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5 Fun Facts About the Back to the Future DeLorean

Was the DeLorean a successful car? How many of the original movie cars are still around today? Find out these answers and more in our list of fun facts about the Back to the Future DeLorean!

The DeLorean DMC-12 Was a Flop

While it may be hard to consider now since the DeLorean is one of the most iconic classic cars made popular by Hollywood, the actual production of the DeLorean DMC-12 was a massive failure. The DMC-12 was the only model created by the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), producing about 9,000 cars over two years.

Of those 9,000 manufactured DMC-12s, only about 6,000 were ever bought, and most customers were unhappy with its unique qualities (brushed steel exterior) and shoddy craftsmanship. To no one’s surprise, DMC went bankrupt in 1982 due to the car’s failure.

It Wasn’t Well-Made

One of the reasons the DMC-12 sold so badly was that it was fragile and poorly made. The DMC was a new company with no experience in manufacturing and assembling a car, and it showed in the final product.

The car got assembled in an Ireland plant by workers with no auto experience and made with primarily cheap parts that would break frequently. The iconic gull-wing doors were notorious for not working, and reports highlight that they caused many headaches while filming the movie.

It Wasn’t in the Original Script

As ludicrous as it sounds today to make Back to the Future without the DeLorean, the movie’s original and first revised drafts didn’t feature the car or any time-traveling car. In the first drafts, Doc Brown’s time machine was a more conventional-looking contraption—although they did consider making it a refrigerator at some point.

Director Robert Zemeckis came up with the idea to use a car as a time machine, specifically a futuristic-looking car, and the DeLorean fit the part.

Back to the Future
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson (Actors)

The DMC-12 Paid Homage to Time-Traveling Predecessors

While Back to the Future may be one of the most famous examples of time travel fiction, many instances came before it that the movie owed some creative inspiration. One way that the DMC-12 paid homage to its predecessors was with the color of its circuits indicating the destination, present time, and last time departed.

The colors of these displays (red, green, and yellow) are an homage to the time machine in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, which used the same colors. The Time Machine is a groundbreaking text of science fiction, and fans credit it with being the first to come up with the idea of a time machine.

The Time Machine (2002)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Philip Rosco (Actors)

Only Three Movie DMC-12s Survive Today

Our last fun fact about the Back to the Future DeLorean regards its survival today. Filmmakers used six different DMC-12s over the movie trilogy, but only three survived the rigors of filming.

While there are many replicas around, the three that were part of filming that survive today reside at Universal Studios theme parks and the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

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