Footnote to footlights: The DeLorean is a star yet again

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Would the DeLorean DMC-12 be anything but a footnote in automotive history had it not played a key role in the 1985 movie, Back to the Future?

Sure, the car was different, what with its stainless-steel gullwing coachwork designed by none other than Giorgetto Giugiaro, its re-engineering by Colin Chapman, and, of course, its founder, former Pontiac executive and father of the GTO John DeLorean, and his subsequent prosecution (persecution?) on drug charges, of which he was acquitted.

Sounds like the stuff of a Hollywood movie, right?  Well, there was the 2019 debut of Framing John DeLorean, even staring Alec Baldwin in the title role.

But only around 6,500 of the cars were produced, and the question remains, would the DeLorean be anything beyond a footnote had one of them not been turned into a time machine in Back to the Future?

Igniting the question at this time were two appearances, and apparently very popular at that, by a DeLorean. 

The first occurred in London, where Back to the Future: The Musical debuted at the Adelphi Theater.

According to The New York Times, the audience “couldn’t stop cheering. They cheered a preshow announcement asking everyone to turn off their cellphones, “since they weren’t invented in 1985,” the year the original movie was released. They cheered when Marty McFly, the show’s main character (played by Olly Dobson), skateboarded onstage in an orange body warmer. And they cheered, again, when he started singing, surrounded by break dancers and women in aerobics getup to complete the 1980s vibe.

But, the report noted, “But the loudest applause came about 20 minutes in. After three loud bangs and a flash of light, a DeLorean car seemed to magically appear in the middle of the stage, lights bouncing off its steel bodywork and gull-wing doors.

“The audience went wild.”

Though perhaps the reception for the other recent DeLorean appearance wasn’t quite as wild, it was well attended and continues to attract attention as part of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation latest Cars at the Capital showing on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Cars at the Capital takes vehicles from the National Historic Vehicle Register and puts them in a glass enclosure for a weeklong display each September. There will be four such cars displayed this month, with the DeLorean showcased — quite literally — until September 11.

And now… Back to the, well, not to the Future, perhaps, but at least to the musical production thereof:

“The only moment of the show when the actors seemed to upstage the DeLorean came right at the end,” the Times reported. “The cast all came onstage for a final song and dance number, and each player took their moment to claim an ovation. But the car didn’t get one of its own. Despite all the technical wizardry, the one thing it can’t do is bow.”