Monday, March 27, 2023

Creative director of Cars and 911 San Francisco


Jay Ward, the self-described ‘Carsultant’ behind the Cars film franchise, heads south toward the automotive hub of the Bay Area. That 1976 Minerva Blue 911 reminds us of Sally Carrera.

From a small booth at Alice’s restaurant on Skyline Boulevard, Jay Ward looks out the dusty window at a Minerva Blue 911 parked among American and European sports cars. The creative director at Pixar has become one of the most recognizable and influential names in big-budget animated films; His encyclopedic knowledge of vintage cars has guided and shaped the Cars franchise for more than 15 years. Pupil to Alice, a local fan favorite “iron” from the 1980s, rushed in his big original air-cooled and explained, over coffee, why this car is so close to his heart.

Jay Ward, Porsche 911, San Francisco, Usa, 2023, Porsche Ag

Jay Ward.

“It came across the road where we live, from a woman whose husband died suddenly,” Warda said. “He asked me to start the car because it was still sitting for several years. He paid for the parts and I worked in the afternoon, learning everything about the old 911s. I changed the oil, the battery, all the fluids… It was a lot of fun.

After several months, Warde finally got a running machine, but he was smoking heavily and needed a lot of work. The estimated costs were high enough that the owner decided to sell it and a volunteer mechanic gave him the first option to buy. Pupillus did not hesitate to save the second 1976 911 S, the only woman left by her husband, and continues the arduous process to return it to a worthy condition.

The metallic Minerva Blue paint was completely original and, as much as possible, the Cavalry kept such a patina that the look of the local car, which has been around for more than 40 years, has been retained. He modified the vehicle to European spec, lowered the suspension height and swapped out the amber turn signals, H4 headlights, and narrower fenders. In the process, Ward continued to find memorabilia and memories of the first owner, orthopedic surgery, and left everything in place to honor his memory.

A strong association with the blue 911

Even today, he continues to visit the doctor’s widow in his car, helping her maintain the strong bond the couple shared with their beloved Porsche. It’s clear the emotional power that cars can evoke, and that leads to the movie ‘Cars’ making their hearts warm, even running deep in the guard. When she talks about the effect of hearing her husband’s widowed machine hum for the first time in so many years, the soft drawl of her voice drops a notch or two.

The pupil’s familiarity with the unusual blue 911 model is also strong, pointing to a career in animation. In 2005, when the Pixar design team started the original concept for ‘Cars,’ one of the most famous creations was Sally Carrera, an instantly recognizable interpretation of the 996 generation 911 (a life-size replica can be found today in the Museum). The vehicle joined forces last year with Pixar Animation Studios and the special personalization program Sonderwunsch in Zuffenhausen turned the 992 generation 911 Carrera into a “one-of-a-kind” “Sally Special” which was later enhanced for charity. Such was the feeling that a whole generation of enthusiasts and collectors felt for that car, which raised three million six hundred thousand dollars.

Creative Director Of Cars And 911 San Francisco

Special Sally had rushed 911

All the money donated.

Today, the 52-year-old Ward leads a busy life overseeing ‘Cars,’ ‘Toy Story,’ and ‘Freedom Finds No One,’ all globally recognized brands with theme parks, merchandise, sports and publications under their auspices. Therefore, a visit to Alice’s restaurant is a special way to relax when the weather permits. There he meets with local friends who share the same passion for classic cars.

“It’s a real travel site for people in the know,” he said. The Bay Area has a great car culture and Alice’s Restaurant has been going for classic cars for decades. In part, this is because the roads that lead here are excellent, stunning through redwoods and twisting sections that seem endless. But you never know what you’re going to find when you arrive. It’s like an organic car show: original cars and coffee!”

Aside from the rush of GT cars coming up the hill from Silicon Valley, the easiest way is to take Alice on Interstate 280 south of San Francisco and exit at the Mountain intersection toward Half Moon Bay. From here, 35, also known as Skyline Boulevard, passes through the great Crystal Springs above Crystal before climbing the winding woods of the middle of Moon Bay Road to an overlook about 3,000 feet above sea level. Skyline Boulevard then meanders through the ridge of the Kings Mountains with some steep and narrow sections, and then follows the Pure Creek Redwood Conserve descending west toward the Pacific Ocean. Alice’s Restaurant is about 12 miles south, just before 35 meets 84, La Honda Road, which can be followed in a clockwise loop to the coast and Route 1, or can be quickly returned to the interstate.

San Francisco, United States, 2023, Rushed Ag

San Francisco, United States, 2023, Rushed Ag

For Ward, the 911 is the perfect combination of performance and firmness to embark on such a journey. “I have other old cars,” he says, “but the nice thing about an old 911 is that you can get in it and drive it all day, every day. You can do whatever you want with them because they’re very useful and manageable. I rarely put fifth gear on the road and not many old cars can say that. 911s are designed to be driven.”

Pixar takes his pupil to work frequently and uses it every year to judge the Pebble Beach Concours. “I park people who drive cars on the street and don’t worry about it because it doesn’t have a perfect paint job and it’s not a trailer queen. The lady who sold it to me used it, knocking on doors, and leaving a whole series of marks on it, which I hold as medals of honor. It’s always been a treat and I love it.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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