This is a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 that’s been carefully built into a Back To The Future time machine, and interestingly, it is actually capable of moving through time – but only in the forward direction at the standard speed of time. So it takes a while to get anywhere.
Thanks to the Back To The Future films the DeLorean DMC-12 went from being viewed as somewhat of a failure to being one of the most recognizable and desirable movie cars of all time. DeLorean was recently relaunched as an electric car company and their new Alpha 5 is due to enter production in 2024.
Fast Facts – A DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine
- The DeLorean DMC-12 was famously conceived by John DeLorean as the vehicle of the future. The development of the car was fraught with issues but against all odds it made it into a production, with almost ten thousand made before the company went under.
- The DMC-12 was styled by the great Giorgetto Giugiaro and much of the engineering under the stainless steel skin was completed by Colin Chapman and his team at Lotus.
- A series of quality control issues combined with lower than expected performance and a high asking price led to the early demise of the DeLorean Motor Company. The cars remain collectible today and usually they’re not particularly expensive.
- The DeLorean you see here has been completely rebuilt into a replica of the the time machine from the “Back To The Future” movie trilogy. It also comes with the components needed to change the car between in Back to the Future I and II specification.
The DeLorean DMC-12
The story of the DeLorean DMC-12 began in the late 1970s when John DeLorean, a former General Motors executive, set out to create his own car company. The vision was to produce a sports car that would be stylish, fast, and affordable.
DeLorean enlisted the services of noted Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was responsible for the sleek, angular design of the DMC-12. The vehicle’s most distinctive features were its stainless steel body panels and gull-wing doors, both of which contributed to its futuristic appearance.
Production of the DMC-12 commenced in 1981 at the DMC factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. The company chose this location for its skilled workforce and significant financial incentives provided by the British government.
Unfortunately, the DMC-12 was plagued with production delays and cost overruns, leading to a higher retail price than originally anticipated. Nevertheless, the first DMC-12 rolled off the assembly line in January 1981, and the car made its public debut later that year.
The DeLorean DMC-12 received mixed reviews from automotive journalists and consumers alike. While the car’s design and gull-wing doors were widely praised, its performance and build quality were criticized.
Above Video: “Back To The Future” would become one of the most memorable film series of the 1980s, and it made the DeLorean DMC-12 a star, but sadly it was too late to save the company.
The DMC-12 was powered by a 2.85 liter V6 engine from Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV), which many felt was underpowered for a sports car. Additionally, some early production models suffered from quality control issues that tarnished the brand’s reputation early on.
Sales of the DMC-12 initially showed promise, with approximately 6,000 units sold in 1981. However, the company struggled to maintain momentum as the automotive market experienced a downturn in the early 1980s. A combination of economic recession, high interest rates, and negative press coverage contributed to declining sales, and DMC ultimately ceased production in late 1982. In total, roughly 9,000 DeLorean DMC-12s were produced.
In 1985, the DeLorean DMC-12 gained worldwide fame as the time machine in the hit film trilogy Back to the Future, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The film’s success transformed the DMC-12 into a pop culture icon and revived interest in the vehicle.
Since then, the DeLorean has continued to enjoy a cult following among car enthusiasts and collectors. Several companies and individuals have taken on the task of restoring and maintaining the surviving DMC-12s.
The DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine Shown Here
While the DMC-12 is a famous vehicle in its own right, its the version of the vehicle that was built for the Back To The Future trilogy that’s best remembered today – with its flux capacitor and other fictional embellishments that allowed it to travel through time to fix (or further complicate) the timeline.
The actual specifications of the DMC-12 time machine changed significantly over the course of the three films as each car was modified to better suit its period in history. The car that travelled well into the future has able to fly and was powered by a Mr Fusion reactor, and the car that went back to the Wild West was able to ride on train tracks as it was pushed by a locomotive to reach 88 mph.
The car you see here wasn’t used in the original films, it’s one of the small number of accurate replicas that have been made in the years since the films debuted.
This DeLorean has been designed to be able to switch between Back To The Future I and II specification, and it comes with all the parts needed to make the transition. Importantly it also comes with a copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac.
The car is fitted with the original 2.8 liter V6 engine which is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, the manual gearbox is the more desirable version as the automatic reduced the performance of the car noticeably.
It has functioning neon lighting, strobe lights in the rear vents, and a smoke effect creator, and it’s been signed by Christopher Lloyd – the actor who played Doc Brown.
This DeLorean is now due to roll across the auction block with Mecum in mid-May and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.