“Roads … where we’re going we don’t need roads.”
The year was 1985 when the DeLorean DMC-12 first captured the minds of a generation. With its gull-wing doors, stainless steel body, and fiberglass underbody, people everywhere wanted to steal a peek at the vehicle that allowed Michael J. Fox to travel back into time. Thirty years later the DeLorean is still alive and kicking. I got the opportunity to meet with Don Steger and Danny Botkin at DMC (DeLorean Motor Company) out in Garden Grove, CA two days before Comic-Con to find out why this car continues to be popular. What I discovered blew my mind.
If you haven’t heard of a new DeLorean, it’s because there aren’t any. Back in 1981 when the first vehicle was produced there were only 9,200 made. Today there are maybe only 6,000 left in existence. But never fear! You can have your very own DeLorean custom built in just 2-3 months. Don’t want the traditional stainless steel color? No problem! Want custom interior made out of your deceased pet ostrich? No problem! Want your very own Back to the Future DeLorean complete with Flux Capacitor? No problem! Whatever you decide can be yours in time to show it off at the next DeLorean Owner’s Association meeting.
One of the great things about this vehicle, besides being a cultural icon, is that it’s made to last forever. The stainless steel is easy to care for. All you have to do is just wipe it down. With the proper care and maintenance, your DeLorean could outlive you. Don Steger (owner of DMC Garden Grove), told me that the highest mileage DeLorean he’s ever known went for over 500,000 miles! If you ever do have car trouble, getting it repaired isn’t an issue since there are still parts available for at least 300,000 cars.
For the ecologically inclined, there will soon be a Delorean for you as well. In 2013 the very first electric model will fall off the assembly lines. It will sport a 400 volt AC liquid-cooled electric motor, 260hp, and can reach a speed of 125 mph in under 4.9 seconds, which is a tad excessive since, if my calculations are right, once this baby hits 88mph you’re going to see some serious shit and by that I mean a speeding ticket.
Alright, so you may not be able to travel through time with a DeLorean, but you’ll definitely look like you could, assuming you can afford it because buying a cultural icon doesn’t come cheap. Having a DeLorean custom built comes with a hefty price tag, and when a pre-owned DeLorean costs the same as an entry-level luxury sedan like a Cadillac CTS, or Mercedes C-Class, you may feel like your dream is out of reach. If that’s the case, then take the family to Universal Studios in California. There you will find a restored model from the film. If you can’t buy your own, at least you can look at one. Owning a DeLorean may be a pipe dream for most, but seeing one just costs the price of admission.
Lucky for me, I got to see and sit in one at DMC Garden Grove and I can happily state that sitting inside Danny Botwin’s car, a Back to the Future model, was a dream come true. The DeLorean sits low like a Corvette, but once you’re inside you’re ready for take-off. The cockpit was aglow with a bunch of buttons that I had no clue how to work, and was afraid would send me to a dystopian future or the old west. Besides being more customizable than any other car I’ve ever known, the Back to the Future DeLorean is fully functional.
The Krups coffee maker attached to the trunk can grind coffee, or fuel your vehicle. If you’re short on plutonium just use your biodegradable trash. Fueling your DeLorean is a lot cooler than building a compost heap. Plus it smells better too! If you are a family man, the DeLorean is probably not the car for you. The ability to time travel takes up lots of space, so you’ll have to leave the kiddies behind. I’ll have to admit, being a coffee addict, the Krups coffee maker was my favorite part of the car. I’d love to be able to deposit old coffee grinds in my car to be used as fuel. It would totally save me wads of dough!
Visiting DMC was an amazing experience — not only did I get to see a legend, but I got to sit in one too. I won’t lie, while I was in there I did contemplate seeing if I really could go back in time, but then I recalled how things usually worked out for Marty and Doc Brown and I just went to Comic-Con instead.
*DeLorean DMC-12 is owned by the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) based in TX. Doc Brown and Marty McFly are not included with purchase.