DeLorean — The Iconic Car Of The Future Is Back In Time

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Marty McFly, Back to the Future

Today, October 21, 2015, is Back to the Future Day (#BTTFDay), the day Marty McFly and “Doc” Brown time-traveled via DeLorean in Back to the Future: Part II. Fans around the world are celebrating the adored movie franchise in a variety of ways. On this morning’s Today Show, for example, Matt Lauer interviewed Back to the Future cast members Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson, who played Marty McFly, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, and Lorraine Baines (McFly) respectively. While the movie and cast are once again in the spotlight, today could very well also be called National DeLorean Day, if the amount of DeLorean news and info circulating the Internet is taken into account.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was “Doc” Brown’s choice for the perfect time traveling machine in the Back to the Future series. As he explains it in the movie, “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” The DeLorean certainly had style, which accounts in large part to it still being held fondly in the minds of car geeks today, 33 years after DeLorean production ceased.

DeLorean DMC-12 Head on photo with doors open

Other style factors the DeLorean amply exhibits are explained in a CNN Style article published today to their website. In the article, CNN interviewed a few current DeLorean owners, who lovingly spoke of their affection for their DeLorean cars. The article also goes into the troubled history of the DeLorean, and its namesake, John DeLorean, who started the DeLorean Motor Company in 1975, and closed it in 1982 under rather dire circumstances.

The CNN piece also points out a close call that would have seen the Back to the Future time machine as a refrigerator instead of the DeLorean. Director Bob Zemeckis encountered troublesome logistics with the refrigerator in pre-production. He then hit on the Delorean to be the time machine due to its mobility.

Days like today help keep the awe and glamour surrounding the DeLorean alive, as well. Google sent a standard tweet earlier today pointing to “15 new Gmail themes”. However, the tweet links to an official-looking document for something called Project Flux, and is rife with terms and language regarding teleportation, time circuits, and protoype public test capsules code-named DMC-12s, a distinct reference to the DeLorean.

Yesterday, Stanford University published an article on their website announcing MARTY, a self-driving DeLorean “capable of stable, precise drifting at large angles in order to study how cars perform in extreme situations.” More than just an homage to the Back to the Future series, their vintage 1981 DeLorean MARTY (Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control) is being used to research how to make autonomous vehicles safer.

“We want to design automated vehicles that can take any action necessary to avoid an accident,” said Chris Gerdes, the mechanical engineering professor leading the research team. “The laws of physics will limit what the car can do, but we think the software should be capable of any possible maneuver within those limits. MARTY is another step in this direction, thanks to the passion and hard work of our students. Stanford builds great research by building great researchers.”

However, not everyone with close ties to the DeLorean is enamored with it. The Drive published an interview with Christopher Lloyd (“Doc” Brown) earlier today where he talked about the DeLorean and his experience filming with it in the Back to the Future movies.

“It was not engineered that well,” Lloyd said. “There were too many days it would break down, that parts would have to be replaced. So it looked great—it was a perfect-looking car for Back to the Future because it was so futuristic. Streamlined and steely and all that. But it didn’t operate that well, it didn’t stand up well with stunt drivers.”

Nonetheless, Lloyd is once again with the iconic DeLorean in two video ads released this year. The first is the almost five-minute “Fueled by the Future” video posted on Toyota USA’s YouTube channel. The second video has Lloyd as “Doc” Brown sitting behind the wheel of a DeLorean conveying a special message to mark the release of the Back to the Future Trilogy movie set released today.

Speaking of Toyota, they want you to know the DeLorean wasn’t the only (Mc)Fly vehicle in the Back to the Future franchise. Digital Trends reports that Toyota has recreated Marty’s dream truck in the movie, the black 1985 Toyota pickup. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma has been modeled in retro style to the likeness of the movie model, with a similar paint job, mud flaps, and head and tail lights.

With only an estimated 6,500 DeLorean cars currently in existence, movies such as Back to the Future may be our best chances of seeing one, which helps make today just a bit more special. Have you seen a DeLorean lately?

[Image via commons.wikimedia.org / CC-BY-SA-4.0]