Doc Hudson (also known as The Fabulous Hudson Hornet, Hud, or simply Doc) is an anthropomorphic 1951 Hudson Hornet who appears in the 2006 Pixar film Cars. In the film, Doc is the medical doctor and local judge[1] for Radiator Springs. After meeting the rookie racecar Lightning McQueen, Doc reveals that he is actually a former Piston Cup racer known as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and returns to the Piston Cup to act as Lightning's crew chief in his races. It is implied that Doc passed away before the events of Cars 2, and he appears in flashback sequences in Cars 3.

Doc Hudson
Cars character
Doc Hudson in his original non-racing appearance
First appearanceCars (2006)
Created byJohn Lasseter
Joe Ranft
Jorgen Klubien
Based onFabulous Hudson Hornet
Voiced by
In-universe information
Full nameDoc Hudson
AliasThe Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Species1951 Hudson Hornet
OccupationMD, judge, former racer, coach and mentor

Doc is voiced by Paul Newman in Cars, Cars 3 (the latter via archive audio recordings) and Cars: the Video Game, and Corey Burton in all other media. Six-time Turismo Carretera champion Juan María Traverso voiced the character in the Rioplatense Spanish version of the first film.

Doc Hudson is based on the real-life Fabulous Hudson Hornet of NASCAR. He generally maintains the same image in all three films with navy-blue paint and light modifications for racing. Doc's racing number is 51, a reference to his model year.

Character edit

Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman (1925-2008) in his last non-documentary film role and his only animated film role) was Radiator Springs' local judge and physician. His license plate read 51HHMD, which was a reference to his year and track number (51), model (Hudson Hornet), and profession (medical doctor). A racer turned mechanic, Doc had Paul Newman's blue eyes.[2]

Doc's stickers read "Twin H Power", which was an optional dealer-installed dual carburetor intake manifold, with twin 1-barrel carburetors and air filters. It was a dealer-installed option in 1951 and then a factory option for 1952 model year Hornets.[3]

Background edit

1951 Hudson Hornet

Many years before the events of Cars, Doc Hudson raced in the Piston Cup as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet. He won three consecutive Piston Cups (1951/1952/1953) and held the record for most wins in a single season (27, also the number of NASCAR Grand National races won by Hornets in 1952[4]). His career unexpectedly came to an end when he lost control and suffered a terrible crash during the final lap of the 1954 Fireball Beach 350, a story which closely parallels the fate of Herb Thomas, NASCAR's 1951 and 1953 champion.[5][6] Upon his return, Doc discovered that racing had moved on without him, as the rise of newer cars had rendered him obsolete by the racing community. He kept a newspaper article on the career-ending crash as a reminder to never return to racing.

Feeling betrayed and abandoned by the racing scene, Doc left that world, apparently taking out time to study law and medicine. Hudson then disappeared into obscurity, leaving many wondering where he went. He removed his racing decals and modifications and took on the life of a physician in the town of Radiator Springs on U.S. Route 66, eventually becoming the town's judge. He proved himself very skilled in the medical field as, according to Mater, Doc "can fix about anything." As times changed and the town got bypassed by Interstate 40, Doc stayed on, even when the population dwindled to a meager dozen residents. Nobody in the town had any idea of his past as a racer, knowing him merely as an ordinary Hudson Hornet.

Opposite lock or counter-steering through an abrupt right turn, depicted with front wheels in blue during right steer, red during left steer

Appearances edit

Cars (2006) edit

Upon meeting Lightning McQueen in traffic court, Doc saw far too much of the past that he tried to leave behind. He quickly tried to dismiss the case and send Lightning away, believing he would only cause more trouble, but was convinced to sentence him to community service by making him repave the road as punishment.

When Lightning paves the road poorly in a rush to leave, Doc challenges him to a one-lap race on the grounds that if Lightning wins against him at the local dirt track in Willy's Butte, he can leave; but if Doc wins Lightning has to stay and pave the road correctly. The race turns out to be a trick as Lightning, having no experience with dirt racing, starts the race first but understeers at high speed and falls down a cliff into cacti; Doc drives casually knowing Lightning would crash and wins.

The next day, after seeing Lightning at the track again constantly failing to make the turn, Doc attempts to be friendly with him by explaining the concept of drifting. He was only more disillusioned and bitter after the entitled racecar took his advice as idiocy.

"This ain't asphalt, son; this is dirt. You don't have three-wheel brakes, so you gotta' pitch it hard, break it loose, and just drive it with the throttle. Give it too much, you'll be outta' the dirt and into the tulips. I'll put it simple; if you're goin' hard enough left, you'll find yourself turnin' right."

— Doc attempting to explain the concept of drifting to Lightning McQueen

He was less than happy when Lightning discovered his secret and asked "How could a car like you quit at the top of your game?" Doc bitterly admitted that he did not quit, but was forced into retirement after his crash in 1954 by the rise of newer, faster cars. Being admonished by Doc for his selfishness causes Lightning to see the error of his ways. The day after, Lightning finishes the road and decides to stay in town with his new friends, but Hudson was unable to bear having him around any longer and calls the Piston Cup authorities, forcing Lightning to immediately leave for the tie-breaker race in California. After seeing the townsfolk turn against him for making Lightning leave out of his dislike of him, Doc realizes that he never noticed how much Lightning had changed during his time in the town. He thought Lightning was only a manifestation of the old world that had abandoned him, but was quickly proven wrong.

Realizing that he couldn't keep his past hidden anymore, Doc not only admitted to the townsfolk that he was the real Fabolous Hudson Hornet, but took back his racing modifications to become Lightning's crew chief. At the race, the commentators recognized his presence on the cameras, giving Doc a long-overdue acknowledgment for his return. During the final lap of the race, Lightning used what he learned from Doc to gain the lead. When Lightning selflessly chooses to help The King finish his last race instead of winning the Piston Cup, Doc realizes that Lightning's personality has finally changed for the better.

"You've got a lot of stuff, kid."

— Doc Hudson congratulating Lightning on doing the right thing

At the end of the film, Doc kept his racing colors, becoming a trainer, mentor, and friend to Lightning McQueen. Together, Lightning and Doc won four consecutive Piston Cups. When a racing museum opened in Radiator Springs, one wing was dedicated to his career and was filled with his pictures, racing equipment, and the three Piston Cups that he won in the past.

Cars: the Video Game (2006) edit

In the video game based of the film of the same name, Doc taught Lightning powerslide lessons and became crew chief for Lightning during the Piston Cup season in the game's story mode. He is also a playable character who can be purchased for 5,000 points. Though during the game's story mode, he wore his original blue paint job and whitewall tires when racing Lightning or training him, his original racing colors can be purchased for use in arcade mode.

Cars 2 (2011) edit

Doc Hudson passed away before the events of Cars 2 (his voice actor, Paul Newman, died in 2008), although he continued to be remembered and referenced by Lightning, Mater, and the other cars. The Piston Cup was renamed "Hudson Hornet Piston Cup", and his clinic was converted into a museum with trophies and mementos from his career.

Cars 3 (2017) edit

1952 Hudson Hornet racecar

John Lasseter announced that Cars 3 would include a tribute to Hudson. After several unsuccessful attempts at training, Lightning went to Doc's old crew chief, a Hudson Super Six pick-up named Smokey in Thomasville, Georgia, for help and watched old recordings of Doc's races for inspiration. Smokey explained to Lightning that mentoring him, not racing, was the best part of Doc's life.

In the end, Lightning adopted Doc Hudson's old racing colors and painted "The Fabulous Lightning McQueen" on himself in honor of Doc. Lightning's bumper also read, "For Doc Hudson". Cruz Ramirez, Lightning's former trainer who started a racing career of her own with Lightning's help, took on Doc's racing number as a second tribute.[7]

Inspiration edit

#51 "Doc", Fabulous Hudson Hornet
1951 Hornet modified to mimic Doc Hudson

Doc Hudson is based on the real-life Fabulous Hudson Hornet in NASCAR competition, with Hudson's racing career most closely resembling that of Herb Thomas, the record holder for the highest career win rate (55 of 228 races, or 21.05%), and the first-ever two-time champion.[5][6]

Paul Newman, a racing enthusiast and former driver, drew upon his experiences for the grumpy old race car's personality. The character has strong parallels to Dr. Aurelius Hogue from the 1991 film Doc Hollywood and shares the "Doc" moniker with the late Walter "Doc" Mason, interviewed on Route 66 as research for the film.

A close friend of Michael Wallis (the voice of Sheriff), country veterinarian Dr. Walter S. Mason Jr. owned the Tradewinds Courtyard Inn from 1963 until 2003 and donated land for the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton.[8] Doc Mason died in June 2007 after a long illness with Alzheimer's disease.[9] After his demise the inn, which once hosted Elvis Presley[10] went into a steep decline, losing its Best Western membership and receiving many highly-negative reviews.[11]

The original Hudson Hornet was manufactured until 1954. Built around a 308 cu in (5.0 L) 6-cylinder inline engine with (starting in 1952) twin carburetors on a very low body and center of gravity, the Hornet was essentially a racing car with the veneer of a luxury sedan. Fabulous Hudson Hornets won NASCAR cups for three consecutive years (Herb Thomas in 1951 and 1953, and Tim Flock in 1952), paralleling Doc Hudson's three Piston Cup wins in those same years. The Hudson Motor Company was merged into Nash Motors on January 14, 1954, to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). After brief use as a marque on Nash-designed AMC vehicles, the Hudson name was discontinued after the 1957 model year.[12][13] The automaker participated in a variety of motorsport venues that included five NASCAR wins with its AMC Matador between 1973 and 1975.[14] Chrysler acquired AMC in 1987.[15]

The "Fabulous Hudson Hornet" name, appeared on three famous NASCAR entries between 1951 and 1954, but after Hudson merged with Nash, the newly formed company, AMC, did not follow up with a viable NASCAR successor for the innovative Hornet.[16] Herb Thomas #92 raced Buick and Chevrolet cars in 1955; severe injuries in a 1956 racing wreck in Shelby effectively ended his career, despite two unsuccessful starts in 1957 and one in 1962.[16] Tim Flock #91 switched to Chrysler cars in 1955;[17] he was one of two drivers forced out of NASCAR after supporting a 1961 unionization attempt, the Federation of Professional Athletes. Marshall Teague #6 left NASCAR after the 1952 season in a dispute with NASCAR's owner Bill France, Sr.; he was killed in a 140-mile-per-hour (225 km/h) rollover collision at Daytona on 11 February 1959.[18]

Herb Thomas' 1952 Fabulous Hudson Hornet is currently displayed in the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in Michigan; Tim Flock's car is in the Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville, North Carolina. Herb Thomas entered NASCAR's Hall of Fame in 2013 as the first to win two NASCAR Premier Series championships (1951 and 1953). A replica of Teague's car is owned by Bruce and Patty Teeters (Teague's descendants).[19]

References edit

  1. ^ Disney Pixar's The World of Cars: Meet the Cars. Disney Press. 2008. p. 10. ISBN 978-142311925-8. He not only serves as the town judge, he's also Radiator Springs' resident doctor.
  2. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (14 January 2011). "With 'Cars', Paul Newman stayed in the race". SouthCoast Today. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  3. ^ McCourt, Mark J. (August 2008). "Hudson Twin H-Power: With this dual-carburetor setup, from the street to the race track, Hudson proved that six was as mighty as eight". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  4. ^ Nerad, Jack. "Hudson Hornet". Driving Today. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b Pryson, Mike (21 April 2020). "Top 20 NASCAR Drivers by Winning Percentage: No. 1, Herb Thomas (0.2105)". Autoweek. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  6. ^ a b Friedlander, Brett (29 May 2020). "100 in 100: Lee County's Herb Thomas, driver of the 'Fabulous Hudson Hornet'". The North State Journal. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  7. ^ Truitt, Brian (22 June 2017). "Spoilers: Why Lightning McQueen got a new paint job in 'Cars 3'". USA Today. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  8. ^ Green, Gerald; Mason, Scott (22 June 2006). "Pixar's research visit to Clinton recalled". Clinton Daily News. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  9. ^ Warnick, Ron (3 June 2007). "Former Best Western Trade Winds motel owner dies". Route 66 News. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  10. ^ sourbugger. "Best Western Trade Winds Courtyard Inn". Virtual Tourist. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Trade Winds Inn (reviews)". Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  12. ^ Blumberg, George (11 April 2003). "Driving; Hudsons Survive. The Dealer Does, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  13. ^ "The last Hudson, 1957". Mac's Motor City Garage. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  14. ^ Vaughn, Mark (15 July 2020). "The 20 Winningest Cars in NASCAR Cup History: AMC Matador: Five Wins". MSN Sports. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  15. ^ Ross, Philip E. (6 August 1987). "Chrysler Completes Acquisition of A.M.C. (Published 1987)". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  16. ^ a b Jensen, Tom (26 July 2023). "The Fabulous Career of Herb Thomas". NASCAR Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  17. ^ "Julius Timothy Flock". International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  18. ^ Willis, Ken (9 February 2019). "Tragedy struck early at Daytona". Daytona Beach News-Journal Online. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  19. ^ Jensen, Tom (23 May 2012). "NHOF: Herb Thomas Heads 2013 Hall Class". Speed TV. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2012.

External links edit