One of the most iconic movie cars of all time has to be the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future franchise. Fans of all ages still stop and gawk at the stainless steel car – even if it lacks Hollywood’s magical special effects. Jay Leno recently had the iconic car on his show – Jay Leno’s Garage – and not only talked to a co-creator of the movie, Bob Gale, but to two Back to the Future DeLorean restorers as well, Terry Matalas and Joe Walser.  

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Walser, who used to sneak onto the Universal lot to use the movie’s original hero car A as research for his own replica project met Gale and Matalas after auctioning off one of his DeLorean recreations. Matalas and Walser then worked together to restore the hero car Universal left to rot, which was nearly a two-year process, working from photos and the movie as no blueprints remained from the original build. The car now resides in the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Matalas owns a second replica car with parts from hero car B built for the movie. That car has graced the Oscar stage and been on TV for Super Bowl commercials. There was a third car – hero car c – used for interior filming. When restoring the original hero car, Matalas and Walser took a few liberties, such as including the 95-mile-per-hour speedometer from hero car C because that’s what fans would want to see. The original hero car A had an 85-mph speedometer. 

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The first few drafts of Back to the Future didn’t include the DeLorean. The original time machine was a converted refrigerator hauled around in the back of a pickup truck. Out of fear kids would accidentally wander into junkyards, lock themselves in an old refrigerator, and either get hurt or die, and due to the overall logistics of hauling around a fridge in the film, the movie’s creators decided to make a car the time machine. 

The movie wasn’t a hit with studios. Forty studios rejected the script, some turning it down more than one. However, the creators eventually found a home with Universal, which wanted to turn the DeLorean into a Mustang to help add $75,000 of financing to the movie. Thankfully, the creators declined the change. 

It’s weird how movie cars become icons. If Universal got its way and changed the car to a Mustang – or a studio never took a gamble on the movie in the first place – the iconic DeLorean time machine may never exist today. 

Source: Jay Leno’s Garage via YouTube 

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