From the Blu-Ray Guide: Doc Hudson is a car of few words but many talents. He not only serves as the town judge, he's also Radiator Springs' resident doctor. Doc is respected and admired by the townsfolk for the way he looks out for their health and tends to their aches and pains. No one knows too much about Doc before he came to town. He keeps his private life private. But if you've got a bad spark plug or a rattle in your engine, his door is always open.
Doc Hudson is a Hudson Hornet, a former race car and the secondary tritagonist in Cars.
In truth, Doc Hudson is an old race car that won 3 Piston Cups, but lost a race in a crash that ended his racing career due to the damage he had sustained.
He was once one of the most famous racecars in history; he won three Piston Cups, and still holds the record for most wins in a single season. However, it all changed for Doc when he was involved in a terrible crash during the final lap of the 1954 Piston Cup championship race when he was sideswiped by his rival Sammy, which saw him put out for the 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 kept a newspaper article on the career-ending crash as a reminder never to return to the life that nearly killed him. Jaded by the racing scene, he left that world, apparently taking out time to study medicine. The famous #51 disappeared into obscurity, leaving many wondering where he had gone. He instead opted for a simple navy blue paint job and the life of a physician in the tiny town of Radiator Springs, the "shining Gemstone" of the Mother Road - Route 66. He runs Doc's Clinic as a "doctor of internal combustion". As times changed and the town got bypassed in favor of Interstate 40, Doc stayed on, even when the population had dwindled to a meager dozen or so residents. He is respected, well-loved, and serves not only as the town's physician, but as its judge as well. However, nobody in the town had any idea of his past as a racer; he was just an ordinary Hudson Hornet to them. Upon meeting Lightning McQueen, Doc saw far too much of his past in the rookie. He was less than happy when Lightning discovers his past. After Lightning finished fixing the road he damaged and decided to stay for a while, Doc was unable to bear having him around any longer and called the news and press to immediately take him away to the Piston Cup, declaring that it is best for everyone. But seeing how disheartened everyone was by his unplanned departure, Doc realized that Lightning had become more important to them than he thought. He eventually admits the truth to everyone about his racecar days and he took back his old #51 colors to become Lightning's pit crew chief, bringing nearly the entire town (except Sally, Red, and Lizzie-- who watch the race on TV) to the Piston Cup to support Lightning as his pit crew (and in an ironic twist of fate, finally received that long awaited fanfare for his return).
By the end of the film, Doc opts to keep his racing colors, and becomes a trainer as well as a friend to Lightning. Just like Lightning, Doc learned some lessons: friendship, promises, how greed affects others, and that secrets can't be kept forever in others.
In the video game, he appears at the cut-scenes for Doc's Lesson Powerslide and Doc's Challenge, where Lightning McQueen went to meet him in Willy's Butte, but he was late. Then he tested Lightning at the Willy's Butte track, and he did good. Then they had a race. After the race, Doc said that the car that Lightning notices (who was Chick Hicks) was watching the competition, and that he will meet Lightning soon.
He didn't appear again until Doc's Check-Up where Lightning tells him that he liked the new upgrade he gave him. Then Doc challenged him to a race.
He later appears at the cut-scene for Smasherville International Speedway where he told Lightning to save meeting Chick for the track. He tells him that he will be fine.
At Los Angeles International Speedway, he is seen driving with Lightning when he was on his way on his trip. He tells him to be careful.
You can race as Doc Hudson and sometimes, he is one of the racers trying to beat you.
In the third game in the series, Doc Hudson now owns his own racing academy, who races in the Race-O-Rama. In the game, he's kind of your instructor. During several races, he might say something to you sounding like it's coming from a headset. He also appears in most of the races. In Transporter 1, you had to bring something to him. In the final scene, he says to Lightning that he did a good job winning the Race-O-Rama.
Due to the death of Paul Newman, Doc doesn't physically appear in Cars 2, but pictures of him were in his museum. The Piston Cup was renamed after him in memory of him; the new logo was also put on Lightning's hood in his new paint job for the World Grand Prix. Doc’s office was converted into the Hudson Hornet Racing Museum.
When Lightning was showing Mater his new Piston Cup, they were talking about him. Also, during the race in Tokyo, Darrell Cartrip mentioned that McQueen's mentor, the Hudson Hornet, was one of the best dirt track racers in history. In the scene when Lightning was about to take the dirt turn at the race in Tokyo, Japan, Mater told Lightning to do what Doc has taught him, which he did and took the lead.
The circumstances of how Doc died are unknown.
John Lasseter was at first adamant that Paul Newman would return to voice Doc Hudson, even though he had announced his retirement from acting. After Newman's death, Lasseter said that they would see how the story goes with Doc Hudson. Story supervisor Nathan Stanton said: "we felt, after really tooling around with the idea of him being in the film and how do we properly use him, it just felt right that we should have his character have passed away also [as Paul Newman]." John Lasseter said that he realized "Doc Hudson was Paul Newman. The character was written after listening to him talk about his passion for racing." and that "We pay homage to Doc Hudson, which is paying homage to Paul Newman."
Despite Doc's death before the events of Cars 2, he actually appears in Cars Land in Radiator Springs Racers. After getting tires from Luigi or a paint job from Ramone, you'll meet Doc, who is your crew chief for the race. During the race, Doc will tell you through his headset some racing directions. He will say you did a good job at the end of the race.
If you listen carefully, he says different phrases for the left car and the right car:
|Left Car||Right Car||When|
|"Come on in, Rookie. It takes more than new tires to win a race. I'm your new crew chief, and I'll tell you when to pitch it hard and get it into the groove, so pay attention and do us proud."||"Come on in, Rookie. Shiny paint don't win a race. Now get out there and do us proud."||When the car comes out of Luigi's or Ramone's|
|"Show me what you got, kid!"||"Give it everything you got!"||Coming around Radiator Cap Mountain|
|"Hold tight around the turn!"||"Dig into that turn!"||Half-way around Radiator Cap Mountain|
|None||"Now power through those hills!"||Going over the hills, towards Willy's Butte|
|"Pour it on!"||"Drive into like an open stick!"||Entering Willy's Butte|
|"Hot shot, you won! I knew you had it in you, kid. Congratulations!"||"Way to go, hot shot! You tore up that track like a real dirthouse!"||Crossing the finish line.|
It's possible that it was too late to remove Doc from the ride and replan it when Cars 2 came out, which can be the cause for Doc's appearance. Another possibility is that the events of that ride may have occurred after the events of the first Cars film, but before the events of the second.
Behind the Scenes
The Hornet was indeed used in NASCAR, with several of them being painted as "The Fabulous Hudson Hornet". Hudson won the manufacturer's championship from 1952-1954.
- A blue Hudson Hornet can be seen in The Incredibles, an Easter egg appearance of Doc Hudson. Even though Cars was released after The Incredibles, development of the film was well under way.
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- "Hey! Was that floating like a Cadillac, or was that stinging like a beemer? I'm confused. You drive like you fix roads, lousy! Have fun fishing, Mater."
- "All right! I wanna know who's responsible for wrecking my town, Sheriff. I want his hood on a platter! I'm gonna put him in jail 'til he rots. No, check that... I'm gonna put him in jail 'til the jail rots on top of him, then I'm gonna move him to a new jail and let that jail rot. I'm -... Throw him outta here, Sheriff! I want him out of my courtroom! I want him out of our town! Case dismissed!"
- "They [his sponsors] 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 on to the next rookie standing in line. There was a lot left in me. I never got a chance to show 'em. I keep that to remind me never to go back. I just never expected that that world would... would find me here."
- "I knew you couldn't drive. I didn't think you couldn't read."
- "You look! All I see is a bunch of empty cups."
- "These are good folk around here who care about one another. I don't want them depending on someone they can't count on."
- "I'll put it simple: if you're going hard enough left, you'll find yourself turning right."
From Cars 2
- Mater: "Wow! I can't believe they renamed the Piston Cup after our very own Doc Hudson!"
Lightning McQueen: "I know Doc said these things were just old cups, but to have someone else win it just didn't feel right, you know?"
Mater: "Well, Doc would've been real proud of you, that's for sure."
- —Lightning McQueen shows Mater his new Hudson Hornet Piston Cup.
- Brent Mustangburger: "French rally car Raoul ÇaRoule is counting on a big boost headed through there."
Darrell Cartrip: "And don't forget Lightning McQueen. His mentor, the Hudson Hornet, was one of the greatest dirt track racers of all time. In my opinion, McQueen is the best all-around racer in this competition."
- —Brent Mustangburger and Darrell Cartrip mentioning Doc Hudson.
- Mater: "McQueen, it's time to make your move! Get on the outside, and show 'em what Doc done taught you!"
Lightning McQueen: "10-4, Mater."
- —Mater tells Lightning to take the turn by telling him to do what Doc taught him.