The coolest car ever produced. Has stainless steel body and gull-wing doors. Was produced by Delorean Motor Cars Limited near Belfast, Northern Ireland from 1981 to (almost) 1983 until the company founder, John Z DeLorean fell under a cocaine investigation by the FBI and the company went bankrupt. Only approx 8000 were made. Mine is number 2680.

Whereas the DeLorean DMC-1s certainly had radical looks, with the gull wing doors and the low roof and angular lines popular amongst 70s supercars such as those produced by Lotus and Ferrari, the project was really doomed from the start.

Had John DeLorean continued working for General Motors, where he had been tipped to become the company's president, one of the sorriest affairs in recent British history might never have come to pass. DeLorean persuaded the British government to invest many tens of millions of pounds in his company, in return for which he would site his factory in Northern Ireland, one of the most economically depressed areas of Europe.

Had the DMC-1 been as successful as DeLorean claimed it was going to be, the benefits for the area would have been enormous. However DeLorean had used his contacts within the north American GMC dealer network to vastly inflate the apparent demand for the car. The British government checked the figures before handing over the cash but never asked for independent evaluation of sales potential.

The DeLorean was launched just as the US car market started to go into recession, with the sports car market particularly hard hit. The DeLorean sold well at first, but then owners started complaining about shoddy workmanship and lack of power compared to its rival vehicles. At the same time the situation in Northern Ireland was steadily worsening: IRA prisoners were on hunger strike demanding to be recognised as political prisoners. The British government refused to give in to their demands, and when the prisoners started dying Belfast erupted in riots: amongst the many buildings torched were the DeLorean offices.

DeLorean used this as an excuse to go cap-in-hand to the British government for more money: this time the government refused. Within two months the factory had closed down with the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, and the British taxpayers found themselves over £75 million down. The British government was severely criticised by its own financial watchdog, and criminal investigations against DeLorean were launched on suspicion that he'd used some of the public money to start new companies of his own.

None of the court cases succeeded however, and DeLorean looked as if he was going to walk away from the whole debacle unscathed. Then the FBI, who had long had him under suspicion for narcotics dealing managed to arrest him during a deal to import several million dollars of cocaine and heroin into the US. Despite the whole thing being caught on camera he was ultimately found not guilty. John DeLorean has kept a comparatively low profile ever since then, although his name does crop up from time to time involved in various entrepreneurial projects.

The few DMC-1s that did get produced are now very much collector's items. Despite the fact they weren't particularly brilliant cars, their rarity and the story that goes behind them has helped make them desirable. Being featured in Back to the Future probably did their status no harm, either!

The Complete and Unadulterated Chronology of the DeLorean from the Back To The Future Trilogy

"The way I see it, if you're going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" - "Doc" Emmet L. Brown

<< Spoilers Like You Would Not Believe >>

Chronologically speaking, the DeLorean in the Back To The Future movies must be considered the world's second time machine. The locomotive at the end of Back To The Future Part III was built by Doctor Emmet Brown sometime in the 19th century, while the DeLorean was manufactured in 1982. This is an annoying kind of nitpick, but time travel is like that sometimes. In fact, a lot of the time, by definition.

The DeLorean made its first time journey at 1:20am on Saturday October 26th, 1985. Before its eventual destruction at 11am the following day, by collision with a locomotive, the DeLorean made a total of thirteen time journeys, and approximately 70 years and 330 days had elapsed according to its personal time scale.

The central component of the time vehicle, the "thing which makes time travel possible", is the flux capacitor. It is a nondescript square panel in the back of the DeLorean in which there are three light-filled wires. In order to travel through time, two things are necessary; one, that a burst of 1.21 gigawatts of electrical energy be delivered into the flux capacitor, and two, that the DeLorean is travelling at exactly 88 miles per hour at this moment. These figures do not vary according to the amount of time being traversed, or the direction of time travel. It is, however, unspecified what period of time the 1.21GW must be sustained for. The duration of a bolt of lightning is sufficient. Originally a plutonium-fuelled nuclear reaction was used to generate this energy. Lightning also does the job. A miniature fusion reactor was later installed, eliminating the requirement for plutonium.

The following is an account of the journeys the DeLorean took. Between the arrival point of the previous journey and the start of the next one, it may be assumed that the DeLorean remained rooted in the normal passage of time.

Other offscreen jumps have certainly taken place. In the second movie, while in 2015, the Doc refers to having been forward in time one week already to witness the repercussions of Marty's son's crime. Later on in the movie, Doc produces a briefcase full of American currency from many different eras - this could not have been put together without many additional time journeys which also presumably took place while the Doc was briefly offscreen.

Interesting trivia

  • Altogether the DeLorean crossed nearly 571 years in time jumps: 321 years back in time, and 250 years forward.
  • Two of the thirteen time jumps were made accidentally. Three were powered by plutonium reactions, two by lightning, the remainder by Mr. Fusion.
  • A total of five individuals took part in the DeLorean's time journeys. In chronological order from the DeLorean's point of view: Einstein the dog (1 journey), Marty McFly (7 journeys), Doc Brown (6 journeys), Jennifer (2 journeys), Biff Tannen (2 journeys).
  • As far as we know, in its entire existence the DeLorean never travelled faster than the critical 88mph. In all cases, it started decelerating immediately after arriving at its destination time. (This leads to the interesting question of what would happen if the DeLorean was speeding out of control at a higher speed than 88mph - perhaps loaded on a high-speed bullet-train, or free-falling out of an aircraft. Presumably one would have to find a way to slow it down sufficiently to use the time circuits! An interesting twist!)
  • On Saturday 12th November, 1955, between 12:00pm and 6:38pm, there were four versions of the same DeLorean in Hill Valley. In chronological order from the DeLorean's point of view:
    1. The instance when Marty was marooned in 1955 during the original movie
    2. Biff Tannen's visit from 2015 when he gave his past self the sports almanac, in BTTF2
    3. Doc and Marty's attempt to take the almanac back from young Biff, again in part 2
    4. The DeLorean that Doc buried in the mine in 1885, in the third part of the trilogy.
  • The precise location of the DeLorean is known almost throughout the entire trilogy. If, however, it was ever decided to make a fourth movie (which BTTF screen writer Bob Gale has gone on record saying will not happen - it wouldn't be the same without Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly), and the DeLorean had to appear, then there are two unknowns in its history which could be exploited.
    1. During the Doc's solo trip to 2015. Given the monetary resources he produces in Part 2, we know he visited many different eras while he was offscreen, so any amount of adventures could have taken place during this time. And after all, he refers on his return to youth-restoring procedures that he has undergone, so these adventures could have taken him anything up to 20 years.
    2. While the DeLorean is buried in the mine. It remains supposedly undiscovered for almost 71 years, but again, provided it is returned to its hiding place intact, there is room for all kinds of temporal shenanigans. With the possibility of accidental discovery by a third party, these journeys needn't even involve the existing cast.

Sources: the IMDb, the movies themselves, the official fan site at www.bttf.com, and most importantly Keith Gow's awesome BTTF Chronology at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/. Go read it. Seriously.
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A sense of style is one thing that a lot of time travelers have in common. Many of them build their time machines to look like various time machines out of fiction, with the blue police box, Delorean, and whirling clockwork seat being the most popular.

This wouldn't mean much except that it has some really curious repercussions on the DMC Delorean and British police boxes. You see the law of conservation of events makes it extremely difficult to create a paradox. This alone shouldn't mean much, except when combined with the fact that time travelers eventually get ahold of every DMC Delorean ever produced and the vast majority of blue British police boxes.

This means that it is almost impossible to destroy either one of those objects unless it has already been converted to a time machine. Attempts to destroy them will certainly fail in the case of a Delorean and will almost certainly fail in the case of a police box. Several different travelers have experimented with Deloreans and discovered it is basically impossible to blow them up, drive them off a cliff, launch them into space, sink them into the ocean, or even to wreck them decently. The bomb won't go off, the car will break down before it can even get near the cliff, the space launch won't go off, or the car will come through the accident basically unscathed.

London police boxes are not quite so indestructible as Deloreans, because not all of them have established futures as time machines, at least not yet. They are still very difficult to demolish though, and will usually resist multiple attempts at destruction, but with enough effort they can be destroyed, even if the specific box did have a future, as time will simply conspire to give that same future to another police box.

Fledgling time travelers looking to travel in style are advised to seek out a police box, as a Delorean cannot be sourced anywhere other than another time traveler, although it is rumored that some of the fake prop Deloreans used in theme park rides are still available. By the time 2015 rolls around there won't be a single authentic Delorean or police box left on earth, although there are still hundreds of police boxes that can be rescued before their destruction.

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