Reminder: The ‘Back To The Future’ DeLorean Sucked
Along with time travel, Huey Lewis bangers, and uncomfortably incestuous love triangles, one of the most important components of Back to the Future is obviously the DeLorean; the iconic vehicle that sends Marty McFly back to 1955 to screw with his parents’ relationship and crap all over Chuck Berry’s legacy. Well, now, presumably due to its place in movie history, this spectacular failure of an automobile is back … sort of.
The DeLorean Motor Company still exists, selling parts and restoring old cars, but now they’re making a new model of their classic car that happens to be electric. Hopefully, this won’t require waiting around for a bolt of lightning every time you need to go to Costco.
There was even a commercial for it during the Super Bowl – weirdly, they somehow missed a big opportunity to highlight the car’s “travel to the future and bring back sports almanacs” feature.
Obviously, DeLorean seems to be counting on a fair amount of pop-culture nostalgia driving this re-launch; hence the ad’s prominent use of the word “future.” But the Back to the Future filmmakers didn’t choose the DeLorean because it was a successful consumer product that should be around for decades to come. The DMC-12 was already out of production by the time the movie was being written.
After screenwriters Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis scrapped their ill-conceived time-traveling refrigerator idea, they switched the time machine to a DeLorean. Why? Because it was the summer of 1984, during DeLorean’s drug trafficking trial, at which point Gale and Zemeckis were “seeing John DeLorean on the news every night” and thought it would be “great” for the film to piggyback on his company’s “notoriety.”
Sure, it was cool looking – but Back to the Future’s DeLorean was also an explicit reference to a world-famous coke-smuggling scandal everyone was talking about. And, according to the cast, the car itself was a huge pain in the ass to film in; Christopher Lloyd said it was “tight and uncomfortable,” smelled bad, and would “break down” constantly. Michael J. Fox complained that it was terrible to drive. According to producer Neil Canton, it was a “cool-looking car, but it really wasn’t a good car.” If all that wasn’t enough, because Jimmy Carter had “mandated car speedometers could only go up to 85 mph” in 1979, technically, the DeLorean couldn’t even reach 88 miles per hour. This better be remedied in the new car so fans can live out their dreams of driving at dangerous speeds in a shopping mall parking lot.
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Top Image: Universal Pictures