Movie Reviews

‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean Joins the National Historic Vehicle Register

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style.” This is the iconic quote uttered by Doc Brown in the equally iconic Back to The Future when asked by Marty McFly if he built a time machine out of a DeLorean. The car itself would never be the same as it would forever be linked to the 1985 classic. Now, the DeLorean is going to be remembered throughout history as it joins the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The Register, also a part of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, is dedicated to “recording and protecting America’s automotive past for future generations”, according to Pomonaswapmeet.com. The foundation announced that the DeLorean “Hero car” will become the 29th member of this registry. The register was created in 2013 to preserve many of the most historically relevant cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles. The first class of historic vehicles was announced in 2014.

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Jonathan Klinger, Hagerty’s vice president of car culture and executive director of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, stated that the DeLorean’s significance in pop culture made the decision an easy one. “The DeLorean Time Machine is among the world’s most recognizable and beloved automobiles,” Klinger said. “It transcends borders and generations, and it appeals to an audience far beyond the car community.”

Back to the Future Delorean photo

The DeLorean model itself has an interesting background. John Z. DeLorean launched his new automobile company in 1975. The DeLorean car debuted six years later and was a completely unique addition to the market. No one had ever seen a a stainless-steel sports car with gullwing doors before.

Reportedly, screenwriter Bob Gale and director Robert Zemeckis developed the premise of Back to the Future in 1980, a year before the DeLorean car went into production. The film was a huge hit, however, it was too late to save the DeLorean as the Delorean motor company ran into financial troubles and stopped production in 1982. Only 8500 DeLoreans were actually built so seeing one in person is an incredibly rare sighting.

The “Hero car,” the version from the Back to the Future trilogy, had several other additions including the flux capacitor. Powered by 1.21 gigawatts of nuclear power, the car could travel to the past and future after hitting a top speed of 88 mph. It’s traveled to so many different locations including 1955, 2015, and the wild west.

The model used in the film trilogy was placed on display at Universal Studios Hollywood after filming ended. However, over the years, the car became damaged by tourists who would take souvenirs off of it and from the elements of the outdoors. Gale led a restoration project for the car after noticing all the damages. This restoration project was completed in 2013 and is documented in a film titled OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine.

The “Hero car” is now on permanent display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. There are many replicas of the car, but the real one is near its original home in Hollywood.

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