Radiator Springs was founded by a steam car named Stanley on May 9, 1909, and a statue of him is outside the town courthouse. Stanley, who was selling radiator caps in Ornament Valley, found an oasis of water, later called Stanley's Oasis. There he also found new customers, so he decided to build a town there. He named it "Radiator Springs". Later, Stanley married Lizzie. After Stanley's death, more people came to live in Radiator Springs, and the town grew. It was a popular rest area where almost all cars would stop to shop and fill their gas tank. However, in the the early 1960's, Interstate 40 was built near Radiator Springs, which greatly decreased traffic for Radiator Springs, since the Interstate bypassed the town. Finally, in the mid 1980's, Route 66 was decommissioned. In 2006, famous racecar Lightning McQueen destroyed the town's main road in a hurry to get to a Piston Cup race in Los Angeles, California, and was arrested for five days to fix the road. He soon became friends with the Radiator Springs populace, and after his race, he set up a racing headquarters in the town, and the town started to grow again.
Radiator Springs is along Route 66, which travels from Los Angeles, California, to Chicago, Illinois. It is surrounded by red rocks and desert, and is not near any large cities, so Radiator Springs must be on Route 66 in either California, Arizona, or New Mexico. According to The Art of Cars, Radiator Springs is located in between Gallup, New Mexico, and Kingman, Arizona (which both can be heard in the end credits song). Since Gallup is on the far west side of New Mexico, Radiator Springs is most likely in Arizona. The truckstop that Mack and Lightning McQueen passed by on their trip could not be west from Houck, Arizona, because of a sign which reads "LAST TRUCKSTOP FOR 500 MILES", and since Houck is on the far east side of Arizona, the truckstop was most likely in western New Mexico, and if Mack drove for only a few hours more after the truckstop before he fell asleep, then Radiator Springs is most likely in eastern Arizona.