Below is a list of cameos, in-jokes, re-used animation and other trivia from Cars 2.
References to Cars
- Near the beginning of the movie, Mater asks Lightning McQueen if he can handle Mater's plans, and Lightning says that he can handle anything. He also said that he can handle anything after Mater asks him if he wants to go Tractor Tipping in the first movie.
- Several brands that sponsored Piston Cup teams in Cars appear in Cars 2 on advertisements in Tokyo. These includes Nitroade, RPM, Easy Idle, Vitoline, Mood Springs, Clutch Aid, Tank Coat, Gasprin, an allusion to Lil' Torquey Pistons and Dinoco. Also, Lightning McQueen had the same Rust-eze sponsor in the beginning of the movie.
- At the end of the movie, Finn McMissile tells Mater that if he needs anything, just ask, and Mater says that there is one thing. That was very similar to at the end of Cars when Tex Dinoco tells Lightning McQueen that if he needs anything, just ask, and Lightning McQueen says that there is one thing.
- The ending image of both movies shows a flying machine getting in the view of the camera, while in the background Lightning McQueen races away on the roads of Radiator Springs.
- Both films include numerous guest stars appearances.
- Some ideas that didn't made the cut of Cars made their way into Cars 2. In a scene that never went beyond storyboarding, Lightning and Sally went to see a movie featuring a British spy car called Finn McMissile. From there came the spy theme of Cars 2 and its main spy car. In early versions of Cars, Lightning McQueen organized a Radiator Springs Grand Prix to bring back interest on the town. This idea was found as a good way to end Cars 2.
- The Porto Corsa big crash is similar to the Piston Cup crash in the beginning of the first film.
- In Cars 2, Carla Veloso is the only female race car in the World Grand Prix. That's similar to Misti Motorkrass being the only female race car in the Piston Cup.
- Both movies end with the main character getting a girlfriend.
- When the Japanese toilet shoots water at Mater's undercarriage, he makes the same scream that he made in the first film when he was spinning like a tornado while he was driving backwards.
- In the closing credits, Mater uses his hook to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright, then it leans to the other side. This is a reference to in the first film when Mater uses his hook to try to make his sign upright, but then it leans to the other side.
- Also, when Mater gets covered in soap from the Japanese toilet, he makes the same babbling that he makes in the first film when he's driving backwards.
Reference to Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales
- Several characters from Tokyo Mater, including Kabuto, appear at the World Grand Prix welcome party at the Tokyo National Art Center.
- Tokyo as it appears in Cars 2 reuses many elements from how it appeared in Tokyo Mater. Notably many advertisements appear without a change in both films.
- The priests and altar boys have the same design as the ones that appear in El Materdor. Additionally, bulldozers from El Materdor appear during the credits.
- Many of the British Army vehicles appear to be reused models from Unidentified Flying Mater.
- In the end of the film Mater tells to everyone his story, but one car doesn't believe him, finding it a nonsense. But then, Holley comes in the town, proving that Mater's story is real. This is very similar to the end of the episodes of Cars Toons.
- Gusteau's from Ratatouille appears under the name of Gastow's.
- In Tokyo a billboard of Harryhausen's from Monsters, Inc. makes a cameo.
- Also in Tokyo an advertisement for a Lotso bear from Toy Story 3 is seen.
- In the beginning of the movie while McQueen and Mater are in Radiator Springs, the drive-in they pass by is playing a movie titled "The Incredimobiles", a reference to The Incredibles. The Incredimobile is also the name of Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr's car seen in that film's prologue.
- The Incredibles is again mentioned on a French poster in the entrance of the Marché Aux Pièces. It bears the French title of the film, Les Indestructibles.
- Also at the entrance is a poster for A Bug's Life, using the French title of the film, 1001 pattes (1001 legs). This marks the second time this movie is mentioned in the Cars franchise, the first time being in the credits of Cars.
- The jungle from which Miles Axlerod emerges during the clip on the Mel Dorado show is the jungle from Up.
- Brave characters (specifically Princess Merida and her family) appear "car-ified" on a tapestry in the Ye Left Turn Inn in London.
- A113 appears three times in Cars 2:
- Some references to the film's director, John Lasseter, appear in Cars 2:
- Jeff Gorvette's pit crew chief, John Lassetire, is a cameo of John Lasseter.
- An advertisement on the sidelines of the race in London is for "Lassetyre".
- A road in London is named "Lasseter Way".
- In the credits, it was shown that Mater's birthday was January 12, 1957, which is the same as John Lasseter's.
- In the credits, Vitaly Petrov, a character from the Russian version of the film, can be seen on a Russian postcard.
- In the credits, while the camera pans through a cartoon San Francisco, the Pixar Animation Studios appears on the map with a giant Luxo Lamp above it.
- In the credits, some of the travel brochures passing by have pictures of Luxo, Jr. and the Luxo Ball, as well as a fictional airline company called "Pixair", a reference to Pixar.
- Cars 2 is the first sequel Pixar has produced that is not based on the Toy Story movies.
- The world globe that appears on some posters has geographical differences with the real Earth: some regions have been stretched and modified to get the silhouette of main characters of the movie; Ireland is shaped as Lightning McQueen, Labrador as Mater, the island of Hispaniola as Finn McMissile, the Lake Superior as Francesco Bernoulli, and Iceland as Professor Z. Also, on the posters (except on the Cars 2 Video Game button on PS3 console menus and the Cars 2 Video Game starting menu), Iceland is closer to Britain and Ireland than on the real Earth. However, when the Earth is shown in Moon Mater, the countries that were changed on the Cars 2 posters are normal shaped as well as Iceland still being at its normal distance from Britain and Ireland, so in the Cars world, the countries are still normal shaped and in normal distances.
- The character team built 145 new character models for the film and 781 variants. These variants, which are primarily background cars, include 13 model variants – unique character models that are based on other new models – and 768 shading variants – models that are re-used from classic and new Cars, Cars 2 and Cars Toons models, but with new, unique paint schemes. In total, there are 926 new characters in Cars 2.
- Cars 2 is the first and so far only sequel to the Cars Movie Line.
- Mater says that his line of work is towing and salvage. Finn replies by saying, "Right. And Ms. Shiftwell's is designing iPhone apps." This is a reference to iPhones, created by Steve Jobs.
- State Farm is mentioned briefly, when McMissile and Shiftwell tell Mater that he is a secret agent, he thinks they mean an insurance agent, and sings, "Like a good neighbor, Mater is there!", a reference to the State Farm jingle.
- Cars 2 has the lowest score Rotten Tomatoes has given to Pixar, with an average score of 38% based of 193 reviews by well known critics and stated as rotten. This is also the first Pixar film to earn a rotten ranking.
- At the Marché aux Pièces in Paris, one car has eyes in her headlights, which is an allusion to their standard location on anthropomorphic cars. It refers to how John Lasseter felt it was more appealing for the eyes to be on the windshield instead.
- A large number of background characters (including the World Grand Prix racers Miguel Camino and Max Schnell) have the tire codes "P215/65R15 89H" and "Traction A Temperature A". Raoul ÇaRoule is a rare exception, having a different tire code reading "P210/70R18 99S".
- Cars 2 is the third Pixar movie to feature an entirely non-human cast after A Bug's Life and Cars.
- In the short YouTube documentary A Day in the Life of John Lasseter, it is shown that during the end of production of Cars 2, Professor Z's lines in the interrogation scene with Rod "Torque" Redline were changed to remove any references to radiation ("electro-magnetic pulse" was originally "blast of radiation"). John Lasseter asked that the lines be changed out of respect for Japan, due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that happened there three months before the film's release in the United States, which it was caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. However, in the Cars 2 Junior Novelization and the Cars 2 magazine, "blast of radiation" was used, probably because they were made before they changed the line.
- Cars 2 is the fourth Pixar film to contain subtitles over foreign languages, the first being The Incredibles, the second being Ratatouille and the third being Toy Story 3.
- Cars 2 is Pixar's third longest film, with a running time of 1 hour and 46 minutes, with Ratatouille in second, and The Incredibles in first.
- This was the second time in the Cars series when Mater was flying. The first was in Unidentified Flying Mater, and the third was in Air Mater.
- The first character seen in the movie, Leland Turbo, and the last character seen in the movie, Siddeley, are both voiced by Jason Isaacs.
- During the Mel Dorado show, in the picture of the scientists examining the Allinol, in the background is a picture saying "Automotive Table of Elements." This is a reference to the "Periodic Table of Elements." The table has the same chemical symbols as the actual Periodic Table.
- The story of Cars 2 kind of reverses the story of Cars Mater-National. In Cars 2, Lightning and Mater visit the world. In Cars Mater-National, the world visits them.
- The bathroom fight in Tokyo between Rod "Torque" Redline, Acer and Grem is a reference to the pre-credits sequence of the James Bond film, Casino Royale.
- This is the first Pixar film to have swearing.
- This is the last Pixar film to use the words "Walt" and "Pictures" in the Disney logo at the very beginning.
- In the movie Rod "Torque" Redline dies after radiation. But in the video game, you can choose to play as him when you download him. However, it could be that he is part of a simulation, as the tracks are part of a simulation.