The story of how an iconic movie prop was rescued from the dead, the Back To The Future III DeLorean.
Movie props are usually designed to be throwaway items. Designed to stand a few weeks or months of use during production, they’re usually discarded once filming is complete.
On the other side of the cinema screen, prop collecting is big business. The more successful and famous the movie becomes, the more valuable that prop plastic laser gun in your collection could become.
It’s amazing what prop pieces are available to buy and the scale of their associated price tags. The cheapest item, for example, a custom-made newspaper, could sell for as little as £100. On the other side of the scale is, for example, the Batpod, Batman’s custom motorcycle from The Dark Knight Rises which sold last year for £260,000.
A recent documentary by theAFICIONAUTO on YouTube, reveals what happened to one of the DeLorean used during the filming of Back To The Future Part III.
This model of DeLorean was to be used when the vehicle was required to be driving through the desert, so a stock model version of the car wouldn’t be suitable.
The car was shipped off to a specialist motor company who essentially turned the DeLorean into a dune buggy by replacing the chassis with a steel tube frame and also replacing the engine with one from a Volkswagon Beetle!
Once filming was over, as with most large props it seems, the car was left to rot on the backlot of Universal Studios for around eleven years. In 2000 it was sent to George Barris Kustoms to prepare the car for display at Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles.
George Barris Kustoms “prepared” the car for display, and even using that word feels wrong. For example, to hide away the poor state of the interior of the car, all the windows were painted black on the inside. Just to make sure, the entire interior was also spray painted black as well!
The spray painted all black interior of the DeLorean before it’s restoration in 2003.
In 2003 the car was bought from Universal Studios by the ScreenUsed company and passed onto Brian DeSantos who performed a full restoration from the ground up. You can see a more detailed history of the car and its restoration at his website BTTF3 DeLorean.
In December of 2011, the car was sold at auction for a whopping £541,000 to Bill Shea and to this day is the only screen used Back To The Future DeLorean in private hands.
theAFICIONAUTO’s Christopher Rutkowski went to visit Bill and had a go at driving the car which looks a lot better than it drives!
This is a beautifully shot video and I recommend you give it a watch if you’re a film buff or a car nut!
If you liked this documentary and the Back To The Future movies in general, you should also check theAFICIONAUTO’s other videos which include Griff’s BMW from 2015, Biff’s 1946 Ford Coupe and Marty’s Toyota pick-up truck, the 1985 Toyota SR5.