Ka-chow! Exciting news, Cars fans!
Today we are unveiling the Cars Artist Series, an all-new collection of finely detailed die cast designed by Disney Store under the guidance of renowned artists from Pixar Animation Studios. The Cars Artist Series Collection captures authentic automotive styling details and celebrates the beloved Cars franchise.
The first featured release includes both 1:18 and 1:43 scale vehicles designed by Jay Ward, Cars Legacy Guardian and Pixar creative consultant. For his design, Jay drew inspiration from traditional hot rods and land speed racers of the early 1950s to drive home the thrill of the race.
We were lucky enough to have Jay Ward answer some questions about his impressive career, passion for all things Cars and inspiration for the series. Read on below to get the inside look!
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Jay! To start, what is your official title with Pixar?
Of course! I am the Cars Legacy Guardian / Creative Director, Cars Franchise for Pixar.
Can you list out some of the projects you have worked on during your career with Pixar?
- Monsters, Inc. - Art Coordinator
- Cars - Manager, Character Team
- Ratatouille - Art Department Manager
- Ratatouille - End Credits Producer
- Presto - Associate Producer
- Cars 2 - Development Art Manager
- Brave - Art Department Manager
You mentioned in your official title "Cars Legacy Guardian." Can you explain your connection to CARS?
It all started with being in the Cars art department while it was in development. Early on, John Lasseter realized that I had a natural understanding of automobiles, which lead to consultation on "all things automotive" in the Cars films and shorts.
What is most special about the CARS franchise to you?
I love the fact that Cars started out as an animated film, and has grown into a worldwide franchise with a large fan base of all ages. Even the fact that we have our own "land" at Disney's California Adventure...I just think wow, this is something that is going to live on forever!
Let’s jump back a bit to the early years. When did your fascination and passion for the automotive world start? Where did it all begin?
My father was a car dealer. When I was a kid, I would lay on the floor with the Sunday classified newspaper and circle all of the classic cars. Then, I would look them up in the American Car Spotter's Guide by Tad Burness. This is where I first learned about all of the different makes and models of cars.
Were there any designers who especially inspired you?
Raymond Loewy, because he made the cross between industrial and automotive design, and Eugene "Bob" Gregorie, who designed the most beautiful Ford's, Mercurys and Lincoln's in the 1930's and 1940's.
We’re curious to know – what cars would we see parked in your driveway at home? And any dreams cars you have your eye on?
Currently, I have a 1929 Ford Model A Hot Rod, a 1939 Mercury Convertible (early Custom), a 1957 Pontiac Safari Wagon, and various motorcycles and scooters.
I have a list of dream cars! I keep it on my phone. My favorite car is the one I haven't found yet. There are so many that excite me, but someday I would like to own a 1970-73 Porsche 911.
Do you have any other hobbies on the side?
I love film, so I am in the process of writing a live action film and an animated short, and raising two kids with my wife.
Of course, we must ask – who is your favorite Pixar movie and/or character and why?
I'll ask you a question instead: Which one of your children is your favorite, and why?
Let’s get into your designs for the Cars Artist Series! What was your reaction to being asked to design a new paint job for Lightning McQueen, and where did you draw your inspiration from?
It was very exciting to be given the opportunity and creative freedom to make my own car design! I drew my inspiration from the love of land speed racing. Bonneville, El Mirage, and other land speed racing locations. I really tried to channel where hot rods meet land speed racing – what it would look like when those two worlds come together.
Your designs for the Cars Artist Series have a definite hot rod sensibility. Do you have an affinity for the hot rod?
Yes, as you will see from my favorite list of cars (below)! I built a Ford Model A from the ground up, and drove it to Bonneville and back.
Can you describe the design process for the Cars Artist Series? What challenges, if any, did you encounter during the process?
As soon as the discussions began with the designers at Disney Store, we began to pass sketches, photos and concepts back and forth to one another. It was a very collaborative and fun experience. Any time there is a number of participants collaborating on a project, there is a lot of 'back and forth'. But the more we collaborated, the better the car became.
What tools do you use to design and draw? Any secret techniques?
I use brushes on my iPad, and good old pencil and paper, of course!
If you could build an actual life-size, working model of any of these four cars in the series, which would it be?
It would be the Hero McQueen, because that's the one I would actually like to take down to Bonneville and run on the salt flats!
Well, there you have it! A behind-the-scenes look at the talent and creativity of Jay Ward and the first Cars Artist Series collection. Be sure to check back for more inside info on all of Disney Store’s great product offerings, and take a look at Jay's Top 50 dream cars list below!
*The Cars Artist Series is available online at DisneyStore.com and in select Disney Store locations.
Jay's Top 50 Dream Cars
1. 1965 Buick Rivera GS
2. 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix
3. 1956/57 Continental Mark II
4. 1961 Lincoln Continental sedan
5. 1957 Corvette (f.i.) 4 speed
6. 1963 Corvette coupe
7. 1955 Chrysler 300
8/9. 1932 Ford Vicky & Roadster
10. 1936 Ford 3 window coupe
11. 1939 Lincoln Zephyr coupe
12. 1939 Ford DeLuxe coupe
13. 1949 Mercury coupe
14. 1949 Cadillac sedanette
15. 49-52 Olds Rocket 88 HT
16. 2006 Ford GT
17. 1936 Auburn Speedster
1. Austin Healey 100-6
2. Jaguar XK120 roadster
3. Jaguar E Type roadster
4. Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
5. Ferrari 250 SWB
6. Ferrari 275 GTB/4
7. Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona
8. Ferrari 512BB
9. Lamborghini Miura SV
10. Maserati Ghibli SS
11. 1954-56 Porsche 356 pre-A sunroof coupe
12. 1970-3 Porsche 911 S
13. 1955 Mercedes 300 SL gull wing
14. Lancia Aurelia
15. Alfa Disco Volante
16. AstonMartin DB5