In recent weeks I’ve noticed a growing trend of people posting their own lists of “perfect films” on social media. As you can imagine, critiquing movies can be a highly subjective practise and it’s no surprise that the examples you see on these lists range greatly from one another. There is one film however, which seems to appear more than most – Back to the Future. As a bit of a movie-geek, I couldn’t help but think hard about the time-travelling classic from 1985.
Rarely has a film ever left such a cultural impact on us 35 years on from it’s release. Even the fussiest of film snobs will appreciate it’s masterful cinematography, acting and writing depth just as any 12-year old will marvel at its sense of high-stakes adventure. In the era of reboots and 30-years later sequels, it is unlikely this franchise will ever be touched. No one could ever do justice another attempt at Robert Zemeckis’s masterpiece of pop-culture.
Countless elements of the film are still remembered today. Shoes and hoverboards are prized memorabilia, famous lines are constantly quoted and the soundtrack remains one of film’s finest. Perhaps one element however transcends all others, and is constantly associated with the movie, even to casual viewers. This is of course the DMC Delorean.
Let’s be real here. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and co. delivered iconic performances, but it is the Delorean which will always be remembered as the true star of the trilogy. No matter who you are, or where you are in the world, there is no one who would look at a Delorean and not immediately be reminded of Back to the Future. In fact, I’d argue that the sight of one on the road would turn more heads than your most expensive Ferrari or Lamborghini – such is the appeal of the car which was once regarded as a complete failure.
When John Delorean began to develop his car in the mid-70’s, he envisioned a number of experimental and pioneering design features which would create a revolutionary sports car that was easy to produce and could be bought cheaply. As the 80’s began and time pressure began to mount, many of the plans were abandoned and replaced with existing technologies which would end up more than doubling its price from $12,000 to over $25,000. Upon its release, the DMC wasn’t very revolutionary at all. Its instantly recognisable design featured gullwing doors, an all-stainless steel finish and rear-engine layout which added to its appeal, however ultimately the car fell short of John Delorean’s original vision.
As supply quickly outgrew demand, things would only get worse as the US fell into recession – all but eliminating the sales of the car altogether. Instead of reducing production to cope, the company doubled it which led to a backlog of inventory which couldn’t be sold. Disregarding the economic situation of the time and Delorean’s troubled production history, the fact remains that the DMC as a car just isn’t very good. Automotive publications criticised it for its lack of performance, while their build quality also left a lot to be desired.
Does any of that really matter though? In this day and age, no one is buying a Delorean because they want a fast and reliable car. Instead, they’ll have their own piece of cultural history and an automobile which will instantly make them the envy of all their friends. No owner would care about the time it takes to reach their destination, when the journey is filled with smiles and waves from pedestrians and passerby motorists.
As much love as the DMC has received for the films, it wasn’t the only star-car to make a feature. Just as cool if not as iconic is Marty’s 1985 Toyota Hilux Deluxe 4×4 Xtracab. While it may not have received as much screen time as the Delorean, the arc of the story held the Hilux as the true hero and the 4×4 that it’s protagonist ultimately desired.
The specced-out Lux featured blacked-out bars and grille, 15” black modular wheels and most famously bright-yellow KC light covers. The ever-reliable Toyota Hilux may not be as rare or unique as the Delorean, however if you ever see one from this year, in this model and with these features it’s not likely a coincidence but instead a homage to the movie car. In fact, there’s probably considerably more stock Deloreans in existence than 85 Hiluxs which have been built to McFly-spec.
Of course we can’t forget the remaining cast of legendary automobilia to make up the ensemble, which includes Biff’s pristine 1946 Ford and even the infamous blue VW Kombi (which I talked about in the Kombi FMC Feature Article). It just reflects the scope of Back to the Future’s legend, that almost everything involved in it is still so iconic decades from it’s release. Few movie-car duo’s hit harder than the Delorean and Hilux, and show that even two very ordinary cars can be transformed into legends through the silver screen.
Tim may not be the biggest Back to the Future fan you ever meet, however you’d struggle to find someone who’s a bigger fan of the cars than he is. Even after finally importing a Delorean from the US, the garage was not complete and he built his Hilux faithfully to film spec. What you can see today looks nothing like the shell he started with, and you would struggle to find a more authentic build in the country, let alone the world. I’ve joked to him that the collection isn’t complete until it features the blue and white Kombi, however it’s very much something he’s truly considered in the past. Tim’s cars are for hire through his site Delorean Rental, and when he’s behind the wheel himself he always has time for fans who want a photo with them. As I can testify from the time I’ve spent with himself and the cars, they draw a crowd like nothing else.
Tim contacted us about getting a set of custom floor mats made for his Hilux and Delorean. While FitMyCar has most cars on the road covered, there are always the more unique vehicles which we may not have an existing template for. If this is the case for your classic or unique car, contact us about getting a custom set made for you.
All photographs by Nick Williams