Mattel Disney Pixar Cars Checklist: I Just Bought One, Now, What?


First, there’s no such thing as buying ONE “Cars” CAR … If you have less than 50, you have done a remarkable job of self restraint.

Reader “AvgJoe” posed an interesting question for those starting out and hopefully this newbie guide will help you navigate what can be an overwhelming task when you’re just staring at the pegs.

What’s the difference between a CAR such as LIGHTNING McQUEEN when it’s offered on the individual cards, the multi-packs, the box sets or from a playset?

The 1:55 diecast line is mostly packed on individual cards but they’re also on multi-packs.

lightningmcqueen.jpg lightningmcq.jpg

lightningmcqwoc.jpg mattel3pack.jpg

So, what’s the difference between the LIGHTNING McQUEEN’s on the cards above?

The answer – NOTHING.

That’s right, there is essentially no difference – as long as the card is labeled LIGHTNING McQUEEN, it’s the exact same LIGHTNING McQUEEN whether it’s from April 2006 or yesterday.

Okay, extra credit – how about this LIGHTNING McQUEEN?

Different than the others? Same?


The answer – NOTHING.

Okay, you get the Launcher but otherwise, when it says LIGHTNING McQUEEN, you are safe to ignore its wrapping and surrounding. It is the same LIGHTNING McQUEEN that came out in April 2006 … now if it says DIRT TRACK McQUEEN or anything else, then it’s different.*

Now, they have released a SLEW of different LIGHTNING McQUEEN’s …

Can you name all the McQUEEN’s?


I just get the feeling we’re missing someone?


Ah, much better – and don’t call me purple!

* One minor thing to note, Mattel got lawyered up along the way so now, it’s all very formal. While LIGHTNING McQUEEN is of course his full name, DIRT TRACK McQUEEN is now officially DIRT TRACK LIGHTNING McQUEEN – same car, more formal name. And of course, if it confuses you you to buy it again, well, someone has to pay the lawyers …

So, if you’re just starting out, they can look similar from a distance but each package is labeled so if only want one LIGHTNING McQUEEN to open – the rest are just repeats – is it possible to not buy a repeat of any of the CARS (to get another one)? In theory, if you started with the box sets, you might be able to work out a matrix spreadsheet to minimize your buying of repeats but the problem is many of the box sets are in short supply since they never sold very well … though some stores have 40 of them still left so it could be worth a shot … and then supplement with multi-packs and finally, individual CARS but the question you have to ask yourself is – are you smarter than Mattel? Mattel is the guy on the street with the shiny dice and the 3-card monte tricks of shuffling CARS around – can you spot the CAR for $2.99 or the one for $13.99 (with two others you have?) … so, um, good luck with that.

There are also playsets but they do not contain any “limited edition” CARS. They are clearly a fun way to display your CARS …


This is Flo’s Cafe – available only at TRU. It does NOT come with any CARS.


(the track playsets do come with CARS – clearly shown at the top of the packaging)

As for box sets,. here’s one at Sam’s Club during the holidays – now out of stock at out local SC.


More likely, you will see a set that looks more like this …


Frankly, most of the sets sell okay the first few weeks they are out but then tamper off dramatically – most people are just not that interested – so stock on the store shelves are hit or miss – some stores might have 20 and other stores do not have any.

As you can see from both box sets, they are almost always repeats of the individual cards & CARS except for a few exceptions which I’ll cover later.

The only CAR outside of the normal realm of store shelves is this one:


There is one mail-away CAR that is free (+ shipping) by buying the CARS Blu Ray DVD. This version of McQueen does NOT appear in the movie however. You can find more details from our post here – you should hurry – promotion ends on January 31, 2008.

(It’s the purple CAR on the right in the collection of McQUEEN’s).

The first question to ask is if you want one of every CAR released in the 1:55 scale line? And you just want one of each to open up and display …

If you answer, yes, as of today, you have approximately @86 CARS to complete your collection. You can get a real spreadsheet/checklist at our EDITGRID page. Look for the tab marked OPENER LIST.

There’s no one strategy that will work for everyone just starting out because everyone is different. If you want to spend the absolute least amount of money and you’re in no particular hurry – then start with the box sets, then the multi-packs and figure out what’s left to buy on the cards but as I said – many of the basic box sets are either hard to find or if you live or shop in the right area, perhaps – very easy so it’s hard to recommend that strategy as you might go to stores to see it over-flowing with gift packs, movie moments and individual cards and keep bypassing them in hoping to scoop up 6 CARS in one box set … and then curse my name … or conversely, you can buy LIGHTNING McQUEEN on an individual card and then suddenly spot the gift pack with the 3 CARS …


It’s a great way to get LIGHTNING RAMONE (available nowhere else) and FLO (only in another multi-pack) but in 1 quick step, you have an extra LIGHTNING McQUEEN … OR if you bought this other 3-pack Gift Pack …


What’s that top CAR, Yep, it’s LIGHTNING McQUEEN … Now you have 2 extras …

“Is it possible to buy CARS without getting a repeat?”

In the words of Nelson from THE SIMPSONS, “That’s unmpossble!”

The EASY List

The following CARS have been issued and or re-released from day one. Just like the LIGHTNING McQUEEN’s shown above. You should not have much trouble finding them in stores ranging from the obvious big three of Wal-mart, TRU & Target but even in places like Walgreen’s and Long’s … they are nearly everywhere … re-released multiple times on cards, in multi-packs or box sets.

Bling Bling McQueen
Brand New Mater
Bug Mouth McQueen
Cactus McQueen
Chick/Chick Hicks
Crusin’ McQueen
Crusin’ Ramone/Old School Ramone
Dinoco Chick Hicks
Dinoco McQueen
Dirt Track Doc Hudson
Dirt Track McQueen
Doc Hudson
Fabulous Hudson Hornet (Red Rims)
Ferrari F430
Ghostlight/Blue Ramone
Guido (Ferrari Fan)
Hydraulic Ramone (Red)
Leak Less/Leakless
Lightning McQueen
Lightning Phase Ramone
Luigi (Ferrari Fan)
Piston Cup Pace Car/Charlie Checker
Pit Crew Member Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Pit Crew Member Fillmore
Pit Crew Member Guido
Radiator Springs McQueen
Race Official Tom
Ramone (Green)
Ramone (Purple)
Ramone (Yellow)
RPM #64
Snot Rod
Tex Dinoco
Tongue McQueen


These are still relatively new, not shipped in many boxes or still very popular and are usually grabbed when someone sees them on the shelf. I expect that Dale Jr. will ALWAYS not be easy to find. The white rim FABULOUS HUDSON HORNET is unofficially the ONLY retired CAR so if you want the “incorrect” version (correct & current version with red rims), he’s not all that hard to find – some stores will have dozens of it but you might have to search a little harder since it’s been about a year since it was last released.

Bob Cutlass
Dinoco Helicopter
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Darrell Cartrip
Dusty Rust-Eze
Fabulous Hudson Hornet (white rims)
Mario Andretti
Mrs. The King
Rusty Rust-Eze

Some other people have brought up an interesting point – how long does Mattel have the license for a RED Dale Jr. #8 CAR? Is 2008 the last year and last time we’ll see the Pixar Dale Jr. #8? Is a “red car” trademarked and “trade-dressed” by DEI and or DEI & Budweiser? Though now DEI seems to have emptied their museum/store of Dale Jr’s red merchandise, does that technically mean they are “abandoning” it? Budweiser is now sponsoring the #9 Kasey Kahne car with what looks like essentially the same paint scheme though … so it will be interesting to see how this is all handled. It’s presumed most licensed-merchandise contracts are for a set period of time so it’ll be interesting to see what that period might be … so maybe the Dale Jr. CAR will be the next to be quietly retired (like the white rim FHH)?

The LUCK List

These are the latest that are just out. I’m sure in a few weeks, they should as easy to find as the top list but as of this week, everyone will grab one or more as they see them.

Dudley Spare (Octane Gain Pitty)
Gasprin (#70) – Floyn Mulvihill
Gold Mia
Gold Tia
My Name is Not Chuck
Octane Gain (launcher)
PT Flea
Tow (Piston Cup Tow Truck)
Tow Cap (#4) – Rusty Cornfuel

Wal-Mart Exclusives – The EASY List

There were 8 WM exclusives – 4 which are tougher to find. (One is now extremely easy CACTUS McQUEEN is bundled in a 3-pack and Blue/Ghostlight Ramone is on a card now). These are the easiest as they were not only re-stocked but Al Oft was included in the Sam’s Club box set and BOTH are coming as part of the GIFT PACKS down the line.

Al Oft Lightyear Blimp
TJ (Hummer)

Wal-Mart Exclusives – The NOT EASY List

Barney Stormin’ (Biplane)
Bruiser Bukowski (Chick Pit Crew)
Kori Turbowitz

The 2nd 4 (included Charlie Checker but just released on a 3-pack so easy to find), were never re-stocked and thus are much harder to find. Your only bet is probably eBay though if you are willing to wait, all three will be re-released later this year.

Target Exclusive – You Have to Buy the Box


It’s on clearance in the next few weeks so now is the best time to pick it up. SURPRISE, it comes with LIGHTNING McQUEEN! Plus 6 other Piston Cup Racer CARS or which only THREE are NOT available anywhere else YET. Target at Amazon link.

No Stall (#123) – Todd “The Shockster” Marcus
Octane Gain (#58) – Billy Oilchanger
Vinyl Toupee (#76) – Crusty Rotor

OCTANE GAIN is also available as a Launcher in the next few weeks though you have a decision, which is a better deal? To buy the box set with 4 repeats to get 3 CARS not available elsewhere for the clearance price of $17.99 or OCTANE GAIN for $7.99?

NO STALL is coming in a Movie Moments pack in another month or so.

You Have to Buy the Box

The following two CARS are only available in boxed versions. This Mater never actually appears in the movie but was included in several previous box sets (BJ Warehouse 2006, the Rollin’ Bowling Mater game & the Mattel 2006 Factory Set – the game being the easiest to locate). Mack is not technically part of the line but the front cab portion (and only the front) is in scale to the other CARS so if you want Mack, you have to buy one of his playsets, many to choose from.

Rollin’ Bowlin’ Mater




Recalled and still not re-released. You can only buy the older (non-recalled) Sarge’s on eBay – usually around $15. If you wait until summer, he’ll be back.



Dinoco “Blu” Lightning McQueen

Limited to 15,000 Blu-Ray McQUEEN (not actually in the movie), the mail-away promotion has ended so now on eBay only.


Dinoco “Blu” Lightning McQueen promotions details here.


In the toy world, slightly alterations (intentional or un-intentional) from the “norm” are called variants. It usually involves some paint or tampo decal change/error … if it’s one or two CARS, it’s merely called an error … if it’s a multi-exampled production run “mistake,” then it becomes a variant. With Mattel’s variants, they are easy to spot unlike some others so you can add these to your list even if you’re an “opener.”

Again, these are all very minor and may not be of interest to you but just listing it in case you care.

NOTE – Packaging variants are NOT listed here since that’s for people who saved them sealed. That is covered in our collecting post and the cardback post.

eBay Only (also)

Boost – Desert Art card versions were made in Thailand (on bottom of back of card) Can look a little more cooperish-lavender purple under certain light condition that China made ones which look purple under all light conditions.

King – Desert Art card versions were made in Thailand (on bottom of back of card) and featured a slightly differently back wheel well. It is literally a 1mm difference (I measured) so not particularly exciting but in case it’s important to you. The color of the King’s are also slightly lighter.

Sally – Desert Art versions were made in Thailand (on bottom of back of card) feature tampo decals of the Porsche logo and the words Carerra that are a little less dark than the China versions.

Fabulous Hudson Hornet – the only “official” variant on a Supercharged card. He was issued incorrectly in white rims and changed to the correct red rims but neither his name nor the code number was changed, and unofficially, the white rimmed FABULOUS HUDSON HORNET is presumed to be retired and no longer available except with red rims. Note, for new collectors, DOC HUDSON is CORRECTLY available in both versions, in white as DOC HUDSON and in red as DIRT TRACK HUDSON HORNET.

Kori Turbowitz – PRESS tampo decal available in angled version and straight/level version.

TJ – Available with back license plate that reads TUF GUE & one that reads TUF GUY

Fred – Available with and without a front license plate that reads FRED.

Charlie Checker – the WM exclusive version has red tail-lights. The current one in the GIFT PACK has yellow tail-lights and so does the WOC single version.

All our other CARS posts can be found here.


Filed under Advertising, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Toys

19 responses to “Mattel Disney Pixar Cars Checklist: I Just Bought One, Now, What?

  1. Pingback: Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist Buying Info & News : All Our Posts « TWO A DAY

  2. Great info on Cars as always. I do have some questions about your info on Doc Hudson though. I have never seen Doc Hudson with red rims, except in the new 3 pack labeled as Dirt Track Doc Hudson, so I was wondering about that.

    Doc Hudson with white rims is not an error as he had white rims in the movie. Hudson Hornet with white rims was an error that was corrected. So how can the white rimmed Doc Hudson be retired? There’s some conflicting info there.

    (METROXING: Thanks for pointing out my typo. After a while, it’s easy to type the wrong thing 🙂 It should be fixed now. As for DOC HUDSON in red rims, it’s a very short scene … when McQUEEN after trying to chase down the loose tractors/cows sees DOC out on the dirt track ready to do a run … DOC is dressed in red rims for that short scene … and the next time you see him in red rims, he’s “dressed” as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and easier to spot).

  3. Isn’t Richard Clayton Kensington the Security Van part of the latest assortment? He isn’t on your hard to find list so I was wondering about that. I was also wondering if those are technically out yet, since almost all of the auctions on eBay are listed as pre-sales.

    (METROXING: He’s been postponed – presumably to the next box. Mattel changed the next assortment … PCM Sarge, Richard Clayton Keningston delayed – replaced by Ghostlight Ramone, & Dale Jr. “Not Chuck” is now officially “My Name is Chuck.” I have updated the 2008 SEALED BOXES post to reflect this).

  4. Pingback: Report Blog Site » mater

  5. Cars II

    Thank you so much for the site. You provide the best information. Without you we would have never known about Blu (Purple Ray) Mcqueen. So far I have been dissapointed with storage options for my sons collections. I have seen the shelf posts but we need them accessable as he (and I) play with them daily. I bought the oval track which holds 16 for $20 or so at TRU. Any idea of plans for cases that actually hold the entire collection or at least the collection to date? Keep up the good work.

    (METROXING: Mattel makes a Hot Wheels suitcase (Amazon Link) – though I can’t be certain the slots are wide enough to fit CARS since it’s designed for 1:64 diecast… as the reviews point out, it might be too heavy anyway for the plastic and for your sons to roll around … I think the main reason the case only hold 16-20 CARS is the weight … have you read our post on DISPLAYING YOUR CARS? Some pretty nice options … Good luck and thanks for reading!)

  6. Cars II

    Thanks for the reply. We also have the mentioned suitcase as we were into Hot Wheels before CARS. 2 points for your readers. Slots are not big enough and it is garbage. The plastic hinges broke within a few weeks and the internal “plastic shield” was useless. I will keep looking.

  7. Bryon1966

    For those with the oval race track storage cases, my son gets 72 cars in three cases. It works if you lay them on their side and get almost two cars for every space. Copter and Al-oft have to have thier own slot but most others can get two or three to a slot.

    (METROXING: If you can grab a photo (top down view), I’ll post it. I think Target is selling them for $9.50 each – email it to us at metroxing (at)

  8. Valerie

    Today I purchased a Guido, Luigi, and Tractor 3 pack in which Guido is missing eyes. Do you know if this was something that happened a lot?

    (METROXING: It happens – sometimes you do have to look closely at the CARS inside …)

  9. Mike

    I have a large collection of the Cars. I am looking to sell the whole collection for about the same amount of money that I have into it. I am not looking for a profit. I just have too many collections going so I have to stop one. This has been very fun for me and I want the collection to go to someone that will enjoy it as much as me. I don’t want to ebay it because it would probably go to a guy who will turn around and list them all for a profit. Please email me at if you are interested or know of someone that is interested. I have pictures that I can share. Thanks.

  10. Chris

    What exactly is the “Texas Tea” car listed with the source as Is that a custom car you guys made?

  11. brian

    I have seen many custom paint jobs of the combine on ebay. But do you know of any plans to come out with him on a card? Im not to fond of getting custom jobs, i like the real thing.

    (METROXING: Toyfair is in three weeks so we might hear something then).

  12. Todd

    question the toyfair in feb. is open to all

    (METROXING: Toyfair is only open to retailers. You will need a resale certificate number to apply for entry – though if you know someone who has a retail store, you can ‘borrow’ their number for the application. It’s free to attend once you’re approved … if you’re in NYC and you get in, let us know. We’ll hire you to be our in-the-hall reporter. 🙂 )

  13. Todd

    this is a great site cann’t wait for the new site got alot of info on all the new cars

  14. Harry B


  15. Pingback: Mattel Disney Pixar Cars Checklist: Winter 2008 Major Changes & Where to Look for the NEW Ones … « TWO A DAY

  16. Pingback: Mattel Pixar Cars Checklist: What’s in the Stores Now? (Winter 2008 UPDATE) « TWO A DAY

  17. Puppy2222

    I have 3 of the Hudson Hornet cars with white rims. I was looking at a web site called Australian Toy Stores and it’s saying that the white rimmed H.H are very rare and that they are worth $150.00AU each. Do you think that is correct??

  18. jackdaddy2008

    To a moron yes, to a realist, no.



    I have a mint one opened if anyone needs it.

    Willing to trade.

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