Photos courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum.
For the first time starting next month, fans of the Back to the Future film series can get up close and personal with one of the most famous movie and TV cars without going through a Universal theme park when the fan-restored De Lorean from the movies goes on permanent loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum.
One of three cars built for the 1985 film that kicked off the series, the A-car De Lorean – designed and built by a Universal Studios crew that included art department liaison Michael Scheffe and special effects coordinator Kevin Pike – appeared mostly in scenes requiring beauty or static shots. That meant that, unlike the B- and C-cars built for the film which were eventually destroyed or used for parts, the A-car would go on to survive the shooting of both sequels intact.
Subsequent years on display on the Universal Pictures studio lot or in the Universal theme parks weren’t as kind to the A-car, however. Fans snapped off souvenirs and the elements took their toll, leading Bob Gale, one of the Back to the Future screenwriters to pressure Universal to restore it. Universal acquiesced in 2011, and the restoration, conducted entirely by superfans of the series, commenced the following year.
Following the completion of the restoration in the spring of 2013, the A-car made its way to Universal Studios Hollywood, where it went on display in a clear glass display case in an in-house museum. Yet with all the hoopla over the 30th anniversaries of the original Back to the Future and of the film’s famous fictional experiment in time travel (and an adamant “no” on additional sequels) over and done with, Universal agreed to transfer the A-car to the Petersen, where it will join the museum’s Cars of Film and Television exhibit.
Of the seven total cars built for the trilogy, four remain: the A-car, the rail-wheel Oxnard car, and two of the VW-chassised stunt cars from the third film, one of which is now in private hands.
To celebrate the arrival of the A-car at the Petersen, the museum has planned a panel discussion featuring Gale and the crew of volunteers who restored the car; an Enchantment Under the Sea 1980s-themed dance; a showing of Out of Time, the documentary that followed the A-car’s restoration; and a De Lorean-themed Breakfast Club Cruise-In, all scheduled for April 20-24.
For more information on the unveiling of the A-car and related events, visit Petersen.org.