NewsPositively Utah


Viral TikTok star from Utah paying it forward using unique 'Lightning McQueen' car

Posted at 10:05 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 09:54:52-05

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — If you see a popular Disney character on the roads of Utah county, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.

It’s most likely Chris Van Wagenen behind the wheel of Lightning McQueen.

The lifelong Utahn has dressed up his 2017 Subaru BRZ to be an exact replica of the iconic character. He’s been sharing images and videos of the unique car on social media.

The first post on Instagram didn’t attract the most positive feedback.

“All I got was, ‘I thought Lightning McQueen was supposed to be fast,’” Van Wagenen said.

He didn’t give up. Instead, he turned his attention to featuring the car in TikTok videos.

“I turned that negatively into a positive thing,” Van Wagenen said.

His videos have been viewed millions of times.

He even produced one in which he hopes to find the future Mrs. McQueen.

“Hey ladies, my name is Chris,” he says in the dating video. “I drive Lightning McQueen and if you think that’s hot, just wait until you see the Star Wars wrap I am going to do on my WRX.”

The car alone is enough to inspire positive reactions. Chris says he receives dozens of smiles any time he is out on the road. But now, he is trying to spread even more happiness.

Because they are watched by so many people, the TikTok videos earn money every month.

Now, Chris is giving the money to strangers who correctly answer trivia questions.

He tried the trivia game with an employee at a Del Taco drive thru, Tuesday afternoon and posted the video on TikTok.

“If I keep the trajectory I am going, just see how many people I can make have a great day,” Van Wagenen said. “This is my new niche, I am the Lightning McQueen guy.”

Chris adds he plans on increasing the prize amounts as the videos gain more likes and views.

It’s his small way of sharing something positive with his neighbors -- and the world.

“The reactions are priceless,” he said. “Everybody loves it and has a good time. People’s phones are always out recording as they drive by me. It’s incredible.”