Cars on the Route Cafe. Photo by Tony Hisgett on Flickr

Cars on the Route is an old gas station, converted into a cafe and gift shop, just off of historic Route 66 in Galena, Kansas. A 1951 International Company boom truck, affectionately named “Tow Tater”, sits outside the cafe and serves as the inspiration for the look of the character of Mater in Pixar’s Cars franchise.

As the story goes, Cars screenwriter Joe Ranft became inspired by the rusty old truck he saw in a junkyard near Galena when the Pixar team was there in 2001 on a research trip for the film. The cafe’s owner happened to purchase the truck afterward and upon finding out about the Mater-connection, moved the truck next to the building, where it lives today.

Address: 119 N Main St, Galena, KS 66739
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119 N Main St, Galena, KS 66739

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