Cameos, in-jokes, re-used animation and other trivia about Cars.
- During "Life is a Highway," the birds from For the Birds can be briefly seen sitting on a telephone wire.
- Dinoco, The King's sponsor, is also the gas station Buzz Lightyear and Woody get stranded at in Toy Story.
- The snowman from Knick Knack is seen in the snowglobe in Lizzie's Curios Shop.
- A camper van (whose name is Syd VanDerkamper) who is watching the final race, is surrounded by flamingos which is a reference to Knick Knack.
- The Pizza Planet delivery truck, which has shown up in every Pixar film except The Incredibles, appears before the final race, next to the Elvis camper in the left background behind Bob Cutlass. He also appears during the Life is a Highway sequence at a Dinoco station, reproducing how the truck appeared in Toy Story, at a Dinoco gas station. Due to being in the Cars world, the truck was called Todd.
- During the end credits, car-stylised versions of Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc. are seen playing at the Radiator Springs Drive-In Theatre.
- A camper has an image of the Jackalope from Boundin' on his back.
- Two trucks at the Top Down Truckstop have Mr. Incredible's trademark red-dotted lowercase "i" on their trailer.
- Also, some of the trucks' trailers have either "TS" or "FN" written on them, a possible reference to Toy Story and Finding Nemo, respectively.
- In the teaser trailer, many of the cars have the Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life logos on them.
- The tires of Piston Cup racers are Lightyear tires, which alludes both to the tire manufacturer Goodyear and to Buzz Lightyear. They also bear the inscription "Section 4 Gamma Quadrant", the location where Buzz is seen in the video game in Toy Story 2.
- Chick Hicks's number (86) is a reference to the year Pixar was founded. Lightning McQueen's number (95) is a reference to the year Toy Story was released in the theaters. McQueen's original number was (57), the year Pixar's CEO John Lasseter was born.
- During the introductory race, there is a white car with the Apple, Inc. logo. Steve Jobs, who was in charge of Pixar, founded Pixar after George Lucas sold the graphics research production to him.
- Cars is the second Pixar film to have a post-credits sequence. The first is Finding Nemo.
- This was the only Cars film that featured George Carlin as the voice of Fillmore, who died on June 22, 2008, two years after the film's theatrical release. Lloyd Sherr played Fillmore in Cars 2 and Cars 3.
- At the tie-breaking race at the Los Angeles International Speedway, while three fighter jets pass over the stadium, an aerial view of Pixar Animation Studios can be seen among the nearby buildings, although the real campus is located at Emeryville, near San Francisco, not at Los Angeles.
- This is the first Pixar film since Toy Story 2 to be directed by John Lasseter.
- Ornament Valley, near Radiator Springs, is shaped like car hoods. The mountain range surrounding Radiator Springs is called Cadillac Range. The mountains are shaped like quarter panels of 50's Cadillacs, in reference to Cadillac Ranch.
- The neon lights on top of the canopy at Flo's V8 Cafe fire in the same pattern as a 1932 Ford V8 Flathead.
- Pixar only made original films throughout the 2000s. There were 7 films made in total over that decade, and Cars is right in the middle of all those movies in chronological order.
- This is the only Cars film not to have either the opening or closing logo cuts in from black.
- On average, it took 17 hours to render each frame of the film. In addition, it was the first Pixar film to use ray-tracing to accurately create the reflections on the cars.
- Cars was originally going to be called Route 66, which would make a lot of sense because of the location that the movie takes place in. The release title was chosen to avoid confusion with the 1960s TV series of the same name as the working title.
- This is the first Pixar film that used the word "hell", when Lightning and Sally mention Radiator Springs as "Hillbilly Hell", followed by Ratatouille.
- One of the cars in the first race, called Claude Scruggs is sponsored by "Leak Less". A bottle of "Leak Less" fuel is seen in WALL•E.
- Cars is the seventh Disney·Pixar feature film, and the first film by Pixar released when it was bought by Disney.
- This is the first Pixar film to be released in June.
- This is the only Cars film to use the 1995-2007 Walt Disney Pictures logo.
- Cars received a 75% "Certified Fresh" rating on the movie review website, Rotten Tomatoes.
- Many famous people, particularly from the automobile racing world make a cameo appearance in Cars which include Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Bob Costas, Darrell Waltrip and Jay Leno; references to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elvis also appear, although it is not known if the former is voiced by himself.
- This inspired Vídeo Brinquedo to make The Little Cars in the Great Race, a rip-off of this film.
- In the scene where the race announcers are talking about the popularity of the race, it says that the whole town of Emeryville is closed for the race. Emeryville is the location of the Pixar Studios.
- In Lightning's dream about being Lightning Storm, a car gets zapped and emits the Wilhelm scream. The Wilhelm scream is a sound effect used in many movies.
- In the teaser trailer, there is a car sponsored by "Jumbo Pretzels". This is presumably the same company that was seen in A Bug's Life under the name "Jackson's Jumbo Pretzels."
- This is the last Pixar film to have a full-screen format for its US home release.
- One of the original story ideas for the film was about an electric car living in a gas-guzzling world.
- This was Joe Ranft's final film, since he died in a car accident the year before its release, while the film was still in production.
- This is last Pixar film, as well as the only Cars film, to be release on VHS (though rare), and the first to be release on Blu-ray.
- The opening race at Motor Speedway of the South contained 60,000 seated cars and an additional 700 cars in the infield and aisles while, despite Darrell mentioning the attendance being nearly 200,000 cars, 100,000 cars were seated at Los Angeles International Speedway during the final race, plus an additional nearly 1,500 cars in the infield and aisles. Nearly 13,000 cars were entering Los Angeles International Speedway to find seats.
- Lightning McQueen has 14 different paint variants, ranging from subtly different amounts of dirt and dust to the completely new paint jobs near the end of the film.
- This is the only Cars film to air in the 2000s.
- There are a total of 21,566 lights in four different shots when Lightning McQueen and Mack first get on the road to California.
- This is the last Pixar film in which the year of copyright is in Roman numerals.
- Cars was originally going to be released on November 4th, 2005 before being changed to June 9th, 2006 on December 7th, 2004.
- This is the only Cars film to be promoted by McDonald's.
- The line "Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beemer (BMW)", which Lightning says before his race with Doc at Willy's Butte, and which he and Doc reference during the race at Los Angeles, is a parody of "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", which was made famous by the legendary boxer Muhammed Ali.
Top Down Truck Stop
Originally, Pixar had a different idea for getting Lightning McQueen separated from Mack. In this deleted scene, Mack stops at Top Down Truck Stop to get a car wash after getting moths stuck in his grill. Lightning waits for Mack in his trailer, but after a while, he gets impatient and goes to find Mack. He sees a bunch of trucks at the gas station and thinks he might be there. There, he meet two waitresses, Mia and Tia, who were very excited to see him and have heard about his last race. Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze were there too, who were also excited. Meanwhile, Mack finishes his car wash and rushes back to Lightning's trailer, but not knowing Lightning left, he drives away without him. Back at the gas station, the trucks were trying to offer Lightning some headlights, but he decides he must go back to his trailer only to find it gone. He looks at the car wash, but Mack was not there either. He suddenly sees Mack driving down the Interstate, so he rushes after him, nearly crashing into another car after driving through a red light. He drives up the exit ramp, but finds out he is going the "wrong way." Suddenly, the the whole road is blocked by trucks, forcing Lightning to drive off the road. A watermelon truck dropped watermelons on him. Finally, Lightning got back on the road and continues looking for Mack.
Some elements from this scene made it into the final film. For example, Top Down Truck Stop appears and Mack considers stopping there, but to get some sleep, not to get a car wash. He does not stop there, though, after Lightning refuses to let him. Mia, Tia, Rusty and Dusty also appear, but their roles are different. Mia and Tia become waitresses at Flo's V8 Cafe at the end of the film, though. The scene where McQueen drives off the road after it is blocked by three haulers coming towards him is also in the final film.
Lightning finally catches up with Mack only to find out it was a different truck. The truck drives away angrily, leaving Lightning alone at the crossing. He suddenly sees the Interstate on his left, so he races towards it. However, clouds form overhead, making it too dark for Lightning to see, causing him to go off the road. He falls down a hill and crashes into a bunch of branches. While reversing out, he bumps into an old car with branches growing into it, freaking him out. He looks around and sees more old cars everywhere, including one hanging on the tree. He tries to get out of the graveyard, but ends up crashing into a fence, which gets tangled on him and the grill and headlights of one of the old cars. He manages to get back on the road, but the grill and headlights were still tangled in the fence. Lightning eventually gets untangled from the fence and drives away. This movie was cut from the film for unknown reasons, but its been implied that it would make the film too long, or because the writers found the scene itself to be too "nightmarish".
Lightning is asked to do a race in Radiator Springs, but he turns it down, choosing to do standard community service instead. That night, while in the impound, he asks Mater what it is, but Mater claims he does not know and says good night. He wakes up the next morning, feeling kind of funny. He looks into a mirror and finds out that his engine has been put in a steamroller. He tries to escape, knocking down a portion of a fence, but Sheriff chases after him with his siren. He flips a switch on the back of Lightning, deploying a spout on top of Lightning that splats asphalt on the road. Then, a paint sprayer deploys from his rear and sprays the yellow line in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, Doc had put Mater's engine in Lightning's body, who is now racing around. Lightning was worried that Mater will wreck his old body since Mater keeps crashing. Suddenly, Mack shows up, but mistakes Mater for Lightning. Lightning tries to explain the situation, but nobody listens to him and Mack leaves with Mater in his trailer. Lightning tries to get Doc and Sheriff stop them, but they want him to continue fixing the road instead, much to his horror. However, Lightning wakes up again, finding himself in his regular body, revealing that the everything was just a dream. He sees the steamroller body on the side, though. Still freaked out, he decided to change his mind and do the race instead.
Radiator Springs is having a karaoke night and Lightning and Ramone were watching Flo performing. Lightning asks Ramone how he and Flo fell in love. In the story, the Motorama Girls came to Radiator Springs from Detroit, Michigan after their chaperone broke down. While she is being fixed, the girls decide to have some fun with the townsfolk. They drank oil with Sarge and Fillmore, danced the conga and had water sprayed on them by Red. Then, they come to Ramone's and Ramone gives them paint jobs. He eventually gets to the last car, but he drops his air brush in awe. Flo asks, "What's the matter? You're too good to paint me?" Ramone says, "No, baby. You're too good for me to paint. I can't touch a classic." The next day, the Motorama Girls leave while Flo stays with Ramone in Radiator Springs. Lightning asked how Ramone knew she was the one. Ramone replied, "You just know, man. You just know." Meanwhile, Flo finished her song.
This deleted scene later became a storytellers' story titled Showstopper.
The Blu-ray release of the movie features an exclusive deleted scene called "Traffic School."
One morning, Lightning was sleeping in the impound when Sheriff shows up and wakes him up with his siren, telling him it was time for traffic school. On the way, Sheriff asks Lightning if he is interested in Sally to which Lightning denies, saying it would be too soon if he sees her again. Soon, they arrive at the traffic school, which Sally is teaching. She scolds Lightning for being late and Mater, the only other student, lets McQueen park next to him, much to his annoyance. The class continues, but Lightning interrupts, saying he does not need traffic school, so Sally asks him to indicate a left turn. However, Lightning does not have any indicators, so Sally asks Mater to install some on him. Lightning then tries to indicate a left turn, but he is having trouble getting his indicators to work right. Next, they go to practice parallel parking, passing the statue of Stanley on the way. Lightning tries several attempts to parallel park, but he keeps knocking down the tires, from which Guido keeps re-stacking. Finally, Lightning tries drifting into the parking space and ends up perfectly between the tires.