"All right, I wanna know who's responsible for wreckin' my town, Sheriff. I want his hood on a platter! I'm gonna put him in jail till he rots! No, check that. I'm gonna put him in jail till the jail rots on top of him, and then I'm gonna move him to a new jail and let that jail rot. I'm... Throw him out of here, Sheriff. I want him out of my courtroom. I want him out of our town! Case dismissed." - Doc seeing Lightning for the first time."— Cars
"Ha. That ain't racing. That wasn't even a Sunday drive. That was one lap, racing is 500 of those. Everybody fighting to move up, lap after lap, inside outside, inches apart, never touching. Now that's racing."— Cars 3
"They quit on me. When I finally got put together, I went back expecting a big welcome, you know what they said? "You're history"! Moved right on to the next rookie standing in line. There was a lot left in me.. I never got a chance to show 'em."
-Doc Hudson, Cars
Doc Hudson, also known as the Hudson Hornet or the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, is a major character in the Cars franchise. He was a former dirt track racer and Piston Cup legend who served as Radiator Springs' judge and doctor, prior to his death in between the events of Cars: Race-O-Rama and Cars 2. In memory of Doc, the Piston Cup Racing Series' trophy was renamed the Hudson Hornet Piston Cup, and the Racing Museum now contains memorabilia related to Doc, including old newspapers, and Doc's trophies.
Why He's a Judge, a "DOC"tor (no pun intended), and a Racing Expert, nor a "Crazy Grandpa Car"!
- First of all and most importantly, just like Lightning McQueen, he has insane character development too.
- He is one of the most likable characters out of all in the film along with McQueen, Mater, and Sally.
- He's grumpy, but fatherly.
- He was one of the greatest dirt-track racers of all time, as Darrell Cartrip mentions by McQueen's mentor in Cars 2 (see below).
- He was also once one of the most famous race cars in history; he won three Piston Cups, and still holds the record for the most wins in a single season. However, it all changed for him 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 next full 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 reluctantly resigned from the sport, and vanished from public. He eventually settled in a forgotten town called Radiator Springs and moved into a house in the nice town. In his house he kept a newspaper article on the career-ending crash as a reminder never to return to the life that nearly killed him; the life that has been unfairly taken away from him; the life that was no longer his.
- He and Sheriff are the few best-looking cars in the film.
- He was certainly and exactly the smartest car in Radiator Springs, being its judge, mayor, doctor, and a racing expert. Not only that, but he was the most skilled and talented Piston Cup racer during his time. And to mention, not actually Mater, as said from his page (see his Bad Qualities section).
- His backstory is genuinely sad; he suffered a big crash in 1954, and had to be taken out of the race. After being fixed, he was rejected because of newer racers, despite still being able to be in the sport. This hit him so hard on the feels that he removed everything racing-related from his life until Lightning showed up in Radiator Springs.
- While he was initially bitter towards McQueen, he would grow to respect him as a racer, especially after becoming #95's crew chief.
- There's even other pop-culture: Not only just the Cars series, but also the following. Just take a lucky guess; he was so very popular that his model, the Hudson Hornet itself, made appearances in two Forza games; first in Forza Motorsport 4, and then re-debuted very soon back in Forza Horizon 4 (except actually a 1952 model year); sadly, it got cut off again for the next fifth game entry (although there has been possible leaks of it in models/screenshots spotted), and even spawned tons of great mods from various other games, such as City Car Driving, Car Mechanic Simulator 2021, etc.
- It also appears in Driver: San Francisco too as well.
- His Fabulous Hudson Hornet paint job and decals also even make a reference with the "Albany Hermes" from Grand Theft Auto V, which is based on a 1949 Mercury Coupe (coincidentally Sheriff's model, another car almost from the early-50s with a very similar design). It reads "Amazing Albany Hermes" instead.
- But sadly again though, if only it was a LOT more cleaner, didn't have any rust, it would've been so much thrilling and perfect. Although thankfully there is a mod that gives this. It was uploaded on March 31, 2018. A link to it can be found right here.
- A mod with his Fabulous Hudson Hornet paint job exists as well for the "Burnside Special" from BeamNG.drive, which is based on a 1953 De Soto Firedome. The mod is called "Cars the movie and the video game skin pack".
- But unfortunately, it's outdated today.
- Paul Newman and Corey Burton both did great jobs voicing him.
- The scene where he performs only one lap at the Willy's Butte dirt track and does his incredible and awesome drift was certainly his most badass scene, and as well as one of his most memorable moments.
- Despite not being on very good terms with McQueen initially, he was willing to give him advice about racing in dirt.
- When he said "there was a lot left in him", he showed several times he wasn't lying: he was able to predict Lightning running into cactuses just by knowing how cocky and unexperienced he was and could easily race against younger and faster racers in the film's tie-in game (although its canonicity is questionable).
- His engine, which is a 308 cu in (5.0 L) I6, was amazing to listen to, also in his Willy's Butte race.
- Sadly yet again for the third time, speaking of the Hornet in FH4, the sound is awful like always since almost every other car in-game.
- There has NEVER been ONE single part where he was unlikable, nor a case where he was flanderized AT ALL, even if he's selfish or a little sad moment.
- He has some good quotes/lines, like for example, "Not all my tricks, rookie!", and "You got a lot of stuff, kid."
- In the early days of the Piston Cup Racing Series, Doc, then known as the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, was a very popular dirt track racer. He was considered one of the best racers of the time, receiving the title, The Champion of All Time. On the track, He befriended many of his competitors, such as Mario Andretti, Junior Moon, River Scott, and Louise Nash. In addition to being a talented race car, he was also good at making repairs to other cars, and once helped his friend Gus O'Line when he was having trouble with his semi-axis. He was also great friends with a mechanic named Smokey, who acted as a teacher to him. His friends called him "Hud" for short.
- He was also popular for his unique strategies and abilities. He demonstrated mastery of powersliding, which helped him to navigate dirt turns very smoothly. Once, when a rival forced him up against a wall, he used a flip trick to pull ahead of the rival, allowing him to win the race.
- At the end of the film, he kept his racing colors, becoming a trainer and mentor as well as a friend to the young McQueen. Just like McQueen, he learned some lessons: friendship, promises, how greed affects others, and that secrets simply can't be hidden forever. When a racing museum subsequently opened in Radiator Springs, one entire wing was devoted to his racing career (with many of Doc's racing equipment and Piston Cups on display). Much as Junior #8 acknowledged to "The King" that "you've been an inspiration to me", The King indicated "the Hudson Hornet was my inspiration". Together, McQueen and Doc won four consecutive Piston Cups.
- He was a well-respected vehicle in Radiator Springs. As the town's motor-medic, he'll sort out all the residents' health issues, and gives thorough checkups at his medical clinic. Very loyal to all his friends, he holds a lot of influence and has strong opinions on the sort of cars he wants in his town.
- He delivers very wise advice such as turn right to go left.
- R.I.P.: Of course, sadly he died on September 26th, 2008, to coincide with the death of Paul Newman. However, Pixar actually decided having him appear in Cars 2 would not be a good idea. Despite this, the only exceptions are, he still appears in post-2007 Cars-based games after Mater-National Championship, even including the latest Cars 3: Driven to Win, although this was considered to be a continuity error. However, the exception of a game appearance is such as Cars 2: The Video Game. He wasn't mentioned, nor didn't even have a flashback in Cars on the Road.
- If Newman was still alive, he would've appeared in later films and other Cars content (although he did appear in a brief flashback in Cars 3; see below in Trivia).
- After his death, it made the next two films basically lose a key part of the franchise.
- After his racing career ended, he cut contact with his former crew chief Smokey for no good reason until he became Lightning's mentor. In Smokey's words, "son of a gun didn't talk to him for 50 years".
- For the same reason, he kept his racing days as a secret from the townies of Radiator Springs for who knows how long.
- Despite never being unlikable at some point, he still had a moment of selfishness in the first film (as said above before, much like McQueen before he gained the character development), where he informed the press that McQueen was in Radiator Springs and had him be taken by Mack to California when he was having a nice cruise with the townsfolk.
- Sometimes he can be a stubborn car of a few words, but at other times he delivers very wise advice such as turn right to go left.
- He is not on good terms with McQueen.
- Plot holes/continuity errors: Although Leroy Heming from Cars 3 is supposed to be a 1955 Chrysler C-300, he was seen alongside him, whose racing career supposedly ended in 1954. And despite his death, he is shown to be still alive and well at the very beginning of Cars 3: Driven to Win.
- Doc's racing number, 51, is a reference to the first year of the Hudson Hornet's movement, 1951. A blue Hudson Hornet makes a cameo in The Incredibles, although it was released before Cars. The Hudson Hornet was one of the first cars used by drivers in the beginning of NASCAR.
- It is most likely possible that this was actually a teaser of Cars coming in the future at that time.
- The story of the Fabulous Hudson Hornet is true. Many Hornets used in NASCAR at that time actually used that quote on their body paint design. Hudson won the championship from 1952-54.
- Although Doc's number was 51, there was no actual #51 Fabulous Hudson Hornet.
- In 2004, Doc Hudson should have owned the number "6".
- Doc was Paul Newman's last non-documentary role. Also, like Newman, he has blue eyes too.
- Doc would have appeared in later films and other media had Newman not died.
- Doc Hudson is the third Cars character whose original actor died, preceded by Red and Fillmore and followed by El Machismo.
- Doc and Stanley are the only two characters in the entire Cars franchise to have died off-screen. Stanley died before the events of the first film.
- Cars: Fast as Lightning features an unlockable building titled the Doc Hudson Statue, a statue of Doc that can be unlocked by unlocking Lightning McQueen.
- In Cars: Mater-National Championship, Doc is one of the fastest opponents to catch in Doc and the Law's Race 'n' Chase in Arcade mode. He shares this trait with Sarge and Emma.
- Racing #51 also includes Cruz Ramirez, Ruby Oaks, and Aikens.
- There is a continuity error regarding Doc's crash. In one of the BOOM! Comics stories, it was said that Doc crashed because Sammy pruned him, which caused Doc to lose control and crash. In Cars 3, Doc accidentally lost control by himself. That being said, it's either implied that this wasn't even his final race or it can be considered non-canon.
- He is one of the two characters raced against in Cars 3: Driven to Win that is not playable, the other being Bill.
- Although the reason for Doc not being playable might be due to his death, the races are simulations.
- Mater and the Ghostlight marks his only short film appearance ever, as he had passed away in the timeline of the other shorts.