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It might have serious star power, but The Fast and the Furious isn’t the only movie with car celebrities. After all, Pixar’s Cars franchise is literally filled with automotive characters, including many pulled from real-world history. Just look at Doc Hudson: voiced by an actual racer and modeled after genuine Hudson Hornet race cars. But now, rather than bringing an IRL car into the animated world, Pixar is teaming up with Porsche to do the opposite: make a 911 into a Sally Carrera tribute.

How Pixar turned a 2002 and a 1999 Porsche 911 into Cars’ Sally Carrera

The blue 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera modified like Sally Carrera at SXSW 2022
1999 Porsche 911 Carrera modified like Sally Carrera at SXSW 2022 | Porsche

Now, Cars wasn’t the first movie with a Porsche 911 in a prominent role. But Sally Carrera, the promoter and attorney of Radiator Springs, differs significantly from the 911 in, say, Bad Boys. Namely, she’s an actual character, with a mouth, eyes, and the ability to speak. And that stems from why the Pixar team based her design off the then-contemporary 2002 911 Carrera, The Drive explains.

Yes, Sally Carrera is based on the 996-gen 911, egg-like headlights and all. But she wasn’t always: when Pixar designers started working on Cars in 2002, they initially based her on a round-headlight 993. However, since Lightning McQueen is supposed to be a contemporary NASCAR race car, they decided to make Sally a more modern 911.

As for why Sally Carrera is a Porsche 911, that’s partially due to its rear-engine layout, The Drive reports. Because it lacks a traditional grille, it let Pixar make Sally more expressive. And because the film team bought a 2002 911 Carrera to take reference photos and make models from, Sally doesn’t feel like an old-timey cartoon caricature of a car.

However, Pixar didn’t just digitize a 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera to bring Sally Carrera to life. It also bought a 1999 911 and turned it into an IRL Sally, The Drive says. Admittedly, the cosplaying car isn’t road-legal because the build team cut seven inches out of it and modified the A-pillars. Also, while you can technically see out of the windows and windshield, the graphics make for some extreme tinting. It’s still a functioning 911, though, complete with a custom ‘Sally blue’ paint job and digitally-printed bumper.

But soon, that 1999 car won’t be the only Sally Carrera lookalike.

The Sally Carrera tribute car is a 2022 Porsche 911—with a manual

Although Porsche has collaborated on Disney-related projects before, its new Pixar collaboration isn’t digital. Rather, the automaker is making a modern tribute to Sally Carrera based on the current 992-gen Porsche 911. And just in time for the 2002 911’s 20th anniversary, Roadshow notes.

As of this writing, Porsche has only released a few preliminary sketches of the planned tribute. Bringing a digital character to life is just as tricky as doing the opposite, largely because even Pixar had to simplify the 996’s design for the movie, The Drive explains. Plus, while Sally is based on a real 911, in the movies, she doesn’t have an interior—at least, not a visible one. So, Porsche’s designers and engineers have to get creative there.

However, these sketches do reveal a few details. For one, the modern Sally tribute will have the same light blue paint scheme and silver exterior decals—including the tattoo—as her in-movie model. The real car’s interior will also have some light-blue accents to match the exterior, as well as a custom sill plate and art, The Drive says.

In addition, this custom 992 Porsche 911 will ride on modern versions of the 996’s wheels. And while it won’t have a sunroof, it will have a manual. If what Roadshow says is true, and the tribute is based on the Carrera GTS, that’s not that unusual. However, considering the 992 Sally Carrera tribute will also have some ‘Carrera’ decals, it might be based on the base 911 Carrera. If that’s the case, this car will be genuinely unique, as the base 2022 911 doesn’t offer a manual.

The one-off tribute is being auctioned for charity

While this 2022 Sally Carrera tribute is a one-off build, it won’t stay locked up in Pixar’s or Porsche’s headquarters. Instead, it and an accompanying Porsche Design chronograph are hitting the RM Sotheby’s auction block later this year. The auction proceeds benefit Girls Inc’s education programs for girls in the US as well as the USA for UNCHR’s efforts to support families impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Porsche will release more details on this special 911 in the next few months. And hopefully whoever wins it will regularly drive it, if only to see the Cars fans smile.  

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