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Professor Z

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Professor Z
Background information
Feature films Cars 2
Short films
Television programs
Video games Cars 2: The Video Game
Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure
Park attractions
Portrayed by
Portrayed by
Voice Thomas Kretschmann
Performance model 1957 Zündapp Janus
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name Professor Zündapp
Other names
Personality Ruthless, selfish, greedy, insane, smart, intelligent, devious, sadistic, evil
Appearance Light and dark green car with a large monocle over his windshield and gray eyes
Occupation Weapons designer, scientist, Lemon, Miles Axlerod's lieutenant
Alignment Bad
Goal To destroy the World Grand Prix, and kill Lightning McQueen (failed)
Home Baden-Baden, Germany
Allies His boss Miles Axlerod, Grem, Acer, J. Curby Gremlin, Tubbs Pacer, Vladimir Trunkov, Victor Hugo, Tyler Gremlin, Don Crumlin, Fred Pacer, Petrov Trunkov, Alexander Hugo, Tolga Trunkov, Ivan, Tony Trihull
Minions Grem, Acer, Tony Trihull, other Lemon Thugs
Enemies Finn McMissile, Holley Shiftwell, Mater, Lightning McQueen, Rod "Torque" Redline, Leland Turbo, Sheriff, Luigi, Guido, Fillmore, Sarge, Sally Carrera, Ramone, Flo, Red, Siddeley, Francesco Bernoulli, Max Schnell, Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Gearsley, Shu Todoroki, Carla Veloso, Raoul ÇaRoule, Miguel Camino, Rip Clutchgoneski, Jeff Gorvette
Likes Science, plotting
Dislikes Having his evil plans ruined, failure
Powers and abilities
Weapons His camera weapon (to sabotage the World Grand Prix only, except to kill Rod "Torque" Redline)
Fate Gets tied up by Finn McMissile, tasered by Holley Shiftwell, and arrested by the police in London
Quote "Wunderbar! With Finn McMissile gone, who can stop us now?"
"Guten Tag."
"A toast! To the death of allinol and alternative fuel forever!"
"Lightning McQueen must be killed!"
Allinol must be finished for good. McQueen cannot win the last race. Lightning McQueen must be killed!
―Zündapp ordering the death of Lightning McQueen

Professor Z, short for Zündapp, is the secondary antagonist of Cars 2. He was promoted to be the main antagonist, but it turns out he is one of Miles Axlerod's henchmen.


Official Description

Professor Z, aka "The Professor," is an internationally-wanted weapons designer in a small, sophisticated German package. He is a brilliant but mad monocle-wearing scientist who is plotting to sabotage the World Grand Prix. Though his true motive is unclear, Professor Z is willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate all obstacles and keep the "project" on schedule.[1]


Professor Z is an evil, greedy, ruthless, devious, intelligent and mad German scientist. Professor Z is a genius while his henchmen are dimwits.

Powers and Abilities

Professor Z is able from 0 to 50 mph in twelve seconds, with a horsepower of 14. 50 mph is his top speed, except for when he can go at 55 mph downhill. His engine type is a 2-stroke single cylinder 250 cc.[2]


Cars 2

During the film, it is learned that the Professor is not the main villain, nor is he the leader of the lemon cars. As it turns out, he is actually working for WGP creator Sir Miles Axlerod. Since Professor Z is a scientist, Miles Axlerod has him invent an electromagnetic pulse device, which is disguised as a World Grand Prix camera, to use on the racers that use the gas Allinol. This was all part of a plan to turn the world against alternative energy and have all cars rely on gasoline, bringing profits to the lemon cars and himself due to the fact that they own the largest untapped oil reserves in the world.

It turns out that Professor Zündapp and Axlerod engineered Allinol not as alternative energy, but actually made it from gasoline that would ignite upon being in contact with the electromagnetic pulse.

Following the sabotage of the Italy race, it would seem that Allinol was finished, until Lightning McQueen announced that he would use Allinol for the final race in London. Professor Z then received instructions from Axlerod to kill McQueen during the race. However, they then discovered that Mater had infiltrated the meeting disguised as Ivan, who escaped to warn McQueen but the lemons managed to capture him, alone with Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell.

The lemons then moved to London to enact the final stage of their plan. However, they were unaware that Sarge had secretly switched McQueen's Allinol with Fillmore's organic fuel, making him immune to the EMP. Thus, Zündapp ordered Acer and Grem to switch to the backup plan: they'd trick Mater into thinking that they planted a bomb in McQueen's pit for what he returns there, when in truth the bomb was hidden in Mater's air filter, at which the tow truck would escape due to being held by thin frayed ropes and attempt to warn McQueen, before Zündapp remotely detonates the bomb. However, Finn and Holley managed to escape also and discover the plot and managed to get a warning to Mater. Mater then attempted to get some distance from McQueen as the racecar chased him. But just as he managed to snag Mater's hook, the tow truck activated his rockets, causing the tow to race out of range of the detonator, to Zündapp's fury. Then spotting Holley hovering outside his window, guns drawn, Zündapp panicked and fled. He attempted to get to Tony Trihull but Finn caught up to him and snagged him by the bumper with his grappling hook. However, Tony drew the two towards him with a giant magnet, causing Zündapp to lose his monocle and Finn most of his weapons, as the warship targeted the spycar with missiles. However, Finn released multiple mini-bombs, which killed Tony and allowing him to capture Zündapp.

Brought before McQueen, Mater and Holley, the Professor demanded to know why his 'death ray' didn't kill the race car. Finn then ordered him to turn off the bomb. Zündapp confessed that the bomb is voice activated. But as Mater finds out, only the car who armed it could deactivate, starting a five-minute timer. Holley threatened Zündapp, who confessed that he didn't arm the device, shaving off another minute and casually asked if anyone else would like to try, before being tazed by Holley. He ultimately is arrested in London with Axlerod and the remaining lemons for their crimes.

Video games

Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure

In Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, Professor Z appears on pictures that the player has to hit to get extra points when a new goal is unlocked in the first Cars level.

In the second level, he is heard talking as he tries to stop the player and Holley Shiftwell from deactivating the bomb on Francesco Bernoulli. He makes a physical appearance in the third level. He is in the helicopter with a convoy of trucks full of bombs. Throughout the level, he tries to stop Finn McMissile and the player from finding out where the bombs are being taken. In the ending cutscene, he shoots a missile at the player while in midair, but the player dodges the missile and pushes Professor Z out of the helicopter before the missile hits the helicopter. Finn asks Professor Z if everyone is all right in there, only that he replies saying no thanks due to Finn, who then says, "No thanks required, mate. All in a day's work." When the level is completed with the player seeing their score and what they unlocked, Professor Z is seen with a parking boot, as to prevent him getting away.



  • He is modeled as a 1957 Zündapp Janus (as his name suggests), a micro-car in which back passengers sit facing backwards.
  • His license plate is BAD GA 58, which appears to be a pun on "bad guy". The 58 is one of the years the Zündapp Janus was made (1957-1958).
  • In a deleted scene, Miles Axlerod gave him the C4 Bomb to put on Mater.
  • When he opened the door to the lemons' meeting, he said "Guten Tag." Guten Tag is German for "Good day."
  • Also, another German word he said is "Wunderbar" when he is informed by Grem that Finn McMissile is "dead". Wunderbar is a German word for "marvelous", "terrific" or "wonderful".
  • Professor Z appears to have a severely damaged roof rack, which gives him the appearance of a comb over.
  • Along with Grem, Acer, Miles Axlerod and Victor Hugo, Professor Z is playable in Cars 2: The Video Game, even though they are villains. However, it could be that, along with the tracks, they are part of the simulation. He can be seen in voice on Attack mode.
  • Professor Z for some reason is always referred by his real name only by Finn McMissile. However, McMissile refers to him as "Professor Z" in the cutscene of the start of Cars 2: The Video Game. And although McMissile and his voice actor Michael Caine are British, McMissile pronounces the "Z" in Zündapp's name in the American way ("Z" in American is pronounced "zee" while in Britain is pronounced "zaid"). However, it could be that the "Z" in his name is always pronounced "zee" even in Britain (when referring to Professor Z) in that cutscene. However, it could be that all people pronounce the "Z" in his name the American way. Also, although Professor Z pronounces "missile" in the British way (miss-i-all), he pronounces "can't" in the American way.
  • Professor Z is thought to be the main antagonist early on, but when Miles Axlerod's evil plot is exposed, it turns out Z is actually the secondary antagonist since Axlerod had bigger plans, and he is Z and the Lemons' boss. However, Z is the one who drives the plot and is probably more dangerous than Axlerod.


  1. Cars 2 Production Notes - CAST OF KEY "CARACTERS" AND COMPETITORS - Who's who in "Cars 2" - MORE GLOBAL CAR-ACTERS
  2. 'Cars 2' Character Stats, New Tokyo Party Clip and New Still as Sophia Loren Joins International Cast
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