A lot of Route 66 folks know of Tow Tater, the 1951 International boom truck on Route 66 in Galena, Kansas, that served as the direct inspiration to the Tow Mater character in the 2006 Disney-Pixar animated film “Cars.”
But barely 15 miles east in Carterville, Missouri, also on Route 66, sits another rusty tow truck that bears a resemblance to Tow Mater. It’s called Missouri Mater.
The vehicle itself, driven by Bulger’s dad, towed vehicles around the area for 25 years or more.
Missouri Mater gets a lot of Route 66 tourists stopping to check it out.
“I had one guy from France who just told me to name my price, and I couldn’t do it,” explained Bulger. […]
So, is there anything he’d trade for it?
“I love my wife, but you’d have a better chance of having her than the truck,” said Bulger.
No one will take away that direct link the Galena truck has with Pixar. But the quarter-century Missouri Mater spent as an actual tow truck on Route 66 is not nothing, either.
I suspect both will continue to co-exist just fine and feed off each other as tourist attractions.
Read more about the real-life Route 66 inspirations to the original “Cars” movie. Although it’s more than 10 years old, it remains by far the most popular post on Route 66 News to this day.
(Image capture of Missouri Mater at Bulger Motor Co. in Carterville, Missouri)