Professor Z, short for Zündapp, is the secondary antagonist of Cars 2.
"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."
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 weapon, which is disguised as a World Grand Prix camera, to use on the racers that use the fuel called 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 later turns out that Axlerod and Professor Zündapp engineered Allinol not as alternative energy, but actually made it from gasoline that would ignite upon being hit with the electromagnetic pulse emitter.
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, along with Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell.
Professor Zündapp and 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 race car 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 spy car with missiles. However, Finn released multiple mini-bombs, which killed Tony and allowing him to capture Zündapp.
Brought before McQueen, Mater and Holley, the evil 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 tased by Holley. He is last seen in the custody of the British police and is ultimately arrested with Axlerod and the remaining Lemons for their crimes.
Professor Z is an evil, greedy, ruthless, devious, intelligent and mad German scientist. Professor Z is a genius while his henchmen are dimwits.
- Hometown: Baden-Baden, Germany
- Top Speed: 50 mph (55 downhill)
- 0 - 50 mph: 12 seconds
- Engine Type: 2-stroke single cylinder 250 cc
- Horsepower: 14
- 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). Per the German license plate rules, the first 1-3-letter abbreviation represents the city where the car was registered. "BAD" is assigned to Professor Z's hometown, Baden-Baden.
- 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.
- 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 Sir Miles Axlerod's evil plot is exposed, it turns out Z is actually the secondary antagonist since Axlerod had bigger plans, and he is the boss of Z and the Lemons. However, Z is the one who drives the plot and is probably more dangerous than Axlerod.
- "Give it up, McMissile!!"
- "It's Finn McMissile! He's seen the camera! Kill him!"
- "With Finn McMissile gone, who can stop us now?"
- "The project is still on schedule. You will find the second agent and kill him."
- Professor Z: "Guten Tag."
Tubbs Pacer: "Ah, it's just the professor."
Victor Hugo: "Zündapp! When is he coming?"
Professor Z: "He's already here."
- —Professor Z arrives at the lemons' meeting.
- Big Boss: ". . .till Lightning McQueen is dead!"
Professor Z: "Of course." (phone call ends) "Allinol must be finished for good. McQueen cannot win the last race. Lightning McQueen must be killed!"
Mater: "No!" (his Ivan disguise turns off)
Professor Z: "It's the American spy!"
- —Professor Z plans to kill McQueen.
- Mater: "Let me go!"
Professor Z: "You actually care about that race car. A pity you didn't warn him in time."
- —Mater gets tied up and put in the lemons' truck.
- Professor Z: "You! Why didn't my death ray kill you?!"
Lightning McQueen: "Death ray?!"
Finn McMissile: "Turn off the bomb, Zündapp!"
Professor Z: "Are you all so dense? It's voice-activated. Everything is voice-activated these days."
Mater: "Deactivate! Deactivate!"
Bomb: "Voice denied." (the bomb activates to explode in 5 minutes)
Professor Z: "Oops! Did I forget to mention that it can only be disarmed by the one who activated it?"
Holley Shiftwell: (unfolds her shock guns) "Say it!"
Professor Z: "Deactivate."
Bomb: "Voice denied." (a minute was taken off the timer)
Professor Z: "I'm not the one who activated it. Would anyone else like to try?" (gets shocked by Holley's shock guns) "Ah!"
Finn McMissile: "You read my mind."
Holley Shiftwell: "He was getting on my nerves."
- —Lightning, Mater, Finn and Holley force Professor Z to deactivate the bomb.