A Texan inspiration for “Cars”

U-Drop-Inn and Tower Station

101 East 12th St
Shamrock, TX
Signage, Inspiration for “Cars” site

The U-Drop Inn, also known as Tower Station and U-Drop Inn and Tower Cafe, opened April 1, 1936.

Local John Nunn used a nail to draw original plans for the building in the dirt at the driveway of the nearby Cross Roads Motor Court. Inspired by the image of a nail stuck in dirt, the building features art deco architecture designed by J. C. Berry including geometric detailing, curvilinear massing, glazed ceramic tile walls, and neon lights.

A beautiful and impressive example of Route 66 architecture in Texas, the U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66. It closed for business in 1995. In 1999, it was purchased by the First National Bank of Shamrock, which then gifted it to the city.

The building has been restored to its original glory and adapted into a museum, visitors center, gift shop, and is home to the city’s chamber of commerce.

This Route 66 icon was featured in the 2006 animated film Cars as the inspiration for the fictional Ramone’s body-art shop. For more about sites that inspired “Cars” be sure to read Ron Warnick’s blog http://rwarn17588.wordpress.com/2006/06/09/a-route-66-guide-to-the-cars-movie/ Movie stills from 2006 Disney/Pixar movie “Cars.”

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(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)