Published September 15, 2013
Dr. Emmett Brown put it best.
“The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” said Brown, as played by actor Christopher Lloyd in “Back to the Future.”
Even with the 30th anniversary of the 1985 blockbuster film not due until 2015, a California car company is reportedly seeing an uptick in a very esoteric mode of automotive restoration.
According to The Orange County Register, the DeLorean Motor Co. – the eponymous, modern-day successor to the original company founded in 1982 by General Motors executive John DeLorean – is doing brisk business transforming surviving DeLoreans into replicas of the time machine Michael J. Fox, or Marty McFly, used to travel 30 years into the past to save his family from oblivion.
“‘Back to the Future' is getting bigger and bigger, especially among kids who watched the movie in 1985 and now have enough money to own a piece of it,” Danny Botkin, DeLorean Motor Co. mechanic, told the Register.
“We've never advertised that we build these. It's just been a side thing we do. If people ask us to do it, we'll do it.”
So far, Botkin reportedly said the company has completed six such requests for a host of reasons, including corporate appearances, movie cameos, and even one from an engaged couple who told him they want to ride off into the proverbial sunset following their marriage in the movie replica.
The pseudo time machines are outfitted, according to the Register, with a gaggle of “time circuits” allowing users to happily punch in a “destination time,” just like Fox, or McFly, did in the movie, as well as a lever that activates the all-important mock “flux capacitor,” which, if not capable of generating an actual 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, does, in fact, glow with flashing lights.
According to the Register, the refitted DeLoreans cost about $45,000, and utilize a whole range of motley parts – like a military surplus jet engine cooler – as well as a Krups coffee grinder that subs as the machine's “nuclear reactor.”
The fact that a modern-day DeLorean Motor Co. exists is noteworthy, in-and-of-itself.
The Register notes the original went bankrupt in 1982 after running into cash-flow problems and building only about 9,000 cars. John DeLorean died in March 2005 at the age of 80.
The modern incarnation was established by auto mechanic Stephen Wynne in 1995 after he bought replacement parts from an Ohio company, Kapac Co., which had acquired the original inventory when DeLorean failed.
In 1997, when Kapac wanted out of the parts business, Wynne bought the supply for himself, though he declined to say how much he paid for it.
“I've grown up around DeLoreans my entire life. I was dropped off to kindergarten in the actual ‘Back to the Future' car. (And) a DeLorean was my first car at age 16,” said Wynne, who drives his personal DMC-12 on weekends.
“‘Back to the Future' has been a huge part of the business. The car is so well-known from a 90-year-old person to a 4-year-old because of that movie. That shows how timeless the car and the brand is.”