BTTF3 DeLorean

This is one of seven DeLoreans used on screen in the Back to the Future trilogy. This
  particular car was used in the third movie for the 1955 drive-in movie scene when Michael J. Fox drives it into the past and lands in 1885 to find Doc. Of the seven DeLoreans, only three have survived since filming, and this is one of those three - the only one in private hands. The others are still owned by Universal Studios, and usually on display at the theme parks. For all the details, see the “Where are they?” section.

This particular car is one of two that were completely built for off road use. The DeLorean chassis was removed from the front and rear and replaced with high performance sand rail sections and suspension. The DeLorean engine and transaxle were replaced with a high performance VW engine and transaxle. The entire car had a custom roll cage built from the suspension up and into the interior. As well, the car was outfitted with a special brake device with a switch on the dash, allowing the front brakes to be held while the clutch was dropped so the rear tires would spin on screen.

After filming completed, the car sat on the backlot at Universal for
  about 11 years. In 2000, it was decided to put the car on display in the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles. The car was then sent to George Barris Kustoms for preparation. At this part of the car’s life, it is hard to believe what happened. The plan was to attempt to display the car as if it was flying. Obviously no research had been done to understand that this particular DeLorean never flew in the movie. Anyway, the wheels were removed, it was placed on a platform with black cloth drapes, and this was supposed to look like the car was flying. In addition, several atrocities occurred which disgraced this piece of cinema history:

  1. Some type of "light rope" was draped around the car, and additional brackets with screw holes were drilled into the body.

  2. A spot light type device was bolted on to the top of the exhaust vents where the Mr. Fusion once resided.

  3. Many reflectors and plastic "junk" was mounted all over the car

  4. A Barris sticker was put on the front fender along with a Back to the Future sticker

  5. The windows were painted black so that it was difficult to see inside, in order to hide the terrible condition of the interior

  6. The entire interior was spray painted flat black. Yes, you read that correctly, the entire grey leather interior, carpet, console, dashboard, everything was spray painted black.

  7. Red duct tape was placed around the gauge binnacle, on several pieces of the interior, and on the exhaust vents at the rear of the car.

  8. Random wires were placed on the rear pontoons of the car where original props were at some point removed.

Below are four photos of the car when it was displayed in the Petersen Museum. Thanks to Mark Shields for the pictures.

The following scanned document was found in the car when we acquired it. The blue paper sign was displayed in front of the car as seen in one of the above photos at the museum.

The car was acquired by ScreenUsed in 2003, with a Certificate of Authenticity and a bill of sale for legal transfer of ownership from Universal Studios. It was abandoned outside, uncovered in the weather for many years on the backlot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. The gullwing doors were frozen shut, most likely due to use during the off-road scenes, which may have slightly twisted the understructure. In order for us to put the car on a trailer, it had to be dragged on. Once back in the shop, to start the initial restoration, one of the windows and inner door panels was removed, then the inside of the two door locks were drilled free and replaced.

Because of the terrible condition of the car, and the unprofessional handling of it by Barris after filming, we decided it would be best to do a complete ground up restoration. Typically, it is not preferred to restore screen used movie props in order to keep their original appearance as they were used, or whatever condition they ended up in after production. However, with this piece, it was in such a sad state, that it didn't resemble what it looked like on screen. This decision was reached when thinking about a piece such as this and what impact it will have for future generations. This car will at some time end up in a museum and preserved for generations long after any of us are alive. For that reason, when someone walks up to see the car and asks "Where's the Flux Capacitor?" or "I want to see the Mr. Fusion?", those items really need to be on the car.

Fast forward to September 2010...

Below is a short video showing the sound and light effects.

To see all of the restoration details, click on the “Restoration” button in the top menu.


Restoration images courtesy of Brian DosSantos, final completed pictures courtesy of Eric DosSantos, and most text courtesy of ScreenUsed. All other images are property of the respective movie studio or copyright owner.