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The 88-mile per hour stainless-steel hero of the Back To The Future movies
Once upon a time, in fun little film set in 1985, a crazy scientist, Dr. Emmett Brown, finally creates a time machine he dreamed up in 1955. He enlists a teen-aged sidekick, Marty McFly, to assist in his first time travel experiment, which ultimately takes McFly back to 1955. At the end of the film, the time machine brings Marty “Back To The Future!” In the second film of the trilogy, Marty and Doc travel forward to 2015, where they fix some trouble, but when they travel back to 1985, it’s an alternate 1985, so that have to go back to 1955, to fix 1985, and ultimately 2015. BUT, in the final film, things go awry and Doc Brown winds up in 1885, with Marty having to seek out help from a second Doc Brown in 1955 to get back to 1885 to get back to 1985.
Interestingly, the DMC-12 was only manufactured for two years, and was out of production for three years before the movie even hit theaters.
Sadly, and admitted by the soon to be bankrupt John DeLorean himself, the car wasn’t made well; primarily due to its manufacture in a small town in Ireland by employees with absolutely no automotive background.
It was also very slow, due to it’s 2.85-liter V6 Peugeot-Renault-Volvo engine, which only produced 130 horsepower. With the 5-speed manual gearbox it took 8.8 seconds to reach 60 mph, (which might as well have been 88 seconds.) And the 3-speed automatic transmission was even worse.
Amusingly, at the time of production there was only one other car on the market with the same engine configuration, and it was the Porche 911! It was so much lighter, and smaller, it was insanely faster, and accordingly more popular.
But the DMC-12 was really cool looking, noting the fact that the inability of the car builders in Ireland to add a respectable coat of paint, the vehicles rolled off the line in their stark, brushed stainless-steel glory. Which, soon became a look no other car manufacturer could match. Some were eventually painted by dealerships or actual owners, but amazingly there were also three gold DeLoreans sold, as part of a DeLorean and American Express Gold Card promotion.
Introduced in the first film, for Marty and Doc Brown to achieve time-travel, the DeLorean had to break 88 miles per hour. (A random speed chosen by the film production crew.) But our lovable president at the time, Jimmy Carter, mandated a federal law requiring all U.S. made vehicles to have speedometers that only went up to 85 mph, to discourage speeding in the gas-shortage era.
The DeLorean DMC-12’s gull-wing doors were quite exciting. Mainly because there were only three cars ever, (at the time,) that had doors that opened up. And the other two were a Mercedes 300SL and a Bricklin SV-1. And, to bring even more fame to the ‘one-hit-wonder’ vehicle, you can drive one in the popular e-sports game Rocket League.
Universal Studios loved the iconic car so much, and had it fully restored, where every body panel was removed, damaged ones replace, and most of the aging wires, etc. were replaced. It took a reported 20 please over a year to complete the restoration. And it now sits in the Petersen Automotive Museum, in Los Angeles, CA.
You can still get an original DMC-12 today, from DeLorean Motor Company for $45,000. But, if that’s too saucy for you, you can also rent one for special occasions as well. And if that wasn’t enough, in 2016, under a low-volume manufacturing bill, the stealthy DeLorean Motor Company produced 300 new DMC-12 editions. And in the near future there are plans for yet another makeover, which will include a wickedly upgraded 400-hp engine, and a hefty price tag of $100,000.
1. The original DMC-12 is on permanent loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA.
2. The original concept for the time-machine was a refrigerator Doc Brown hauled around in the back of his pickup.
3. On the day of filming, co-writer Bob Gayle was offered $40,000 to swap the DeLorean out with a Mustang. Gayle’s response to the offer: “Doc doesn’t drive a f—ing Mustang!”
4. 1.21 gigawatts equals 484 wind turbines, or about 10% of the energy required to lift a Space Shuttle into orbit.
We apologize for not fully explaining the flux-capacitor and it’s relationship to Nuclear Fusion, lightning, Mr. Fusion waste-to-energy systems, and steam-powered time travel, but this is an car-blog for goodness sake. Watch the movies! 🙂
If you want to trick out a vintage DeLorean of your own, bolt in a world-class FRASER remanufactured engine and get Back To The Future!
Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!