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Not to be confused with the book.


Travel Back in Time to the Start of Radiator Springs with Mater

Time Travel Mater is the eleventh episode of the Cars Toons series. It officially aired on June 15, 2012.


Taking place after Cars 2, Lightning McQueen and Mater were in front of the Courthouse when Lizzie drives by. She says good morning to Lightning in a friendly way and to Mater in a very rude way, but she says it in a nicer way to the statue of Stanley. Lightning McQueen asks Mater how Lizzie and Stanley met. Mater replies by telling one of his stories, which "all started last week!"

The story starts with him putting up a new town sign with a clock on it. The sign falls on Mater, and the clock ends up on his nose. Mater sneezes, and then disappears.

He ends up inside the Tail Light Caverns. When he exits the caverns, he can't find the town, but he does see a car at a nearby spring. When Mater gets closer to the car, he discovers that it's Stanley! Stanley asks Mater if he needs a radiator cap. When Mater says no, Stanley leaves to go to California in search of customers. Mater realizes that if Stanley didn't stay, there wouldn't be a Radiator Springs in the future! So, he goes to the present with the other Mater watching, gets McQueen, and they both go back to the past, where Mater removes McQueen's radiator cap and calls out to Stanley, saying that there's a car (McQueen) that needs a radiator cap. So, Stanley gives McQueen a new radiator cap. Two cars that also need radiator caps enter the scene, and Stanley leads them to the spring, where the cars get a drink. Mater suggests that Stanley build a town right next to "this here radiator spring!" Stanley likes the idea and says that he's "on the trolley!" and even comes up with a name for the town right then and there: Radiator Springs. While Stanley was planning how to build the town, Mater and McQueen travel to the future to speed things up a bit.

Mater and McQueen then travel to 1927, where Stanley takes note of a Model T (which turns out to be Lizzie) that arrives in town. Lizzie breaks down, so Mater helps her out. Lizzie sees McQueen and appears to be falling in love with him, and Mater realizes that if Lizzie falls in love with McQueen, then she won't fall in love with Stanley, and then Stanley will leave town, and there'd be no Radiator Springs! But then Lizzie asks McQueen to get out of the way, revealing that she had her eye on Stanley, not McQueen, as Mater thought. McQueen introduces Lizzie and Stanley. Stanley took Lizzie to his spring so that she could get a drink. Then he took her to get a new radiator cap. Then, McQueen and Mater leave.

They reappear in Radiator Springs at the time that Lizzie and Stanley get married. After getting married, they went honeymooning at Comfy Caverns. Then, Mater and McQueen leave, and Mater finishes his story.

McQueen says that there's no such thing as time travel, but then Lizzie comes and thanks McQueen for introducing her and Stanley. Mater says, "And that's how you make history." at the end.


Home Media

DVD and Blu-ray

  • Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2


"Lightning McQueen: "So Mater, how did Lizzie and Stanley meet?"
Mater: "Oh! That d'ere's one of my favorite old stories about history! It all started last week."
Lightning McQueen: "Last week?!"
Mater: "Shush! Let me finish my story!""
Mater beginning to tell his story, [[{{{3}}}]]


  • This episode was the first, and so far, only short with Lizzie in it. It is also the first episode without any pitties and without Mia and Tia in it. This may be due to the fact that being modernized cars, they weren't even built/born yet.
  • This is the first Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales episode with Lightning McQueen in his World Grand Prix paint job. It's also the first time it's shown McQueen's hood opened showing his motor.
  • Tail Light Caverns, Stanley's early settlement, and Comfy Caverns, all places which had never been seen before, are sets that come from Cars Land. Their appearance in the short enables to establish them as canon, and perhaps to promote the attraction.
  • The short could have been based on the popular movie Back to the Future.
  • This is the first episode not to have Mater say something similar to his line, "Don't you remember? You was there too!"
  • This is the second Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales episode that has Mater's story in black and white. The first one is Mater Private Eye. However, in this episode, it's not Mater's whole story that's in black and white. After Mater drives out of the Tail Light Caverns, everything was in sepia tones. (A common color tone used in Flashback sequences). When he and McQueen time travel to when Stanley's early settlement was made, everything was in black and white. When Mater and McQueen time travel to when Lizzie and Stanley get married, everything had more color.
  • The alternating color schemes used in this story seem to be an homage to how photographs of each particular time period looked. This gave each era that Mater visits its own unique visual identity. It was likely implemented to avoid confusion.
  • When Mater puts the sign with the clock up, it then leans towards him and falls on him. This is a reference to in the first film when he tries to put his sign upright, but it leans to the other side; and in Cars 2 during the end credits when he puts the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright, but it then leans to the other side.
  • Also, the clock on Mater's nose is a reference to in Cars 2 when the Lemons planted a bomb on his nose.
  • The story of Radiator Springs seen in Time Travel Mater was used before the movie Cars.
  • Mater's "Whoa!" phrase when he notices he's in Tail Light Caverns is exactly the same "Whoa!' he says when he sees the moon for the first time in Moon Mater.
  • Mater screaming, "Whaaaaah!" when he sees that there would be no town in the future if Stanley doesn't stay is exactly the same scream he makes when he first sees the I-Screamer in Monster Truck Mater.
  • This episode shares a lot of similarities with the deleted Cars Toons episode, Backwards to the Forwards.
    • Mater gets the ability to time travel, but in different ways.
    • At one point in both shorts, Lightning tells Mater that there was no way he could time travel, but then a second Mater appears. Lightning freaks out by the second Mater in both of them, but Mater got freaked out only in Backwards to the Forwards.
    • Mater inspires Stanley to name the town Radiator Springs in both shorts. He does it purposely in Time Travel Mater, but by accident in Backwards to the Forwards.


Cars Toons
Rescue Squad MaterMater the GreaterEl MaterdorTokyo MaterUnidentified Flying MaterHeavy Metal MaterMonster Truck MaterMoon MaterMater Private EyeAir MaterTime Travel MaterHiccupsBuggedSpinningThe Radiator Springs 500½To Protect and Serve
Lightning McQueenTow MaterMia and TiaNurse KoriNurse GTORescue Squad AmbulanceRescue Squad TrooperRescue Squad ChoppersOrderly PittiesRedFloSargeFillmoreAl OftJay W.Lug and NuttyBuck the Tooth VendorProps McGeeChuyBulldozersPadreGuidoSheriffBoostDJWingoKabutoIto-SanTeki and PakiKabuto's NinjasPatokaaTokyo CranesYokozaChoKaa ReesuKyandeeManjiTansouBye Bye KarGeisha GirlsTabinuYojimboMikeSulleyChukiSukiHarumiLuigiMatorCorporal KimCaptain MunierAndy GearsdaleTractorsMrs. UFODr. Abschlepp WagenEddieRockyDexRodney the RockerFloRamoneVroomaroundus BugusI-ScreamerCaptain CollisionDr. Feel BadRasta CarianPaddy O'ConcreteDr. FrankenwagonDr. Frankenwagon's MonsterReferee PittyTormentor's Biggest FanImpala XIIIRogerBig DClydeStinkyCarmenClaudeSkipper RileySparkyFalcon HawksJudge DavisPropwash Junction BiplaneLizzieStanleySally CarreraVanMinnySandy DunesBlue GritIdle ThreatShifty SidewinderDidi 05Mike 07
Voice Cast
Keith FergusonLarry the Cable GuyLloyd SherrMach Tony KobayashiRobert ItoLori AlanJess HarnellKaren HuieJulia KatoElissa KnightSonoko KonishiHenry LeeDanny MannMickie McGowanBob PetersonJack AngelGeorge CarlinLindsey CollinsJohn CyganPaul EidingLaraine NewmanSteve PurcellJan RabsonMichael WallisTony ShalhoubGuido QuaroniBob ScottTorbin Xan BullockJosh CooleyAngus MacLaneCarol Bach-y-RitaJonathan AdamsStacy KeachBob BergenKatherine HelmondJohn Michael HigginsJenifer LewisPaul DooleyBonnie HuntJerome RanftJosh CooleyCheech MarinOwen WilsonWendi McLendon-CoveyAziz Ansari
John LasseterRob GibbsBobby PodestaScott MorseBobby RubioJustin WrightValerie LaPointeVictor NavoneMatthew LuhnKevin O'BrienDerek ThompsonDaniel ChongJim CapobiancoJeremy LaskyMary Alice DrummNicole Paradis Grindle