If I were to ask around our office what everyone’s all time favourite film was, I’m sure the replies would include a couple of obscure French titles, and several horror b-movies. I would probably be the odd one out, and come clean that my favourite film is an American production that everyone knows and has seen, and has it’s fair share of dubious acting. But how can you not love “Back to the Future”?
It was the first film I saw in the cinema at very the impressionable age of ten, and I desperately wanted to be able to skate and play guitar like Marty McFly. I also wanted the car, a DeLorean! The Delorean! A supercar like wedge chiselled from a solid ingot of bright metal, with those amazing gull wing doors. They were ridiculously over the top, but were a perfect complement to the genre of film. Indeed, could you imagine another car that would be better suited to being a time machine?
Ever since, it’s been my childhood dream to drive or be taken for a ride in the time machine and on the morning of my recent 40th birthday I found myself in Kent, where, I had been promised, a surprise would be waiting for me; And there she was, parked up, doors aloft with blue neon glowing from nose to tail. The amazing Delorean Time machine!
I’ll have to say that again. Amazing. Just amazing! I was at last, Marty McFly, if for only an hour or two!
Everything was as I remembered from 1985. The multiple instrument gauges, thick looms of brightly coloured wires, jet fighter style overhead instrument panel, the analogue alarm clock and of course the flux capacitor, the device which made time travel possible. Talk about exceeding expectations, this was twisting my perception of reality. Was this a car for a film, or was it actually a time machine?
Pinching myself, it turned out that this particular car was one of the working props bought from Universal Studios to the UK a few years ago by it’s current owner, and my rather wonderful wife had amazingly arranged for me to see, sit in, and be driven around in the car on some local roads. In close detail, the car was even more fantastic than you see in the film. Two film designers, Ron Cobb and Andrew Probert, were credited with creating the look, which was of a space ship that had been built by a mad scientist in his garage using parts that anyone could source from their local electronics store. That was certainly believable due to the lavish us of tie wraps, junction boxes, heatsinks, clips and a huge assortment of other unidentifiable component in and outside the car. This was definitely a mad professors project and the look was perfect for the film, and it instantly became an iconic car. 2015 is the 30th year anniversary for Back to the Future, and also the date that the “future” parts of the film were
set. There has never been more interest in the film, so much so, many DeLoreans are now being bought and converted into time machines, either to full full their owners dreams, or as a fairly good way of cashing in on the success and popularity of the film.
Being driven around a few villages in the time machine was such an experience, and I almost started to believe that this was a time machine. All the dials and clocks worked exactly as they did in the film. The main display that showed the past, present and future times could be set, and made that instantly recognisable sound when you press set. I looked rearwards and the flux capacitor was twinkling away ready for us to hit that magical speed! So maybe, just maybe we could have a little fun? Steve, the owner had to bring me back to reality. He explained that even if he could get to 88mph on the outskirts of town, he had actually run out of plutonium. And sadly there was no storms forecast for months.
The DeLorean and I parted company after a few photos. It drove off into the traffic, but I stood there waiting for a few moments, hoping for it to come roaring back into view, flying past on to it’s next adventure.