Before this post, I didn’t know much about engineer John DeLorean, other than that he developed a number of cars, including one featured in one of the best movies of all time. He also had a colored history that included a trial for trafficking cocaine, which he managed to overcome by proving entrapment. But what do you expect, the guy was born in Detroit. (Kidding! I grew up in Michigan and would never speak ill of the mitten!) Anyway, his engineering prowess extends past the Pontiac series and his iconic winged car. Turns out that Mr. DeLorean had some pretty crazy ideas — namely, a design for a cutting-edge engine with a laser ignition.
I totally understand people who are obsessed with Back to the Future. I saw the movie when I was seven, and in my little-kid brain I had Michael J. Fox confused with Michael Jackson and was shocked when the protagonist turned out to be a cute white kid (who knew this confusion would be prophetic?). In retrospect, my love of all things sci-fi, especially when time travel’s involved, can be traced back this movie’s introduction into my life. Later, in graduate school, I studied the script — in my screenwriting class it was regarded as a textbook example of three-act structure, and we marveled at the organic yet perfectly paced progression of events and character development. As an adult, I love the film on levels unimaginable to my seven-year-old self. But I’m unremarkable compared to the legions of Back to the Future fanatics out there — particularly those who have bought DeLoreans and turned them into time machines.
If you thought that their recent entrance into electric car manufacturing would have been the most exciting news DeLorean had going for them….well, yeah, it probably is, But it’s not the biggest news for sci-fi fans, who like movie references mixed in with our ideas of progress. It’s taken at least a year, as well as an untold number of trips back and forth through time, but the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future franchise has finally been fully restored.
Officially known as the “A” car, this was the version used most often for non-stunt exterior scenes involving the actors, thus making it the most-used model type for the series. With over 20 years of amusement park displays and tours across the country, the original DeLorean model needed an update. Thanks to the 2011 Nike commercial with Christopher Lloyd reprising his Doc Brown role, the plans were put into place.
Co-creator and co-writer Bob Gale started up the project, which became known as “Time Machine Restoration,” and contacted TemporalFX’s Joe Walser and Terry Matalas to handle most of the grunt work. Using social media as a promotional tool, the team received donations from many fans looking to help out, and because the intent was to use as much of the original material as possible, the fans also pitched in to locate certain parts needed. It helps that they were just building a display model, as this probably wouldn’t make it up to 88 mph on a real highway. If the following promo video doesn’t get you nostalgic in a heartbeat, your brain is not in flux…capacitor.
Pop culture is littered with beloved vehicles, many of which are nearly as iconic as whoever was originally driving them. If I had to choose my top five — and I don’t, but I will — I’d pick the Mystery Machine, the Batmobile, Ecto-1, the bus from Speed, and the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Not that I think the latter is an attractive car, but I like the idea of using time travel in order to rock my balls-out rendition of “Johnny B. Goode” for high school crowds, since I just look weird doing it now.
There have been many instances of people using DeLoreans to evoke the neo-nostalgia of the BTTF films, but Santa Rosa, California’s Matthew Riese has combined the famed car with another snazzy gadget, Marty McFly’s hoverboard, and created a hover car. Meanwhile, I can’t even build a box with Legos.
Given the rednecking white trash aesthetic that Raising Hope has been roasting and celebrating for the past few years, you’d think when going all out for a movie reference, they would source something like Joe Dirt or a medley of every role Taryn Manning has ever played. But instead, Greg Garcia and company are bringing a little bit of Hill Valley, CA to Natesville and the Chance clan. But I doubt they’ll be using roads to get there. Roads…?
When Raising Hope returns from its winter break on January 8th, it will air “Credit Where Credit Is Due,” and it looks like Back to the Future is stamped all over it. From smoke-filled DeLoreans to Christopher Lloyd nervously asking what year they’re in, the episode looks to be steeped in references to the classic films. Maybe if Lloyd can go find Griff now, BTTF Part II might not even need to happen. Not that that’s a good thing.