Since 2001, Pixar, the studio that brought us the Cars franchise, with all its four-wheeled characters and moral-of-the-story lessons at the end of each movie, has held a heck of a car show every two years.
What started out as an employee show-n-shine with employees' cars grew each year under the guidance of Pixar’s official resident car guy Jay Ward and a host of enthusiasts and volunteers within the studio. The past several years, there were supercars galore, along with historical and concept cars from design studios and private collections.
Jay Leno always sent a couple cars; Steve Moal has participated, along with Bruce Meyer, Bruce Canepa and other big-time collectors within the collector car world. Manufacturers clamored for a spot in front of the Steve Jobs Building, where the giant Pixar ball and lamp sit in permanent residency, in hopes that one of their cars would be cast in the next Cars movie.
But this year, the show took a bit of a left turn, replacing the world’s great concepts and supercars with a green fleet of environmentally friendly transportation. GM sent the original 1966 Electrovan, the world’s first fuel cell vehicle. Toyota delivered the Tundra Pie Pro, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered pickup with a hydrogen-powered and robot-operated pizza kitchen in the bed that debuted at last year’s SEMA Show. Harley-Davidson brought its Livewire stationary demo unit, giving show attendees a chance to ride the electric future of Harley in the comfort and safety of a Dodge Sprinter van. Jay Leno sent a steam-powered one-off from 1974 called a Dutcher.
Why the big change?
Officially there was no connection between the scandalous departure two years ago of Pixar’s chief creative officer and well-known car enthusiast John Lasseter, who was a big backer of Motorama.
“No,” said Jay Ward. “I mean, this is a chance for us, for myself, to say, ‘What do I want the show to be myself? What do I want to do?’ And I also like to mix things up. We get comfortable and I did the Motorama for a long time. We started doing those shows in 2001 and they’ve been great, but they also have been very big. I always appreciate things when somebody gets so big with something that they stop and they do a bit of a paring down and cleansing and start it over and build it over. So it was actually a good opportunity to do that.”