It was confirmed back in 2006 that, unlike the designs shown on much of the attraction’s concept art, the vehicles would not be characters from the film. Instead, to give the “Race Rally” its own story and identity, they would be new, unique vehicles, yet cars which could certainly be from the “Cars” universe. Aside from that, nobody quite knew what to expect – until these first photos were posted by Frank on MagicForum and the e-pinions began speeding in.
The new introductions to the Cars world certainly have a unique look. Beyond the familiar hood/bonnet-noses, windscreen eyes and grill moustaches, the cars have a very stylized raised back, dotted with red break lights. The rear wheels are either missing or hidden, and the cars feature many nods to those which may have populated Route 66 in its heydey – such as metallic fins, chevrons and raised headlights. Whilst the characters in the film were designed as ultra-realistic real-life car models, the more abstract and cheeky design of these little vehicles gives the currently very well-mannered Toon Studio one its first truly “toonish” icons.
The cars work wonders for the forced perspective of their Route 66 desert surroundings, too. The miniaturized Willy’s Butte rock formation suddenly appears to tower over the entire area, thanks to the ride platform being 1 metre below ground level, whilst the earthy, deep colours mix with the turquoise of Flo’s V8 Café canopy and the brown rockwork to give a real sense of place like nothing else at the Studios.
Like Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups at Disneyland Park, the spinning cars only come in a select palette of colours – red, blue and teal. They feature two seating rows but, from these photos, it is hard to confirm how many guests will be able to fit into each. It could certainly be possible that only one adult will fit in each row, though two handrails are featured for both.
The boarding area, themed to Flo’s V8 Café, has also progressed a great deal from our last update on the attraction. The full, turqoise roof is now in place and themeing has begun on the brown supports, the location (in the film, at least) of the gas pumps. With new planting added to the area, the cars installed and themeing begun, the photo above right already bears a good resemblance to the key concept art featured on the construction walls.
Finally, a look at the current state of the general Toon Studio expansion area – in particular the wall at the back of the land, which has now been fully constructed and prepared for painting. At the gateway on the far right, several steel frameworks are now in place for the buildings of the Toon Town backdrop which will enclose this area of the land, placing the backlot of Toon Studio within its own theme world.