- Keep an eye on Mater, he tends to take things a little too literally.
- 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.
John Lasseter describes Mater to be one of those special characters, as being fun and lovable, an "idiot savant about obscure little knowledge", as well as being a lot like the late Joe Ranft, saying: "You know I thought of Joe all through this. Because you know Joe is Mater. He's all over Cars 2."
Mater speaks with a somewhat high-pitched thick rural Southern accent, has a whistle dry lisp to his voice, and frequently misspells words. He is very optimistic and often at times forgetful. He has got the biggest heart and is sweet to a fault. He also has true unconditional or agape love for others and just needs true friendship from other people. He can be extremely scared or skittish at times because of his sensitive nature.
Although he may seem silly and dim-witted, he has a vast encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles, engines, and towing, and is a fiercely loyal friend to anyone who is willing to give him a chance at true friendship. He unknowingly bestows wisdom upon others at times. He is also beyond funny without realizing it. He also likes to joke about different things, like saying Sally is his fiancée when she is really not. Although he is not the smartest car in Radiator Springs, he makes up for it for his extreme heart and loyalty. He has got the biggest heart more than anyone in town. He is extremely friendly, especially towards Holley Shiftwell, Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera.
Mater's body is in the shape of an old 1950s tow truck. According to Car Finder, his model is a Haulital Hook'em. He also resembles a 1951 International Harvester L-170 "boom" truck with a mix of a mid-1950s Chevrolet's elements. His license plate reads "A113", which is a common Easter egg in other films including Pixar, although it reads "RSQ M8R" in Rescue Squad Mater, and "M8R GR8R" in Mater the Greater.
He has hazel eyes that appear green, with orange inner rims and large crooked buck teeth, and used to have pale baby blue paint and light blueish grey eyes in his young childhood in Radiator Springs, but his paint began to get rusty orangish brown over time, though he still has patches of his original blue birth color still showing through. His doors are a light pastel green showing his initials, along with a sticker of McQueen's racing number and lightning bolt design when he first works with Team McQueen in Tokyo. Additionally, he used to have a hood which somehow got lost before the first film occurred, and is shown to still be blue when he finds it in a valley. His back bumper is also painted in yellow and black V stripes to represent a "caution" symbol.
Powers and Abilities
Mater has a horsepower of 200 when he is on a good day, along with a V-8 engine that has a two-barrel carburetor. His fastest speed is 90 mph, although bolts would fly off him if he goes any faster, and when he does not use his rockets, he goes zero to 60 mph in 10 seconds. He also drives backwards really well, without crashing into other objects.
While helping the spies, Mater gets a load of weapons and gadgets, which are activated by using voice commands. However, they can get activated when the computer mistakes Mater's catchphrases for them, such as when "Dad-gum" gets mistaken for "gatling gun", and "Shoot" gets mistaken for either shooting with the guns or deploying a parachute. He appears to have all of them taken off him at the end of Cars 2, although he is given permission to keep a pair of rockets.
- Deployable machine guns: Mater has two of these gatling guns, with one on each of his sides.
- Twin rockets: They allow Mater to go at a faster speed, along with moving him around when he is gliding.
- Deployable paraglider: Appearing in an orange color, this allows Mater to travel through the air. When he uses his rockets, it helps him to glide to his destinations.
- Deployable holographic disguise emitter: This allows Mater to change into different forms, being located in his flashing beacon light. It can also make or lack supplementary volume.
- Heads-up Display: This allows Mater to identify other bad people, being placed over his eyes. No one can see it from the outside because it is invisible.
- Mater may look rusty, but he's got a heart of gold. He's proud to be Lightning McQueen's best friend. Mater and Holley Shiftwell share a deep unconditional, romantic and spiritual eternal bond for one another.
Back before the Interstate 40 was built, Mater had been doing his job of towing broken-down cars all the way to Radiator Springs so they could get fixed up. However, when the Interstate was built, all of the tourists had forgotten about the town and Route 66, causing not much business for the residents. Several decades later, Mater comes across a red racecar named Lightning McQueen, who has been accused by the residents for accidentally destroying the main road when he was tied to the statue of the town's founder Stanley. Doc Hudson, the town's judge, orders McQueen to leave the town immediately, but after some advice from Sally, he changes his mind, having McQueen fix the road with a road paving machine called Bessie.
During the process, Sheriff asks Mater to take over the job of watching McQueen one night, so that he gets the road done without trying to escape. This gives Mater the idea of taking McQueen out to go tractor tipping, which is a parody of the cow tipping legend, and where they have to sneak up on the sleeping tractors and honk their horn or rev their engine near them so that they can get spooked and tip over on their back, but also must avoid being seen or caught by Frank, who is the guard of the tractors and has the role of a raging bull. Afterwards, while Mater is playfully taunting about McQueen loving Sally, he gets told to stop driving backwards otherwise he would wreck. At this point, Mater shows McQueen that he has the ability to drive backwards real well by looking into his wing mirrors to see where he has been.
A couple of days later, Mater and the other residents find that the road has been completed, and believe that McQueen has left. However, it soon turns out that McQueen has not gone, wanting to help out the residents by getting souvenirs. The residents all take a cruise around the town that evening, where Mater tries to copy Ramone's action of creating sparks by pressing his bodywork against the tarmac, as well as bringing McQueen to Sally so that they make up some love. However, the press comes to the town to pick McQueen up and take him to a Piston Cup race at the Los Angeles International Speedway that he was supposed to come to, leaving Mater saddened by the fact that he did not get a chance to bid farewell to his new friend, especially when it turns out that the press had been called by Doc, because he was not impressed with McQueen staying in the town.
At the time of the race, Mater and many of the town's residents come to the circuit to be part of McQueen's team, with Doc acting as the crew chief. To everyone's delight, McQueen gets into first place on the final lap, but then, they all notice a tragic moment, where Chick Hicks purposely causes the King to crash onto the infield after getting angered with being stuck behind him. At the sight of this, McQueen puts on his brakes before he could cross the finish line, leaving everyone, including Mater, confused about what he is doing, until they see that he is deciding to help bring the King across the line to finish his final race, to which everyone cheers for McQueen. Soon afterwards, Mater gets his long-term wish of riding in a helicopter, when McQueen asks Tex to have him ride in Rotor Turbosky, at the same time where McQueen sets up his racing headquarters in Radiator Springs so to attract tourists once again, along with becoming Mater's new best friend.
Some time later, Mater finds his hood and puts it back on, but then he sneezes and it falls back down.
Mater is the protagonist of his very own short film.
One night, Mater plays a series of scary yet harmless 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 from 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 sternly tells Mater not to mock the Ghostlight, a supernatural being of urban legend amongst the cars of Route 66. The Ghostlight is a big 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/metal skin. Sheriff continues to tell the story of a young couple lost in some area down Route 66, whose only remains were "two out-of-state license plates". He then concludes with an overly cheerful "Well, good 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 and pleads for mercy until he realizes it is 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 completely exhausted. However, the Ghostlight was revealed to be a glowing blue lantern on Mater's towing cable hung up by Lightning and Guido to scare Mater to get back at him for the pranks he had pulled on them.
The short film 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 monster truck-like vehicle behind him, snarling and carrying the license plate "Banshee." However, Mater does not realize who it is and warns it of the Screamin' Banshee before driving off, bidding the Banshee a good night. The Banshee is then left perplexed.
Mater is the protagonist in his very own TV short series.
Each tale begins with something or someone passing by Mater and Lightning, and Mater then remembers that "that" something or someone was there in his past, and then he goes on randomly telling Lightning something he has possibly done in the past (such as him once being a firefighter, a drift racer, a rock star, an astronaut, etc.). Lightning usually responds with a sarcastic "What?" or "Huh?" or "You have not," and Mater begins to tell him the story.
In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament. When Lightning questions Mater over whether the events in the story have actually occurred, Mater responds, "Don't you remember? You was there, too!", and continues the story including Lightning's sudden participation (with many of the incidents making McQueen get hurt or injured in some weird way).
The shorts almost always end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by other characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might be real.
In the series' shorts, Mater tells about his past jobs. His jobs included:
- Daredevil (Mater the Greater)
- Fire Truck (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Doctor (Rescue Squad Mater)
- Drifter in Tokyo (Tokyo Mater)
- UFO/Alien (Unidentified Flying Mater)
- Bulldozer/Bull Fighter (El Materdor)
- Private Eye/Detective (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)
In the sequel, Mater returns, but as the main protagonist.
While McQueen has been focusing on winning his fourth Piston Cup trophy, Mater focuses on some plans for the summer so that he can spend time with his best friend. On the day that McQueen comes back, Mater feels more than excited to see him again, and gets up to a couple of his plans, although they do not work out so well. Before Mater could get to do a third plan, McQueen decides to spend some time away from him just that evening, by having a meal with Sally at the Wheel Well. However, feeling deeply saddened, scared, lonely and abandoned that he is always being left out, Mater invites himself to the restaurant to dress up as a waiter, which McQueen is surprised about, but also agreeing that it would be ridiculous if he did that just so he could hang out with them.
While trying to find out what McQueen's usual drink is, Mater sees an announcement on the Mel Dorado Show mentioning Miles Axlerod promoting his new fuel, Allinol, in a racing competition like no other, called the World Grand Prix, so to declare who is the world's fastest racer as well as to try and get everyone to use alternative energy. Soon, a World Grand Prix racer named Francesco Bernoulli joins Mel's interview with Axlerod, when they begin talking if McQueen should be in the competition as well. While Axlerod notes that McQueen has been deciding to take some rest after racing in the Piston Cup, Francesco starts to make insults about McQueen, saying that he would not be able to beat someone who is faster than him. Feeling angered, Mater phones the show by telling them that Francesco should not say awful stuff about McQueen because to Mater, McQueen is the greatest racecar in the whole wide world. However, each time Mater tries to convince him, Francesco insults Mater more without Mater realizing he is being insulted, eventually trying to get Mel to move on to another caller because he wants someone who is more intellectual stimulated, like a dump truck, just insulting Mater again, in which Francesco calls Mater dumber than a dump truck. Soon, McQueen takes over for the conversation, saying that he does not like his best friend being insulted like that and agreeing to take part in the World Grand Prix, as well as to take Mater along after Sally advises him.
However, as soon as they arrive in Tokyo, Mater is still acting in the same behavior as he was in Radiator Springs, leaving McQueen concerned. At one point, during the World Grand Prix's opening ceremony, Mater comes across a sushi bar giving out Japanese food and mistakes some green wasabi for pistachio ice cream. Not understanding the chef's correction, he begs to have a large scoop of wasabi, which burns his mouth and causes him to drive up the waterfall on stage where Axlerod is introducing McQueen to the crowd. He then notices an oil leak between him and Axlerod, and everyone assumes Mater did it. Despite his protests that he never leaks oil, McQueen sends him away to the bathroom to clean up.
Entering the men's bathroom stall, Mater gets horribly tortured by a Japanese washing contraption (a heated bidet), unaware of a brawl fight between an American secret agent and two lemon cars, Acer and Grem, outside of the bathroom stalls. By the time he gets out, the American agent secretly slips a device underneath his bumper/undercarriage. The device's GPS results in British agent Holley Shiftwell mistaking Mater for a spy. After answering her countersign correcting, Mater starts babbling on before mistakenly assuming that Holley wants to ask him out on a date, and agrees to meet the next day. He then returns to his friends to tell them of this development, but Guido does not believe him. He then tries calling out to Holley, but she ignores him and drives away, not wanting to blow her own cover.
The next day, Mater advises McQueen during the race, enabling him to get ahead of Francesco. Unknown to Mater, the lemons assume he is a spy too, and are covertly closing in on him. Holley hacks into his headset, giving him directions to avoid the lemons trying to hurt him. Mater follows blindly, assuming he is being guided to his date. He later mishears Holley, turning towards a ruckus instead of away from it. He soon witnesses Finn McMissile fighting off the lemons, which he assumes to be a live karate demonstration. Finn then vanishes, while Holley tells Mater that it is too dangerous to rendezvous, and promises to be in touch. As Mater leaves to go back to the pits, he asks Holley over his headset, did he miss our date.
Mater then returns to the pit, only to learn that while he was talking to Holley, McQueen was hearing him too, assuming he was shouting nonsense. He blames Mater "accidentally" messing up the racecar's moves and causing him to lose the first race. Mater is deeply hurt by his best friend's rejection and writes a sad farewell note to his friends in upper case poor handwriting before deciding to go home. At the Tokyo airport, Finn disguises himself as an airport security guard and lures Mater to a lounge, where he inquires which American intelligence agency he is affiliated with. Mater claims to be "triple-A affiliated", and starts babbling that he knows some karate. Finn then detects Acer and Grem closing in on them, and drags Mater outside. Mater assumes he is getting first class service and is completely oblivious to the danger that's happening around him.
Once aboard the spy jet Siddeley, Mater figures out that Finn and Holley are spies or secret agents as they extract data from the device embedded on him, which had information on the lemon boss, showing a picture of an obscure British engine. He identifies it as "the worst engine ever made", but has no clues as to who the identity of the car it belongs to. However, he does point out that the mystery car makes use of replacement parts that are factory original and would not be found on open markets. Grateful for Mater's insight, Finn offers to set up an informal task force. Though reluctant, Mater agrees to help out the spies when Finn assures him that he would be helping him. Mater then tries pointing out that he is "just a tow truck", but Finn does not take him seriously.
Mater joins Finn and Holley as they meet with Finn's black market contact, Tomber. Tomber informs them that the car to whom the engine belongs to only does business over the phone, buying numerous parts to maintain his engine, making Mater reveal that the mystery car is a lemon. Upon being asked about the term, he explains the nature of lemons to Finn and Holley and identifies Gremlins, Pacers, Hugos and Trunkovs as lemons, which makes Holly realize that everyone in the plot is a lemon car. Finn takes it from there and deduces that the lemon families are taking orders from the car behind this engine. Tomber reveals that the lemons are hosting a secret meeting in Porto Corsa, Italy, which is also where the second race will take place, and the lemon boss will most likely be there as well.
While being transported by Stephenson to Italy, Finn and Holley install a holographic cloaking device onto Mater's beacon light and have him disguise himself with voice command as a lemon tow truck named Ivan. Mater then objects to buffing his dents to ensure a foolproof disguise, declaring their worth of his moments with McQueen. The spies realize he is talking seriously about being friends with McQueen, and Finn tells him that friendships are dangerous in spy work. Mater again tries to tell them the truth about who he really is again, but they assume he is joking.
Upon arriving Porto Corsa, Mater begins to have second thoughts about the missions, but Finn tells him to keep up his "act" of playing "the idiot tow truck." These words deeply affect and hurt Mater, but he has no time to reflect, as Holley had lured away and tased Ivan, prompting him to take the blue tow truck's place. As he is towing Victor Hugo through the casino, he nearly blows his cover by directly talking to Holley over the radio and reading his HUD on Alexander Hugo's wanted status and nicknames. Upon arriving at the lemon meeting, Mater takes to the sidelines as the lemon boss calls the meetings via video on four flat screen TVs. Mater soon discovers the lemon plot, revealing that the lemons are sabotaging the race by igniting the Allinol in the racecars' tanks. As Finn and Holley are captured, Mater watches Axlerod on TV declaring a suspension of Allinol for the final race in London. However, McQueen announces that he will use Allinol for the race, and admits how guilty he feels over his fight with Mater. The lemon boss then calls the meeting, ordering Professor Z to kill McQueen and fully discredit Allinol for good. Mater then accidentally breaks his hologram disguise. allowing the Lemons to identify him, but the tow truck escapes after accidentally tearing up the place with his gatling guns, and activates his parachute and flies off to warn McQueen about the lemons' evil plot, only to be captured and sent to London (the final race's setting) where he, Finn and Holley are all tied to the giant gears of Big Bentley to be crushed to death. Mater again tells Finn and Holley that he is not a spy and really is just a tow truck, and finally this time, they believe him.
Mater then learns from Grem and Acer, two of the lemons inside the clock tower, that they have installed a bomb in Lightning McQueen's pit that will kill McQueen upon his arrival (due to their EMP cannon being disabled as a result of Sarge switching the Allinol with Fillmore's organic fuel). As soon as the lemons leave, Mater activates his gatling guns to cut through the ropes binding him, and races to the track to warn McQueen about the bomb. But when he gets there, Finn calls him on the radio, revealing that the lemons had tricked him and that the bomb in question is instead inside Mater's air filter. As McQueen returns to the pit and spots Mater, Mater desperately drives backwards to avoid harming his Radiator Springs friends who came for him, and to avoid killing McQueen, but McQueen chases after him anyways. Mater's attempts to warn McQueen about the bomb go misunderstood. As McQueen grabs his hook, Mater accidentally activates his rockets, sending them blasting out of range of Professor Z's detonator. When they come to a stop, Holley reveals the bomb to McQueen as Finn arrives with a captive Zündapp. The Professor admits that the bomb is voice-activated, but neglects to mention that it could only be disarmed by the one who activated it under Mater's attempts to deactivate it himself, starting a five-minute timer. Holley threatens Zündapp, only to learn that he was not the one who armed the bomb, shaving off another minute. After Holley tases Zündapp, the foursome is surrounded by the lemons, intending to watch the bomb go off. Mater soon attempts to reason with them, stating that he understands what it is like to be the laughingstock, an outcast, ridiculed and abused, but becoming rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams is not going to make them feel better. When that failed, the Radiator Springs townsfolk come to their rescue. In the subsequent fight, Mater defends McQueen against the lemons with karate chopping some six or seven of the lemons including Ivan.
Guido then attempts to remove the bomb off Mater, but none of his wrenches fit the bolts that hold it in place. With only two and a half minutes left, Mater has an epiphany, but he hesitates to act on it, as he acknowledges to McQueen that people do not take him seriously and that they are not in Radiator Springs. However, with some encouragement from his best friend, Mater proceeds to drag his friend all the way to Buckingham Palace, where he tells everyone that he knows who is sabotaging the race. But when he takes a moment to respectfully bow to the Queen, everyone spots the bomb and go into a panic. Finn intervenes before the royal guard could open fire, informing them that he cannot disarm the bomb, and orders Mater to stand down now. After remarking that London is nothing at all like home, he is soon reminded by McQueen to get back on topic. He then accuses Axlerod of being the head lemon behind all this. His reasoning is that the bolts on the bomb are the same ones from the lemon engine on Holley's photo; he also realized that Axlerod did not convert from a combustion engine to an electric one, hence how he leaked oil back in Japan, blaming it on Mater, and he would probably still have it under his hood. Though Finn and Holley are a bit skeptical, Mater states that Axlerod wants Allinol discredited to turn the world against alternative fuels and go back to using oil, so he could profit off/become rich with the huge untapped oil field Finn found. With his bomb only down to the last ten seconds, Axlerod, realizing that his villainy has been exposed and fearing for his life, is immediately forced to deactivate the bomb, and is then arrested on the spot. Just right as the police is about to take Axlerod away, Mater opens the lemon's hood, revealing the exact same engine as seen in Holley's photos. As Axlerod is left perplexed as to how a tow truck figured him out, McQueen tells Mater that he is coming to all his races from now on.
Subsequently, the Queen of England knights Mater for his bravery and catching and outsmarting the evil lemon boss. Afterwards, Mater and his friends return to Radiator Springs, where he tells everyone a tall tale-like story of his big adventure. Though Van does not believe a word of it, Finn and Holley show up to prove it. Mater then introduces Finn to everyone. He tries to introduce his friends to Holley, but Holley cuts him off, announcing herself as Mater's girlfriend (to Guido's shock). Mater is then pleased to see that Holley receives a dent from their London adventure and decides to emulate him by keeping it.
While watching the unofficial Radiator Springs Grand Prix, Finn and Holley reveal that they want to recruit Mater for another mission, but he declines, preferring to stay home. The spy cars respect his decision. Finn says that Mater is the smartest most honest chap that they ever met, and which Holley also adds, do not forget massively charming. Holley promises to come back and take him out for their first date, and Finn offers to give Mater any favor he asks. Mater cashes in on that favor, as he receives his rocket boosters back and joins the race.
During the credits, Mater joins McQueen on a world tour before eventually coming home.
In Hiccups, Mater tries to get rid of McQueen's hiccups by putting his tow hook through a gap in Red's ladder and hang McQueen upside down. Sally, however, gets him to stop and solves the problem by kissing McQueen. However, Sheriff gets the hiccups, and Mater attempts to get rid of them by kissing Sheriff, who tries to keep away.
Mater makes a silent cameo in Spinning, where he joins the crowd to watch Guido spinning his sign.
In The Radiator Springs 500½, Mater dresses up as a Hawaiian person for the "Stanley Days" celebration, getting ready to join a leisurely tour. However, before it can start, Sandy Dunes and his pals arrive to take part in a race against McQueen. As they line up at the start line, Mater gives them directions, telling them to go left when they head towards a herd of tractors in front of a fork in the path, over the rolling hills, past the Cool Pool of Tranquility, through the Tail Lights Caverns and Enchanted Forest, and back to Radiator Springs. As McQueen and the Baja racers zoom off, Mater dresses up as Stanley and leads the townsfolk on the leisurely tour. Mater and the townsfolk soon arrive back in Radiator Springs that evening but find no sign of the racers, unaware that they had actually took a wrong turn at the tractors when Mater told them that turning left is right, which he literally meant "right" as in that it is correct. Eventually, the racers arrive, and Mater asks them if they enjoyed their leisurely drive, to which Sandy remarks that he never thought Stanley would do anything like when they went through all of the different locations compared to the ones on the actual route.
Mater makes his first appearance in Cars: The Video Game as the announcer of the Radiator Springs Grand Prix, which later turns out to be a dream by McQueen. In the Tractor Tipping minigame, McQueen asks Mater to go tractor tipping, which he agrees, surprised that McQueen would want to go tractor tipping because he thought that McQueen was frightened of Frank. He is then controlled by the player in the minigame.
He later teaches McQueen how to drive backwards, by setting out a course, where McQueen has to turn around and drive backwards at the same time as him on certain straights. After the lesson, Mater congratulates McQueen, and calls him "Mr. Gintil", which he was trying to spell his name backwards, only to be corrected by McQueen that it is "Litnig" forwards.
In Ornament Valley, Mater prepares for a race at the Rustbucket Stadium, by banging into a wall on purpose. McQueen comes along, telling him that most cars do not bang into walls on purpose, making Mater explain about the Rustbucket Race-O-Rama. One of his cousins, Tommy Joe, then appears, banging into McQueen, angering him before Mater explains that it is just Tommy's way of greeting. He asks McQueen to help out in the race, only to be saddened when McQueen decides to sit it out. After winning the race, Mater receives a boost tank, which he gives to McQueen.
In the final chapter of the game, he is one of the announcers of the races in Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley, and Tailfin Pass, alongside Darrell Cartrip. After McQueen wins the Piston Cup, Mater joins him and Sally on a drive along the road outside of Radiator Springs.
Mater appears in several of the activities in Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures. In Fill `Er Up, he is one of the customers who come to Flo's V8 Cafe. Tow the Line has him towing his cousins around his yard without bumping into the line and fences. He suggests to McQueen to go tractor tipping in Tractor Roundup, which both of them are controlled in different levels as the player has to make them tip tractors. In Chopper-Hopper, he takes a ride in Rotor Turbosky, the Dinoco helicopter. He is also one of the characters who can be raced against in Legends Race mode.
In Cars: Mater-National Championship, Mater invites racers from all around the world to take part in the Mater-National Championship, with McQueen's racing headquarters being built. At the Rustbucket Stadium, he begins to fall for a British rally car named Emma, who his cousins were staring at for the last hour. Mater soon takes part in a race against Emma and several of the other Rustbucket racers, and later takes her to see the best gas station that he knows in town.
When McQueen is fitted with monster truck tires by Luigi, Mater becomes surprised upon seeing his appearance, and is saddened on that he is wanting to be a monster truck as well. Luckily for him, McQueen searches for more parts around Radiator Springs, and Mater begins doing a rampage in his home. He makes a jump and then smashes his house, which he is actually happy about, telling McQueen that he would not be able to fit in it anymore. McQueen states that it would be no problem if he took his monster truck tires off, but Mater refuses to take them off. However, he somehow does as shown later in the game.
Some time later, Mater takes McQueen out tractor tipping, only for the tractors to soon escape. Just as Mater attempts to tip of the tractors that are wandering around Radiator Springs, he gets spotted by Sheriff, who orders him not to go to the field again, and also plays a trick on Mater by putting a lamp on his tow hook to make him think the ghost light is chasing him. A day later, Mater comes across a Japanese drifter named Koji, and responds to his greeting by saying the Japanese word "Konichiwa!", although he is unable to translate Koji asking if he can race McQueen, believing that he is wanting to race him while blindfolded, driving backwards and wearing flat tires. After McQueen and Koji's race, Mater amazes them by drifting along a bend, tripping over the end of a bridge, and spinning in the air before coming back down. The headquarters is soon finished, and all of the racers admit that they would like to invite Mater, McQueen, and their friends over to Europe, saying that it is just on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, to which Mater points out that he cannot swim. To mark the end of the Mater-National Championship, everyone gets their photo taken in front of the headquarters.
While McQueen has a battle with Chick throughout the Race-O-Rama series, where Chick threatens to take over Radiator Springs, Mater competes in the Rustbucket Derby, coming across Bubba, who is known to him for badly abusing him in the past. Bubba has come to challenge him in the Rustbucket Derby, with Tater and Tater Jr. by his sides. However, Tater and Tater Jr. soon begin a friendship with Mater, starting with when they realize that their names rhyme. Eventually, Mater wins the Rustbucket series, being congratulated by Tater and Tater Jr., while Bubba threatens to get his revenge on Mater soon.
Also in the game, there are minigames based on Mater the Greater, El Materdor and Tokyo Mater, where the player's aim is to get Mater on the target at the other side of Carburetor Canyon, dodge the bulldozers in time, and beat Kabuto to the top of Tokyo Tower. He can also be played as in his monster truck form in the Monster Truck Mayhem races.
Before The World of Cars Online was closed down, players could meet Mater while exploring Radiator Springs, and get missions from him near his Junkyard.
After the events of the second film, Mater and his friends join C.H.R.O.M.E. to be trained for spy missions, being assisted by Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell. Mater's first simulation goes well when he helps get Finn free from being captured by the lemons and chase Professor Z.
Mater is available at the start of the game, with variant versions of him unlocked as the player progresses. Materhosen is unlocked in-game by collecting the "Agent - Fourth Class" crest, which is collected when the player collects ten crests or badges. The others are available as downloadable content for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, costing $0.99 each. They are Tokyo Mater, Mater the Greater, Mater Ivan and Mater Kabuki. He is in the "Heavy" class, having a lot more power than speed.
Mater makes his appearance in the Cars levels of Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure. In the first part of the story, Mater tells the player that they have been selected to become part of McQueen's team, but first try out a course that he had designed for the best drivers. The player's aim is to drive through the course while following Mater. After the challenge is completed, Mater finds that the player has done so well to race in McQueen's team, while Holley adds that the player would also be perfect for doing spy work.
When the player unlocks a goal that allows their character to spin and collect coins that are in a semi-circle, Mater can be heard communicating through the radio when the semi-circles appear.
Mater is one of the playable characters in the first Disney INFINITY game, being compatible in the sequels. He is able to be used in the Cars Play Set for the first game, and the Toy Box in any of the games, which his figure is available separately. In the story, he and the townsfolk plan to get Radiator Springs ready for a racing competition being held, along with trying to figure out what to do on his and Holley's date. After Chick Hicks loses the final race, Holley makes an agreement to have their date at Flo's V8 Cafe.
In the first game, he has an exclusive Toy Box Adventure called Mater's Tow 'n' Go. The objective is to tow tourist cars to areas that have a light matching the color of that car.
At the beginning of the mobile game Cars: Fast as Lightning, Mater takes two races against McQueen on his track. McQueen is able to win both but apologizes to Mater for beating him in the first race, to which Mater replies that he is not upset about it.
Throughout the game, Mater is one of the characters who give out missions to the player. He is unlocked as a playable character after the player beats him while playing as Fillmore in the tournament races. Unlocking him will also unlock his race track and the Mater Statue. Occasionally, he sleeps in Tow Mater Towing & Salvage. He also has four paint jobs: Mater the Greater, Tokyo, Winter, and Santa Hat. These are unlocked by winning practice races on Mater's race track or purchasing them with gems.
Mater will appear in Cars 3: Driven to Win as a playable character, but he will temporarily have a different voice until his voice actor gets involved with the new video game.
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, Disneyland Paris at the Cars Race Rally attraction watching over the action.
- Mater and Ivan are the only characters in Cars 2 that are tow trucks.
- None of the characters, not even Mater himself, use Mater's first name.
- During the credits' 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.
- It is revealed in Time Travel Mater that he always cries at weddings. This is probably due to having a very emotional and sensitive personality.
- In the credits, it is shown that he is knighted on Tuesday, July 15, 2011. However, July 15, 2011, was not on Tuesday in real life, it was on Friday.
- In the subtitles for the audio commentary on Cars 2, John Lasseter describes Mater with "two miniguns" but the subtitles say "two many guns".
- Head of story and co-director Joe Ranft got the inspiration of Mater after seeing an old abandoned rusty tow truck during a research trip to Route 66. The character was named after and partly based on Douglas "Mater" Keever, a racing fan the Pixar team met during their research trips, and also draws inspiration from several other people the team encountered.
- In Spanish and Portuguese, he is called "Mate".
- In French, he is called "Martin".
- In Polish, Mater is called "Złomek" (z-wom-eh-k).
- In German, he is called "Hook".
- In Dutch, he is called "Takel".
- In Italian, he is called "Cricchetto".
- In Swedish, he is called "Bärgarn", which suits him since he is a tow truck.
- In Japanese, he is called "メーター" (me-ta-).
- In Mandarin (Taiwan), he is called "拖線".
- In Mandarin (China), he is called "板牙".
- In Cantonese, he is called "哨牙嘜".
- In Danish, he is called "Bumle".
- In Bulgarian, he is called Матю (Matthew).
- In Hungarian, he is called Matuka.
- In Russian, he is called "Мэтр" (metre).
- According to the Cars 2 DVD commentary, Lasseter wanted Mater to be the only one to know that Miles Axlerod was behind the conspiracy to sabotage the World Grand Prix so everyone could see him go from being to the dumbest guy in the world to the most brilliant guy in the world.
- Mater's horn sounds different in the Disney INFINITY series when it is compared to the sound made in the films. Additionally, in the sequels to the first game, some of his quotes are missing, including the sounds he makes when doing air tricks. To add to that, the third game has a few of the sounds that he makes when side-bashing absent, as well as the subtitles not covering any of his quotes. It is currently unknown if all of this will be fixed in an update patch of the game.
- Mater is an American, but in reality, only people from the United Kingdom can get knighted. However, non-Britishers can receive honorary knighthoods, but that does not mean they can be referred to as "Sir."
- When Mater was an 8 year old child (in the Our Town Cars flashback), all his body was painted baby blue, today however, his doors are more like a light green pastel color instead of baby blue like the rest of his paint in his youth.
- It is highly speculated by fans and heavily implied by the film franchise that Tow Mater has high functioning autism or is somewhere on the spectrum (because of his vast encyclopedic savant like knowledge, he likes to self stimulate when he feels overwhelmed and he has sensory processing disorder problems. He is also quite obsessive with things that interest him and he's a very visual thinker) He also takes idioms and sarcasm too literally and he's a poor socializer (he's socially inept)
- In Cars 3, Mater has a bunch of flaps that he collects. He has mudd flaps, fishing flaps, church flaps, and wedding flaps.
- Mater is a believer in Jesus because he has church flaps and he goes to church
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Car Finder" (supplementary material on Blu-ray Disc release of Cars). 2007. Blu-ray Disc. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.
- ↑ Cars 2: Mater Poses for New Character Shots + Descriptions + Turnaround!
- ↑ Cars 2: Oscar-Winning Director John Lasseter Reveals Why This Is A Very Personal Project
- ↑ In 'Cars 2,' John Lasseter Says Big Oil is the 'Uber Bad Guy'
- ↑ John Lasseter Talks 'Cars 2' and the Memory of His Friend and Collaborator, Joe Ranft
- ↑ Michael Wallis; Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis (2006). The Art of Cars. Chronicle Books. p. 4
- ↑ Tow Mater from Cars Movie
- ↑ New movie rekindles love affair with cars
- ↑ 'Cars 2' Character Stats, New Tokyo Party Clip and New Still as Sophia Loren Joins International Cast
- ↑ Exclusive First Look at the Upcoming Cars Toon 'To Protect and Serve'
- ↑ Michael Wallis with Suzanne Fitzgerald (2006). The Art of Cars. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. pp. 160. ISBN 978-0811849005.
- ↑ Meet the Mater
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