What Kind of Car is Sterling in Cars 3?

December 12, 2023

Sterling Dunn is the secondary antagonist in Pixar’s 18th full-length animated feature film Cars 3. He’s the suave chief executive coupe that takes over the Rust-Eze Racing Center and trains next-gen race cars. He thinks that McQueen is old and needs to retire, a move that would allow him to sell merchandise featuring the former champion. He agrees to let him compete in one final race if Cruz Ramirez can train him to beat Jackson Storm. What he doesn’t realize is that this was his plan all along.

Nathan Fillion voices Sterling in Cars 3; his second Pixar role after voicing the villainous frat bro Johnny Worthington in Monsters University. He’s a bit like NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr in his desire to win and get the most out of his racing career. He bought the humble Rust-Eze Racing Center and turned it into a state-of-the-art training facility.

As for his design, it’s not modeled after any particular model of car. It’s a mix of the modern luxury aspects of a BMW 2000CS and 90s Honda Civic Del Sol. He’s a sleeker, more refined version of the rambunctious Mater from the first two films.

Other members of the cast include a former racing legend (voiced by Margo Martindale) who’s styled after NASCAR legend Smokey Yunick, and a flamboyant demolition derby bus (voiced by comedian Cristela Alonzo). The lovable twin Mazta Miatas return to cheer on Lightning McQueen. The characters were based on the ’40 Ford Coupe that Junior Johnson originally converted from a rum runner to a moonshine maker.


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