- "Tow Mater, average intelligence."
- —Mater, introducing himself to Finn McMissile.
Sir Tow Mater, generally known by just his surname, Mater, is a major character in Cars, the protagonist of Cars 2 and a supporting character in Cars 3. He is the titular protagonist of his very own TV short Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales as the main character.
Two of Mater's catchphrases are "Dad gum!" and "Git-R-Done!" (his voice actor, Larry the Cable Guy's signature phrase).
BioRadiator Springs his whole life. In his younger days, he used to be a real handful around town, playing pranks on everyone, tippin' tractors, saying inappropriate things at the wrong time, but luckily he's matured a lot since then.
Mater's a good ol' boy with a big heart and the only tow truck in Radiator Springs. He runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage and manages the local impound lot. Though a little rusty, he has the quickest towrope in Carburetor County and is always the first to lend a helping hand. Mater sees the bright side of any situation. He's the heart and soul of Radiator Springs, and he doesn't have a mean bolt in his chassis.
Keep an eye on Mater, he tends to take things a little too literally.
Mater is a friendly tow truck with buckteeth. He speaks with a thick Southern redneck accent with a dash of hillbilly twang and frequently uses incorrect syntax.
Mater runs Tow Mater Towing & Salvage. Mater is one of the first to befriend and support Lightning throughout his adventure in Radiator Springs. During the film, Mater shows Lightning how to do Tractor Tippin' and how to drive backwards without crashing by using rearview mirrors, which Lightning uses to counter Chick Hicks' dirty racing in the Piston Cup race. In the end, Lightning gives Mater an opportunity to fly in a Dinoco helicopter like he always wanted, saying to Sally that Mater is his new best friend.
Mater is also capable of racing, as well as being the (self-proclaimed) world's best backwards driver. He attributes his skill to his rear-view mirrors and his own philosophy: "Don't need to know where I'm going, just need to know where I've been."
In the video game, he first appears as the announcer in the cut-scene for Radiator Springs Grand Prix. Then he was in the cut-scene for Tractor Tippin', where Lightning wakes him up and asks him to go Tractor Tippin', but Mater asks why he would want to go, because he thought Lightning was scared of Frank. But they went, anyway. In the actual game, you play as him.
Later in Chapter 3, Lightning will come to Mater's Junkyard to ask Mater if he can do the backwards driving lesson. Mater says he could do it now. Mater teaches Lightning some rules, like turn your rear tires like they were your front ones. Also, turn right to go left. To make sure he gets it, Mater sets up a game where Lightning must follow him around a course and drive backwards when he does. After the practice, Mater says he did good, and even tries to spell his last name backwards by calling him "Mr. Gintil." However, that spells "Litnig," not "Lightning," when it's spelled forward.
Later, Mater was in front of the Rustbucket Stadium banging himself into a wall to get ready for his big race. Lightning drives up, wondering what was happening. Mater tells Lightning what's happening. Then, Tommy Joe drives up and bangs into Lightning, which was his way of saying, "Hi." Mater asks Lightning to help them for the race, but Lightning decides to sit this one out. After the race Mater earns a boost tank as a prize, and he gives it to Lightning.
Mater is now the main character of his own short.
One night, Mater plays a series of scary pranks on his friends until a blue light begins to haunt him. Mater's final prank is his most successful: Lightning sees a tow hook hanging from behind a stack of cans and, assuming that Mater is hiding behind it, approaches to foil the prank. Mater then jumps off of the roof of Flo's café, screaming behind Lightning, who then is startled and knocks over the pile of cans, revealing that the hook was actually from the sign of Mater's place of business, thus a decoy. Everyone starts to laugh at Lightning for falling for such a trick, and Mater says that Lightning looks like he's seen "the Ghostlight".
Sheriff tells Mater not to mock the Ghostlight, a character of urban legend amongst the cars. The Ghostlight is a glowing orb of blue, translucent light that haunts Radiator Springs, and hates nothing more than the sound of clanking metal -- a sound frequently made by Mater's rickety shell. Sheriff continues to tell the story of a young couple lost in the area, whose only remains were "two out-of-state license plates". He then concludes with an overly cheerful "Well, g'night!". The population of Radiator Springs then leaves within seconds, leaving a very nervous Mater all by himself in the dark.
As he reaches his garage, he is first frightened by a "lightning bug" (a tiny flying Volkswagen Beetle with bright headlights). As he relaxes, a bright blue glow suddenly appears behind Mater and he goes into a blind panic, driving around in a frenzy, first going along the main road, then going through the tractor field (past Frank), then around Willy's Butte, and doing a lock-strafe move after that, until he is exhausted. However, the Ghostlight was revealed to be a glowing blue lantern to Mater's towing cable hung up by Lightning and Guido.
The short ends with Mater finally collapsing on the road with the rest of the folks surrounding him, revealing the joke to him as retribution for the pranks he did to them. The credits roll and after them, there is a closing shot where the frightened Mater finds he has a huge construction vehicle behind him, snarling and carrying the license plate "Banshee." However, Mater doesn't realize who it is and warns it of the Screamin' Banshee before driving off, bidding the Banshee good night.
Mater is now the protagonist in his own TV series. Each tale begins with Mater telling a story of something he has done in the past.
In the story, Mater finds himself in an inescapable predicament.
When Lightning questions Mater over whether the events in the story actually occurred, Mater responds, "Don't you remember? You was there, too!", and continues the story including Lightning's sudden participation.
The shorts end with Mater leaving the scene, often followed by characters or references to the story that was being told, putting up a possibility that the story might be real.
Mater returns as the main protagonist.
In the now popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Cheerful, honest and loyal to a fault, Mater rushes to his best friend’s defense, which ultimately lands the off-duty Lightning in an international racing exhibition: the World Grand Prix. When Lightning invites Mater to come along as a member of his pit crew, Mater leaves Carburetor County for the first time ever.Not long after their arrival in Tokyo, Mater learns that the world outside of Radiator Springs is decidedly different and its newfangled ways may take some getting used to. But when he’s mistaken for an American secret agent, he falls into an intriguing adventure of his own. Caught between supporting his best friend on a globe-trotting racing competition and his new role in international espionage, Mater ends up in an explosive chase through the streets of Tokyo and Europe alongside a team of British spies and international bad guys.
Just before the end of the film The Queen knights Mater for his bravery.
Mater appears in the first Cars level, played by one of the kids in the park. He tells the player that Lightning McQueen is looking for a new car in his racing team, which is the player. But first, the player has got to try out, so he/she has to pass the Tow Mater Fancy Drivin' Challenge. Mater says that he designed the course specially so that only the best drivers in the whole world can finish it. McQueen says that he's got great confidence, and that if Mater says you're good enough, that's good enough for him, before Mater says that it's what the Tow Mater Fancy Drivin' Challenge says, not himself. The player follows Mater through the course before in the ending cutscene, Mater says to the player that he/she is awesome, before McQueen says that Mater's right and that was some of the best driving he's ever seen, before saying to the player that they're going to be a great addition to his team. Holley Shiftwell then appears saying that was a impressive display. Mater then introduces the player to Holley, explaining that she's his girlfriend. Holley then says that their friend, the player, would make an excellent racer, but an even better spy, and that they have a mission that is perfect for the player's speed and talents, before saying that is if McQueen doesn't mind waiting, before Mater says that McQueen can wait, before he asks McQueen if he will. Mater is heard in the other levels when the player unlocks a new goal that has the player spinning near a semicircle of coins to collect all of them, which he reminds the player to get ready to spin.
Mater plays a big role in Cars Land. He owns his own ride called Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. In that ride, Mater will be singing songs (like for examples: Let's Go Driving) to keep the tractors dancing. When the tractors are dancing, they will pull their carts, which have riders in them.
Mater also appears in Radiator Springs Racers. First, Sheriff will call Mater to take you to the race. Mater does that, but takes you tractor tipping. After you go tractor tipping, You will wake up Frank, who will chase you and Mater away. Then that's when you arrive in Radiator Springs.
After the race, Mater will say that you did a good job. He might say that "you beat McQueen!" McQueen replies to Mater by saying that he wasn't racing. However, Mater says that you can't win a race if you don't race in it. Some other phrases are used. Mater also is seen driving around Radiator Springs, where you can meet him and talk to him.
Mater reappeares in Cars 3 as the supporting character.
- Rescue Squad Mater
- Mater the Greater
- El Materdor
- Tokyo Mater
- Unidentified Flying Mater
- Heavy Metal Mater
- Monster Truck Mater
- Moon Mater
- Mater Private Eye
- Air Mater
- Time Travel Mater
- Cars: The Video Game
- Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures
- Cars Mater-National Championship
- Cars Race-O-Rama
- Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales: The Video Game
- Cars 2: The Video Game
- Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure
- Disney Infinity
- "Cars: Fast As Lightning"
- Cars Daredevil Garage
- Cars 3: Driven to Win
- Cars Land
- Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Cars Quatre Roues Rallye
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
- Cars Race Rally
- Disney On Ice
Mater speaks with a somewhat high-pitched thick rural Southern accent, has a whistle dry lisp to his voice, and frequently misspells words. He is very optimistic and often at times forgetful. He has got the biggest heart and is sweet to a fault. He also has true unconditional or agape love for others and just needs true friendship from other people. He can be extremely scared or skittish at times because of his sensitive nature, and from being constantly and harshly abused by Bubba in his past.
Although he may seem silly and dim-witted, he has a vast encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles, engines, and towing, and is a fiercely loyal friend to anyone who is willing to give him a chance at true friendship. He unknowingly bestows wisdom upon others at times. He is also beyond funny without realizing it. He also likes to joke about different things, like saying Sally is his fiancée when she is really not. Although he is not the smartest car in Radiator Springs, he makes up for it for his extreme heart and loyalty. He has got the biggest heart more than anyone in town. He is extremely friendly, especially towards Holley Shiftwell, Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera.
- Zero to 60: 10 seconds
- Engine: V-8 with two-barrel carburetor
- Horsepower: 200
- Top speed: 90 mph
Weaponry And GadgetsIn Cars 2, since Mater plays a role in a spy affair, he is added several gadgets, however not as spectacular as those of Finn McMissile or Holley Shiftwell. Since Mater is not familiar with his gadgets, they are activated by voice commands.
- Deployable machine guns: One on each side. Deployed when Mater uses his catchphrase "Dad-gum."
- Twin rockets: Give Mater a powerful boost, and can serve to direct himself when gliding.
- Deployable paraglider: Of an orange color, it permits Mater to glide in the air. When used with his rockets, this gadget permits Mater to direct himself more precisely.
- Deployable holographic disguise emitter: Disguised as the flashing light on the roof. The device instantaneously makes a disguise all around Mater, and may even simulate supplementary volume or hide some.
- "No need to know where I'm goin', just need to know where I've been."
- Another one of Mater's catchphrases is "Git-R-Done!", which is Larry the Cable Guy's (who is the voice of Mater) infamous catchphrase.
- Mater's license plate is A113, a recurring joke in Pixar films.
- Mater, along with other countless versions of him, have been released in the Cars Die-Cast Line and the Cars Toons Die-Cast Line.
- Mater and Ivan are the only characters in Cars 2 that are tow trucks.
- During the credit roll of Cars 2, Mater's passport scrolls past. His birth date is listed on it. It turns out to be the same as John Lasseter’s: January 12, 1957.
- During the last section of the World Grand Prix, Mater is described as the World's greatest backwards driver.
- In the credits it is shown that he is knighted on Tuesday, July 15, 2011. However, 15 July in 2011 was not on Tuesday in real life, it was Friday.
- Head of story and co-director Joe Ranft (who died in 2005) got the inspiration of Mater after seeing an old abandoned rusty tow truck during a research trip to Route 66. The character was named after and partly based on Douglas "Mater" Keever, a racing fan the Pixar team met during their research trips, and also draws inpiration from several other people the team encountered.
- In Spanish, he is called "Mate."
- In French, he is called "Martin."
- In Polish, Mater is called "Złomek" (z-wom-eh-k).
- In German, he is called "Hook".
- In Dutch, he is called "Takel".
- In Italian, he is called "Cricchetto".
- In Swedish, he is called "Bärgarn".
- In Ukrainian, he is called "Сирник" (Syrnyk).
- Many fans speculate that Mater is somewhere on the autism spectrum. This is due to his tendency to self-stimulate, his encyclopedia-like knowledge, his sensory processing issues, his inability to socialize, and his blindness to sarcasm.