Disney Wiki
Disney Wiki

Doc Hudson (also known as The Fabulous Hudson Hornet) is the deuteragonist of the 2006 DisneyPixar animated film Cars and Lightning McQueen's mentor in racing.

The character passed away off-screen before the events of Cars 2, due to the death of his voice actor, Paul Newman in 2008.


Doc Hudson was once one of the most famous race cars in history; he won three Piston Cups in a row and still holds the record for most wins in a single season. However, it all changed for Doc when he was involved in a terrible crash during the final lap of the 1954 Piston Cup championship race, which saw him put out for the season. Upon his return, he was received with a complete absence of fanfare and told that he was a has-been who had been passed up for the next rookie in line. He kept a newspaper article on the career-ending crash as a reminder to never return to the sporting career that nearly killed him.

When I finally got put together, I went back expecting a big welcome. Know what they said? "You're history." Moved onto the next rookie standing in line. There was a lot left in me. I never got a chance to show 'em.
―Doc tells Lightning why he left racing.

Jaded by the racing scene, he left that world, apparently taking out time to study medicine. The famous #51 disappeared into obscurity, leaving many wondering where he had gone. He instead opted for a simple navy blue paint job and the life of a physician in the tiny town of Radiator Springs, the "shining Gemstone" of the Mother Road - Route 66. He runs Doc's Clinic as a "doctor of internal combustion". As times changed and the town got bypassed in favor of Interstate 40, Doc stayed on, even when the population had dwindled to a meager dozen or so residents. He is respected, well-loved, and serves not only as of the town's physician but as its judge as well. However, nobody in the town had any idea of his past as a racer; he was just an ordinary Hudson Hornet to them.

Official Description[]

"Doc is a car of few words but many talents. He not only serves as the town judge he's also Radiator Springs' resident doctor. Doc is respected and admired by the townsfolk for the way he looks out for their health and tends to their aches and pains. No one knows too much about Doc before he came to town. He keeps his private life private, but if you've got a bad spark plug or a rattle in your engine, his door is always open."[1]


Doc is portrayed as a grumpy old man who wants to leave his racing career behind after the painful rejection of the racing world, and stay out of the public line. Doc enjoys peace and quiet, and loves the town of Radiator Springs and its citizens. However, despite his fondness for his friends, he never told them of his past of being a race car as he wanted to forget and distance himself from anything that reminded him of his past. Even though Doc never told his friends about his past, he did feel shame and regret for lying to them about who he used to be.

When Lightning McQueen arrives in Radiator Springs and accidentally rips up the main road, Doc's initial reaction is highly negative, as the rookie race car was a reminder of Doc's past and the racing world he left behind. Hesitant to kick him out of town, he decides to sentence McQueen to community service by fixing the road, causing their relationship to be strained at first. This is when Doc revealed his tragic past to McQueen, explaining why he wanted to have him leave town at first, as well as that the trophies he won are just nothing but "a bunch of empty cups" during the second half of the film. However, at one point, Doc did try to be friendly with McQueen, giving him well-meaning advice on how to turn on dirt, which McQueen ignored. When McQueen decides to stay in Radiator Springs after fixing the road, Doc took it upon himself to get rid of McQueen by informing the press of his whereabouts, believing it to be best for everyone when it was really only to satisfy himself after Sally calls him out. However, upon seeing how sad his friends were to see McQueen leave, Doc realized how important and well-loved McQueen became to all of them. Doc then immediately makes amends by informing his friends of his former racing career and became Lightning's crew chief to support him in his race, even realizing that the race could be worse due to Chick Hicks. Doc was later impressed when he found out that McQueen conceded the Piston Cup to Chick Hicks so he can help The King finish his last race, having realized the lesson he taught McQueen about how people quit on him following his crash that forced him into retirement.

After becoming McQueen's mentor, Doc showed who he truly was on the inside: a caring, supportive grandfather-like figure as he finally came to terms with his past and was at peace with the former sport he loves doing.

Physical appearance[]

Doc Hudson is based on the real 1951 Hudson Hornet, which is where his name, number and paint scheme came from.

During his Piston Cup racing days, Doc was painted in a dark shade of blue, with a chrome bumper and grille. On his doors were the number 51 painted in yellow, as well as the words Fabulous Hudson Hornet painted in both white and yellow. He also had the words Twin-H-Power on both sides of his hood, and the Piston Cup logo beneath them. While Doc had red racing wheels during his racing career, official artwork seems to suggest that he had chrome rims at one point or another.

After arriving in Radiator Springs to set up his own medical clinic, Doc attempted to hide his past by removing most of his decals, leaving only his dark blue coat of paint and the his chrome grille, bumper, and lining.

Powers and abilities[]

Doc was considered the best dirt track racer of all time. Despite his age, Doc can still race with great skill, with incredible statistics, even being able to compete with other Piston Cup race cars in Cars: The Video Game. Drifting is one of Doc's most well-known abilities, being able to easily take turns on dirt tracks.

Doc also had medical experience that was handy even before he got his doctorate in internal combustion, and it was that knowledge that inspired him to go to medical school. Additionally, Doc serves as the judge for Radiator Springs, having the knowledge to serve in a courtroom.




Doc meeting rookie race car Lightning McQueen.

One day, when the town of Radiator Springs is damaged with its road being destroyed, Doc comes into the courtroom, angrily swearing to put the one responsible for destroying his town in jail. When he sits on the judge's raised desk, Doc becomes shocked to see that the troublemaker is a race car named Lightning McQueen and immediately orders him to get out of town. However, when the town's attorney, Sally Carrera, comes into court and tries to persuade Doc to have McQueen fix the road, Doc refuses, saying that the last thing the town needs is a race car. Doc reluctantly changes his mind when Sally successfully convinces the townsfolk to have McQueen where Doc sentences McQueen to community service, much to McQueen's dismay.


Doc "challenging" McQueen to a race.

Doc introduces McQueen to the town's re-paving machine Bessie and tells him that'll take five days to finish the road, much to McQueen's distress as he wants to get to California in time for the Piston Cup tie-breaker race. However, McQueen cannot leave town after having his boot taken off as all of his fuel was taken out when he was knocked out the other night. Bored and frustrated with the task, Lightning decides to rush it and finishes the road within an hour. However, when Mater informs Doc, he discovers that the road is far from smooth, and is nothing but a mess of asphalt. After the residents confront Lightning, Doc orders him to tear up the road and redo it (as he points out that the deal was he must fix the road, not worsen it), but his cocky response inspires Doc to trick him by challenging him to a dirt track race in exchange for his freedom to teach him a lesson. At Willy's Butte, Doc and Lightning have their competition; a simple one-lap race around the Willy's Butte oval, which has one banked turn, but one sharp turn without any type of wall or barrier. As Luigi and Guido start the race, the audience stares in confusion as they see Doc standing still at the finish line while Lightning speeds away. Doc then grabs Mater along and everyone watches Lightning fall into a cactus pit, as Doc correctly anticipates that the racecar who was too used to asphalt would not do well on the dirt track and lose control on the final turn. After Doc mocks him by saying that he drives like he fixes roads and calls him lousy, he tells Mater to fish McQueen out with his tow hook. As he prepares to go to sleep, Doc watches with smugness as Lightning miserably began to work through the night.

The next day, everyone wakes up to find that Lightning had paved a good road up to the intersection, at least half of it; Sally comments that Doc should have thrown the rookie into a cactus patch a lot sooner. Doc then finds Sheriff watching Lightning attempting to make the last turn around Willy's Butte, having run out of asphalt in the middle of the night. Doc volunteers to take over watching Lightning and gives him advice by telling him to "turn right to go left", which McQueen simply passes off as nonsense from a "crazy grandpa car", so Doc leaves just as Lightning fails to make the turn again using that method.


Doc becomes bitter when McQueen discovers his past.

On the third day, Doc operates on Sheriff when Lightning rudely bursts into his clinic, wanting to ask for his gas ration. Doc orders him to wait by Flo's V8 Café. Soon after, he finds Lightning in his garage, having discovered his identity as the Hudson Hornet. He becomes very bitter when Lightning discovers his past. Doc refuses to speak of his past and calls his trophies "a bunch of empty cups". Doc then watches and eavesdrops when McQueen tries to explain to the townsfolk Doc's past, only for them to not believe as Doc never told them, something Doc starts to regret not doing.


Doc explaining why he left racing behind.

Later that day, Doc puts on his racing tires to take a lap around Willy's Butte and although he was hesitant at first, he drives the lap and successfully makes the turn on the dirt track. But when he realizes that Lightning is eavesdropping on him, he promptly drives back to his shelter. Lightning follows him and tries to comment on how incredible his driving was, but Doc refuses to speak to McQueen and angrily orders him away when McQueen says they are more alike than he originally thought. When McQueen asks why Doc would quit at the top of his game, Doc shows him the newspaper detailing his crash in 1954 and related how the sport rejected him after he recovered which made him cynical, making him vow to never return to the racing world after his career nearly killed him. When Lightning insists that he is not like the sports cars who rejected him as well, Doc wants to know if he had ever cares about anyone besides himself and tells him to name him one time and he'll take it all back. When the rookie does not answer that question, Doc tells him that the Radiator Springs residents look out for each other and he does not want them reliant on a selfish car like him. Lightning then retorts that Doc is no better than him, by not opening up about his past to his friends. Instead of countering, Doc angrily tells him to finish the road and leave town.


Doc supporting McQueen at his race as his crew chief.

After Lightning finishes fixing the road he damaged and decides to stay for a while, Doc is unable to bear having him around any longer and calls the news media to immediately take him away to the Piston Cup, declaring that it is best for everyone, but seeing how disheartened everyone was by his unplanned departure after Sally calls him out on what he did and everyone turns their backs on him, Doc realizes that Lightning had become more important to them than he thought. Regretting his decision, Doc eventually admits the truth to everyone about his race car days and he took back his old #51 colors to become Lightning's crew chief, bringing nearly the entire town (excluding Sally, Red, and Lizzie -- who watch the race on TV) to the Piston Cup to support and serve Lightning as his pit crew (and in an ironic twist of fate, finally receives that long-awaited fanfare for his return). When McQueen chooses to forfeit the race so he can help The King finish his last race after Chick Hicks caused the latter to crash, Doc smiles, expressing how proud he was of Lightning for his sportsmanship, even reciting what he said about the Piston Cup.

In the end, Doc opts to keep his racing colors and becomes a trainer, mentor, as well as a friend to Lightning as Radiator Springs becomes McQueen's new home and racing headquarters, putting the town back on the map. Just like Lightning, Doc learns some lessons: friendship, promises, how greed affects others, and that secrets can't be kept forever no matter how long you try to keep them.

Mater and the Ghostlight[]

Doc appears in the short film, where he scares Mater into believing in a monster called the Screamin' Banshee, which actually ends up existing.

Cars 2[]

Doc died prior to events of Cars 2, though he can be seen on posters of his museum. In memory of him, the Piston Cup was renamed the Hudson Hornet Memorial Piston Cup and got a new logo with an image of the Hudson Hornet and the words "Hudson Hornet" above it. It appears prominently on Lightning McQueen's hood. Doc’s office was converted into the Hudson Hornet Racing Museum. When Lightning shows Mater his new Piston Cup, he mentions how he knew Doc always said Piston Cups were just old cups and Mater tells him that Doc would have been real proud of him for winning his latest race. He is also mentioned a few times during the race in Tokyo. Darrell Cartrip mentions him as being one of the greatest dirt racers of all time while talking about McQueen when he and all the other racers are lining up at the starting line and when the racers reach the dirt section, Mater tells Lightning to do what Doc has taught him (turn right to go left), which he does and takes the lead. Another allusion to Doc is made in the end during the Radiator Spring Grand Prix when all the racers drive up the side of the canyon where Willy’s Butte is located just like how Doc used to do.

The circumstances of how Doc died are still unknown, especially considering the fact he's a vehicle.

John Lasseter was at first adamant in 2007 that Paul Newman would return to voice Doc Hudson in Cars 2, even though he had announced his retirement from acting. After Newman's death in 2008, Lasseter said that they would see how the story goes with Doc Hudson. Story supervisor Nathan Stanton said: "We felt, after really tooling around with the idea of him being in the film and how do we properly use him, it just felt right that we should have his character have passed away also [as Paul Newman]." John Lasseter said that he realized "Doc Hudson was Paul Newman. The character was written after listening to him talk about his passion for racing." and that "We pay homage to Doc Hudson, which is paying homage to Paul Newman".

Cars 3[]


Doc in a flashback.

After Lightning McQueen is forced out of the racing world following an accident during a Piston Cup race, he looks to his former mentor for inspiration. His voice is provided by archived records of Paul Newman for a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks depict Doc racing with old friends and competitors, such as Louise Nash and Junior Moon. In one sequence, Doc performs a flip move to overcome another racer. McQueen's student, Cruz Ramirez, utilizes this technique to win the Florida 500. It is revealed that Doc crashed at the Daytona Beach race from losing control one lap after taking the lead. Doc first appears in a flashback when he is talking to McQueen about real racing. When Lightning meets Smokey, Louise, River Scott, and Junior Moon, they tell him stories of Doc in the old days. Doc did not let the new rookies stop him from coming in first and beating them even if they were faster than him. Lightning thought Doc was not happy like he was after his crash, but Smokey took him to his garage and showed him all the things Doc sent him since he began training Lightning. During this, McQueen has flashbacks of his old mentor, including when Doc was twirling stuff on his nose and told him to take notes on it, when he and Doc were racing and Doc smiled and laughed at him when he fell into the Cactus again. Smokey tells him that, while nothing was ever the same after his crash, Lightning is what made him so happy about racing again. At the end Lightning now acts as a racer and crew chief to Cruz and Dinoco/Rust-eze. Lightning decides to try something new and takes a new paint job inspired by Doc, having an "old-school" look to him now and races with Cruz like he and Doc used to do. Cruz also adopted Doc's old racing number, 51, from Lightning's suggestion, as he felt Doc would've wanted Cruz to have it.

The Incredibles[]

A blue Hudson Hornet (supposedly a non-anthropomorphic Doc Hudson) can be seen in The Incredibles during the battle against Syndrome and his Omnidroid v.10. Even though Cars was released after The Incredibles, development of the film was already well under way. This could be a reference to Pixar's next film, Cars where one of the characters is an anthropomorphic Hudson Hornet.

Disney Parks[]

Doc Hudson RPR

Doc Hudson in Radiator Springs Racers.

Doc Hudson appears in Radiator Springs Racers at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. Set between the two films to allow for his presence, Doc Hudson serves as the crew chief for the guests, appearing in Audio-Animatronic form before the race to offer advice as well as providing radio chatter in the cars while they are out on the track.

His medical office and the museum established inside of it are also part of the dining complex for Cars Land's version of Flo's V8 Café.

During every Halloween season since 2017, an ofrenda of Doc was set up in Ramone's House of Body Art.

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy[]

In Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy, Doc appears in various parts.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Doc Hudson.



A Hudson Hornet in The Incredibles.

  • Doc Hudson is a 1951 Hudson Hornet.
  • A blue Hudson Hornet can be seen in The Incredibles, an Easter egg appearance of Doc Hudson.[2] Even though Cars was released after The Incredibles, the development of the film was well under way.
  • The Hudson Hornet was one of the first cars used by drivers at the beginning of NASCAR.
  • The story of the Fabulous Hudson Hornet is based on real-life events. Many Hornets used in NASCAR at that time actually used that quote on their body paint design. Hudson won the championship from 1951-53.
  • Doc and Stanley are the only two vehicles in the entire series to have died off-screen. Stanley died before the events of Cars.
  • Despite his grumpy attitude toward McQueen during the first half of the film, Doc Hudson might seem close to being an antagonist, though the reason why his attitude is grumpy at first is that he originally wanted McQueen out of town because of his memory of his 1954 wreck that caused him to be put out of season before being replaced by a rookie, before deciding to sentence him to community service by having McQueen fix the road. Nevertheless, he begins warming up to McQueen and becoming his teacher later on, after teaching him a lesson about "empty cups" and that friendship is important, which resulted in McQueen changing into a better person by giving up the Piston Cup so he can help The King finish his last race.
  • Doc Hudson honking his horn to have a court order seems to be the car equivalent of a judge banging a gavel, though it is never revealed if he honks his horn when a case is closed.
  • Doc's appearance in the Radiator Springs Racers ride at Cars Land implies that the events of the ride take place before the events of Cars 2. However, this is contradicted when, while Lightning and Mater congratulate the guests after the race, the former occasionally mentions the time he raced in the World Grand Prix.
    • All of Doc's lines for the ride are performed by Corey Burton and this was his last time voicing the character to date.
  • Doc Hudson started racing in the Piston Cup series in 1951, the same year his car model debuted: this technically would make him, in real life, the true first rookie winning the Piston Cup.
  • His license plate is 51HHMD, which is a reference to his year and track number (51), model (Hudson Hornet) and profession (medical doctor).
  • Doc was Paul Newman's last acting role.
    • Doc would have appeared in later films if Newman hadn't died.
  • Doc's blue eyes are based on that Paul Newman also had blue eyes.


  1. "Car Finder" (supplementary material on Blu-ray Disc release of Cars). 2007. Blu-ray Disc. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2007.
  2. Disney Pixar Facebook Account

External links[]

http://pixar.fandom This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from the Pixar Wiki. The list of authors can be seen in the page revision history (view authors). As with Disney Wiki, the text of the Pixar Wiki is available under the CC-BY-SA license.
v - e - d
Films: Cars (video/soundtrack) • Cars 2 (video/soundtrack) • Cars 3 (video/soundtrack)

Shorts: Mater and the GhostlightMiss Fritter's Racing Skoool
Shows: Cars ToonsCars: Racing Sports NetworkPixar Popcorn (Unparalleled Parking/Dancing with the Cars) • Cars On The Road (soundtrack)
Video Games: Cars: The Video GameCars 2: The Video GameCars: Mater-National ChampionshipCars: Race-O-RamaThe World of Cars OnlineCars: Radiator Springs AdventuresKinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar AdventureDisney InfinityCars: Fast as LightningCars: Lightning LeagueCars 3: Driven to WinDisney Emoji BlitzLEGO The IncrediblesDisney Wonderful Worlds
Books: The Art of Cars/2/3
Cancelled: Beyond the SkyMetro

Disney Parks
Cars Land (soundtrack) • Disney's Art of Animation ResortCars: Road TripCars Quatre Roues RallyeDisney Animation BuildingLuigi's Flying TiresLuigi's Rollickin' RoadstersMater's Junkyard JamboreePLAY!Pixar Pal-A-RoundRadiator Springs Racers

Entertainment: Lightning McQueen's Racing AcademyMoteurs... Action! Stunt Show SpectacularPixar Playtime Pals
Restaurants: Cozy Cone MotelFillmore's Taste-InFlo's V8 Cafe
Shops: Radiator Springs CuriosRamone's House of Body ArtSarge's Surplus Hut
Parades: Mickey's New Year's Eve ParadePaint The Night ParadePixar Play Parade
Fireworks: Disney EnchantmentHappily Ever AfterIlluminate! A Nighttime CelebrationTogether Forever: A Pixar Nighttime SpectacularWonderful World of AnimationWorld of Color: Celebrate!
Summer: Club Mouse BeatLightning McQueen Live!

Cars: Lightning McQueenMaterSally CarreraMackStrip WeathersChick HicksMia and TiaHarvDoc HudsonFloRamoneSheriffLuigiGuidoSargeFillmoreRedLizzieStanleyTex DinocoLynda WeathersJay LimoTuner CarsBessieFrankTractorsJerry Recycled Batteries

Cars 2: Finn McMissileHolley ShiftwellTony TrihullRod "Torque" RedlineTomberMiles AxlerodProfessor ZündappGremAcerFrancesco BernoulliUncle TopolinoMama TopolinoJeff GorvetteLewis HamilitonRaoul ÇaRouleMiguel CaminoNigel GearsleyShu Todoroki
Cars 3: Cruz RamírezJackson StormSterlingMiss FritterChase RacelottDanny SwervezBubba WheelhouseBobby SwiftSmokeyJunior, River, and LouiseTim Treadless
Mater and the Ghostlight: Screamin' Banshee
Cars Toons: KabutoBig DSkipper RileySparkySandy DunesBlue GritIdle ThreatShifty Sidewinder
Cars on the Road: IvyMatoRoad Rumblers
Video Games: CandiceStinger

Cars Toons

Mater's Tall Tales: Rescue Squad MaterMater the GreaterEl MaterdorTokyo MaterUnidentified Flying MaterMonster Truck MaterHeavy Metal MaterMoon MaterMater Private EyeAir MaterTime Travel Mater
Tales From Radiator Springs: HiccupsBuggedSpinningThe Radiator Springs 500½
Cars on the Road: Dino ParkLights OutSalt FeverThe LegendShow TimeTrucksB-MovieRoad RumblersGettin' Hitched
Canceled Episodes: To Protect and Serve

Cars: Real GoneLife is a HighwayOur TownMcQueen and SallySh-BoomRoute 66Find YourselfBehind the CloudsMy Heart Would Know

Cars 2: You Might ThinkPolyrhythmMon Cœur Fait Vroum (My Heart Goes Vroom)Collision of WorldsNobody's Fool
Cars 3: Run That RaceKing's HighwayGlory DaysRide
Cars on the Road: Cars on the RoadTRUCKS
Others: Free RideWelcome to Radiator SpringsRadiator RockMambo ItalianoStop in the Name of LoveRiding in My Car (Car Car Song)Low Rider (Espanol Fantasma Mix)Junkyard JamboreeBig BulldozerTow Mater (The One You Want to Call)Mater's Square DanceLet's Go Driving

DinocoTuner CarsWorld Grand PrixLemons · Next-Gen Racers
Radiator SpringsLuigi's Casa Della TiresRamone's House of Body ArtCozy Cone MotelFillmore's Taste-InFlo's V8 CaféRadiator Springs CuriosRadiator Springs Drive-In TheatreWheel Well MotelLondon, EnglandParis, FrancePorto CorsaTokyoCaliforniaLos Angeles International SpeedwayMotor Speedway of the SouthOrnament ValleyBig BenTop Down TruckstopBig BentleyHollywoodU.S. Route 66
Piston CupAllinolElectromagnetic Pulse EmitterPixar BallA113Pizza Planet Truck
See Also
The Science Behind PixarPixar in a Box