Pixar released the 1st “Cars” movie (the best one of the trio, according to both of my grandsons) in 2006, ten years before our 124 Spiders debuted. Lightning McQueen was named after Glenn McQueen (not Steve McQueen), who was a supervising animator at Pixar when he died of melanoma in 2001. Glenn had worked on classics like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and was working on Cars before his untimely passing.
Apparently, the animators at Pixar drew influences from many sources to create McQueen’s final design. However, the two major car models he is based on are – the Chevrolet Corvette C1 (produced between 1953-1962) and the Chevrolet Corvette C6 (produced between 2004-2013). I think that the 124 Spider would have been a great candidate, had the timing been right. After all, Mia and Tia, are identical twin Mazda Miata (NA) sisters who are Lightning McQueen’s self-proclaimed biggest fans. 🙂