Tow Mater, or simply Mater, is a character in the 2006 animated Pixar film Cars and its sequel as well as the spin-off series Mater's Tall Tales. He is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy and inspired by a 1951 International Harvester tow truck. Originally portrayed as a sidekick and friend to Lightning McQueen, he was featured in Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales and in other media related to Cars. Mater's color was originally baby blue as shown in a flashback; however, over the years he has rusted into a patchwork light brown/orange color with some of the blue still showing through. He is missing his hood and his left headlight In the short Mater and the Ghostlight, his right headlight fell out as well. During the first Cars movie credits Mater fished his hood from a cliff up in Tailfin Pass, and his hood showed more of its original color than the rest of Mater. But then Mater sneezed, causing the hood to fall back down the cliff. His license plate number is A113.
Mater is also capable of racing, as well as being the (self-proclaimed) world's best backwards driver. He attributes his skill to his rear-view mirrors and his own philosophy: "Don't need to know where I'm going, just need to know where I've been." He teaches Lightning this skill and is proud when he uses it in the Piston Cup race, proudly telling Chick's stunned pit crew "I taught him that!" When he's running from Lightning in Cars 2, his skills are commented on by Darrell Cartrip, saying, "He's gotta be the world's best backwards driver."
In Cars 2, Mater displays a vast knowledge of automotive parts and engines. He correctly answers a code question concerning the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia asked by British intelligence agent Holley Shiftwell, leading her to mistake him for an American agent she is supposed to meet. Later, when Shiftwell and her partner Finn McMissile show Mater a photograph of a mystery car's engine, he identifies it on sight and points out the spare parts being used to keep it running. His knowledge helps McMissile and Shiftwell capture Sir Miles Axlerod, the main villain of this film.