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The DeLorean From Back to The Future

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The DeLorean From Back to The Future

An Iconic Movie Car 

In the realm of science fiction and cinematic history, few vehicles are as instantly recognizable and beloved as the DeLorean time machine from the iconic movie trilogy “Back to the Future.” The DeLorean DMC-12, retrofitted with a flux capacitor and other futuristic gadgetry, has become a cultural touchstone, symbolizing both the innovation of science fiction and the nostalgia of 1980s pop culture. This article delves into the fascinating journey of how the DeLorean time machine was conceptualized, designed, and brought to life on the silver screen.

DeLorean from the Back to The Future movies.

Started WIth a Refrigerator

The inception of the DeLorean time machine can be traced back to the creative minds of director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale. As they brainstormed ideas for a time travel-themed film, they sought a memorable and visually distinctive vehicle that could transport their characters through time. Originally, the time machine was envisioned as a refrigerator, but concerns about children accidentally getting trapped in discarded refrigerators led to the search for an alternative. and so, the idea of using a refrigerator was not cool. The quest eventually led to the DeLorean DMC-12, a stainless-steel sports car with gull-wing doors that captured the perfect blend of futuristic aesthetics and functionality.

Guts and Gears: Building the DeLorean From Back To The Future 

While the DeLorean DMC-12 was a stylish vehicle, it lacked the high-tech features required for a time machine. To transform the car into the iconic time-traveling device, the production team turned to veteran Hollywood car customizer, Michael Scheffe. His task was to design the exterior modifications that would house the flux capacitor, time circuits, and other intricate gizmos.

The most distinctive addition was the stainless-steel housing on the back of the car, which encased the flux capacitor and contributed to the DeLorean’s unique appearance. The flux capacitor itself, portrayed as a Y-shaped object with intricate lighting effects, became an emblem of time travel. The time circuits, a digital display showing the destination time and present time, added another layer of authenticity to the futuristic machine.

Not BUILT by George Barris 

At one point, George Barris built a replica of  the DeLorean and started taking it around to car shows.  Universal Studios sent a cease and desist letter and threatened a lawsuit.


Design and Engineering Challenges

While the DeLorean time machine might appear seamless on-screen, the reality of its creation was far from effortless. The filmmakers faced several design and engineering challenges to ensure that the DeLorean looked both convincing and functional.

The most significant hurdle was integrating the movie’s time travel concept with the car’s design. The DeLorean’s gull-wing doors, while visually striking, posed a challenge when it came to practicality on set. The doors required substantial overhead clearance, limiting shooting angles and locations. The solution was to construct a partially functional DeLorean with stationary doors for close-up shots and a modified version for scenes requiring the doors to open.

Another challenge was achieving the illusion of speed and time travel. To capture the iconic image of the DeLorean From Back to The Future leaving blazing tire marks as it vanished into time, the production team employed a combination of practical effects and movie magic. Smoke machines, pyrotechnics, and camera tricks were utilized to create the illusion of the car disappearing in a burst of flames and tire smoke.

A Partnership in Creation: DeLorean Motor Company

While the DeLorean time machine’s on-screen creation was a collaborative effort between the production team and the film’s creative minds, it was also inextricably tied to the legacy of the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC). John DeLorean, the founder of DMC, had aimed to create a car that would stand out from the crowd, and the DMC-12 was a testament to his vision.

The collaboration between the filmmakers and DMC marked a unique partnership between the world of entertainment and the automotive industry. Although the DeLorean car itself had faced challenges and controversies, its on-screen transformation into a time machine helped elevate its status as a pop culture icon, ensuring its lasting impact.

Making it all the more complex, they needed stunt cars A total of six DeLoreans — seven if you include the fiberglass flyer — were used during the filming.

Still Iconic  40 years later. 

“Back to the Future” was released in 1985 and immediately struck a chord with audiences worldwide. The DeLorean time machine became a symbol of both the film’s ingenuity and the nostalgia of the 1980s. The film’s immense popularity also sparked an enduring interest in time travel narratives in popular culture.

The DeLorean time machine’s legacy extends far beyond the original trilogy. It has become an integral part of fan conventions, theme park attractions, and countless parodies and references in other media. The car’s distinct appearance and cultural significance have solidified its place as one of the most recognizable vehicles in cinematic history.

Movie Cars Continue to Thrill Audiences of All Ages

The DeLorean from “Back to the Future” stands as a testament to the power of creativity, collaboration, and innovation in filmmaking. The journey from concept to reality was a remarkable one, marked by challenges, ingenuity, and the convergence of Hollywood imagination with the world of automotive design. Decades after its cinematic debut, the DeLorean time machine continues to captivate audiences, reminding us of the magic that can be achieved when fiction and technology intertwine. As long as there are fans of the “Back to the Future” trilogy, the DeLorean’s stainless-steel frame and futuristic gadgets will forever remain a symbol of time-traveling adventures and the enduring spirit of cinematic innovation.


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