Tow Mater's Garage

Health Care Reform, Insurance Reform, Quality

Roger H Strube, MD

Roger H Strube, MD


APRIL 15 TO MAY 8, 2009


Tow Mater’s Garage Smithville Texas

“Tow Mater” is a character from the Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars” that hit the big screen in about 1996. This is a film that appeals to all ages as it deals not only with important value issues but also, as is with the case with most Pixar films, has great appeal to adults because of the inside humor. If you are a Paul Newman fan, a NASCAR fan or simply a gear head, this movie will be very enjoyable for you. Paul Newman is the voice of one of the major characters (a Hudson Hornet).        


There are many guest voice appearances from the motor racing world. There are some hilarious lines provided by Tom & Ray, the Tappet Brothers of Public Radio’s “Car Talk”. Even if you don’t have grandchildren you will thoroughly enjoy this film. I suggest you rent or, preferably, purchase the movie. The additional features are great. I have watched it at least 30 times with my grandson Antonio and never fail to pick up another little detail that makes me smile. The extras on the DVD provide several “shorts” including “One Man Band” (watched at least 40 times - this one also never gets old) and “Mater and the Ghost Light” (watched at least 50 times). “Mater and the Ghost Light” is the inspiration for this web page. My daughter and her husband had a very old garage on the lot they own next to their home in Smithville Texas. The little old lady who originally built the home 100 years ago needed a garage but heard garage fires burned down many homes. She had the structure built as far from the house as possible, on the north west corner of the adjacent lot. The original time warn structure is pictured at the top of this page. Although Disney has built Mater’s Garage at their theme park it is nothing like the one car, falling apart, leaning to the left structure seen in the “Ghost Light” short animated film.


If my daughter’s garage had a broken octagon ventilator and old garage light in the peak over the door, it would be an exact replica of Mater’s Garage in the short film. Our spring “vacation” took us to Texas for our first visit this year. Kathy sewed “Thomas the Tank Engine” window coverings for Antonio’s room, and helped dig and plant the vegetable gardens. She also managed most of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry and some baby sitting while I did some garden digging and finally got into stabilizing and rebuilding Mater’s Garage. Sam and Jill were very appreciative.

As you will see from the pictures below there was not much holding the structure up and I had visions of being found like the Wicked Witch of the West with my legs and feet sticking out of the flattened structure. Fortunately I was able to vertically stabilize the building with 8’ fence posts lashed to the still sound roof beams and by using stakes, guy lines and ratchet come alongs prevent any horizontal movement. These multiple purchases allowed me to move the roof to a position more vertically over the foundation as the project progressed. All treated lumber was used to replace the rotten or termite damaged structural pieces. Treated 2”x4” lumber was used for the base plate and fastened with the salvaged existing foundation bolts. Additional .22 caliber driven cement nails were added for additional security. As sister flat 2”x4” sister perimeter header was added under the existing roof perimeter. Treated 4”x4” posts were used at the four corners attached to vertical sections of 1/2” treated plywood. The corners each had one 2’ wide vertical section and one 13” to 15” wide vertical section screwed into the 4x4 posts. Lower and upper “skirts were added, A 15” wide longitudinal band around the base and a 9” wide longitudinal band around the top of the walls. A 2x4 flat section was added to the top of the lower skirt so the old barn board could be nailed into solid wood. The old structural siding was now reattached to restore the look of the building although these vertical siding boards are now more decorative than structural.

I hope to find an old lantern (Ghost Light) and electrify it with an led, solar charger and blue die on the glass before I return at the end of Summer 2009. I am also looking for the type of outdoor fixture seen mounted over the door of Mater’s Garage in the short film. This will also need a solar charged fixture fitted as there is no power to this structure.

Enjoy the movie and the pics of “Mater’s Garage” below.


























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