Meet Pixar’s Sally Carrera co-creator Jay Ward and his classic Porsche 911 S
The Porsche-owning ‘Carsultant’ behind the Cars movie franchise
Minerva Blue classic Porsche 911 with woodland behind
Often found driving his classic G series Porsche 911 S around the Bay Area of northern California, Jay’s encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage automobiles has helped informed the Cars animated film franchise for over 15 years
Jay Ward, the creative director of franchise at Pixar, is a man of many passions. Not only is he the ‘Carsultant’ behind the Cars animated film franchise, with its much-loved characters like Lightning McQueen and lovable Porsche, Sally Carrera, Jay is also an accomplished artist and musician. Jay has released several albums of original music and his artwork has been featured in galleries and exhibitions around the world. Here, he talks about his love for vintage vehicles and how his air-cooled Porsche 911 first entered his life.
Jay Ward at wheel of Minerva Blue Porsche 911 S
Jay restored his G series 1976 Porsche 911 S to get it back out on the road where it belongs
The road to Minerva BlueThe 1976 Porsche 911 S that Jay drives today came into his possession after a neighbour’s husband, the car’s original owner, died. “She asked me to get the car running because it had been sitting for a number of years,” Jay explains. “She paid for the parts and I worked on it in the evenings, learning all about old 911s along the way, changing the oil, the battery, all the fluids – it was a lot of fun.”
Man putting on driving gloves, sitting in classic Porsche 911
Jay Ward’s restoration of his 911 S was a labour of love for both him and something of a tribute to its previous owner
After months of work getting it back to European specification, Jay had the car up and running once more. However, it still needed more extensive work, and the costs were continuing to mount. At that point, the owner decided it was time to sell, offering Jay himself first refusal – something he jumped at.Jay continued working on the car and as he did so, he would discover keepsakes from the original owner which he decided to leave in place so that the car became something of a tribute to its previous owner, an orthopaedic surgeon. It still sports its original metallic paintwork in Minerva Blue, for example, which had made the car such a stand-out for locals over the past 40 years. Of course, this hasn’t been the only blue Porsche 911 sportscar in Jay’s life. In his career in animation he helped bring a type 996 to our movie screens in the shape of Sally Carrera for the Cars animated film franchise. In 2022, the Cars character was the inspiration behind a collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Porsche Sonderwunsch who helped turn a 992-generation 911 Carrera into the Sally Special. When it went to auction it raised an astonishing $3.6m for charity.
Blue Porsche 911 S driving on windy roads through forest
The journey up to one of Jay’s regular haunts, Alice’s Restaurant, are a series of tight bends and sweeping curves
When a classic Porsche becomes a daily driverSan Francisco’s Bay Area is a great place for classic cars, says Jay, and one particular spot he picks out is Alice’s Restaurant. Situated in Woodside, in between San Francisco and San Jose, it’s a popular meeting spot for classic car enthusiasts. The roads that lead up to the restaurant have stunning stretches that cut through redwood forest and a succession of exciting switchbacks and sweeping curves. Driving his restored Porsche 911 to this motoring meeting spot is one of his all-time favourite drives, says Jay.
I have other old cars, but the nice thing about an old 911 is you can just get in it and drive it, all day, every day
Jay Ward | Creative director of franchise at Pixar
“It’s a real place of pilgrimage for people who know,” Jay says of Alice’s. “The Bay Area has a great car culture and Alice’s Restaurant has been the definitive meeting place for classic cars for decades. In part that’s because the roads that lead up here are some of the best around. But you also never know what you’ll see when you get here. It’s like an organic car show – the original cars and coffee!”For him, it’s the perfect blend of performance and dependability that makes his 911 a great daily driver. “I have other old cars,” he says, “but the nice thing about an old 911 is you can just get in it and drive it, all day, every day. You can do whatever you want with it because they are so useable and so driveable. And so quick. I very rarely get into fifth gear on the highway and there aren’t many old cars you can say that about. But a 911 is really meant to be driven.”
Porsche 911 S in Minerva Blue driving on tree-lined road
Daily driver and trusty companion on commutes – wherever you found Jay, his Porsche 911 S is never too far away
His Minerva Blue classic even carries him to work, rolling into the Pixar parking lot in a flash of blue reminiscent of Sally Carrera herself. And his annual judging duties at the world-famous annual Pebble Beach Concours event aren’t complete unless his 911 has taken them there. “I will park that car on the street, walk away and not worry about it, because it doesn’t have a perfect paintjob and it’s not a trailer queen,” he says. “The lady who sold it to me really used it and dinged the doors but these are all little badges of honour now. It’s always been treated like a car and I love that about it.”Currently, Jay is working on projects at Pixar that include Toy Story 5 and Cars 4. His love of all things automotive come through in his work, where he has created characters and machines that are both imaginative and deeply rooted in motoring heritage.
Rear view of Porsche 911 S on empty forest road
Whenever he embarks on another Porsche road trip it becomes a source of inspiration for Jay
Continue reading
New Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS (992.2) on twisty road
13 things you need to know about the new Porsche 911 (992.2) Discover how the new 911 – the 992.2 – draws on unparalleled Porsche sportscar innovation and technology to raise the standards of performance, design and personalisation to even greater heights Read more
Porsche Taycan Turbo GT Purple Sky Metallic static on racetrack
Everything you need to know about the new Porsche Taycan Turbo GT With astonishing performance, incredible dynamics and head-turning looks, the record-breaking Taycan Turbo GT is the fastest all-electric production car that Porsche has ever built Read more
Three Taycan cars with owners in a variety of landscapes
8 things you need to know about living with a Porsche Taycan From a smooth driving experience to easy charging to performance, three Taycan owners explain what they love most about their cars Read more