Friday, 30 June 2006 17:00

Characters in Cars Given Real World Life

Written by Autobody News Staff

Has anyone ever heard of making a real car from a cartoon? The stars of Disney/Pixar's computer-animated feature "CARS" have actually made the leap from movie screen to the real world, thanks to famed movie car creator and customizer Eddie Paul. 

The life-size models of hotshot rookie racecar Lightning McQueen, Sally Carrera, a snazzy Prosche 911, and Tow Mater, the big-hearted tow truck are the first-ever cars built from digital animation files.

"We had a great time making these cars in the movie, so we thought 'wouldn't it be cool if these cars were real,'" says Bob Pauley, one of two production designers for the animated feature. "So we got ahold of Eddie Paul."

Eddie Paul's crew worked around the clock to breathe life into the pixels and polygons. When they began building Speedster Lightning McQueen, for example, it began as a Trans Am, then was transformed from the ground up. "We took the whole body off the car, so this car is made of 100 different pieces," explains Paul. "We glued the plastic together like you would build a small model car. When we were all done, we added the body filler, sanded, primed and painted it."

To match Lightning's racy bright red finish, Disney/Pixar specified PPG paint and BMW's "Hellrot Red" color formula. The system used was Deltron DBC basecoat and DCU 2010 2.1 speed clear.

For more than 30 years, Eddie Paul and his team at Customs by Eddie Paul, a division of E. P. Industries, El Segundo, California, have been fabricating stunt vehicles, show vehicles, props and special effects for Hollywood's major film and television studios. Some of their well-known creations include the Flamed Merc seen in the hit movie "Grease" and the ever-popular General Lee Dodge Charger from the original "Dukes of Hazzard" TV series.

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