Back To The Future car still makes a statement

LAUREN BOYER
Last updated 11:47 29/05/2013
A DeLorean.

ORIGINAL: A file photo of an original DeLorean DMC-12.

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Brent and Felecia Lundgren don't need a time machine to visit the 1980s.

They have an automotive relic from that decade sitting in the garage: A mint condition 1983 DeLorean.

When the couple drives it to car shows in the US, even the owners of Teslas and Ferraris stop to pay their respects.

"They're like, 'Oh, wow. A DeLorean,'" said Felecia. "They're impressed with our little red-headed step-child in comparison to the other cool cars."

Brent, 59, is a retired federal government employee.

He first saw a DeLorean in 1981 in the Beasley showroom in York, Pennsylvania.

"A friend of mine needed a used car," he said. "I went along for the ride."

Twenty years later, in 2001, Brent's MG sports car wasn't passing its state inspection.

So, he did the most logical thing he could think of.

He purchased a DeLorean.

Today, he's the vice president of the DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club, which boasts members from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"We like the concept of the car," Felecia said. "It was a unique, innovative car. Somebody took a big risk business-wise. He came up with some ideas -- not all of them perfect."

The DeLorean - with its stainless steel exterior and mid-engine - was the brainchild of John DeLorean, an automobile executive who left General Motors in 1973 to form the DeLorean Motor Co. in Northern Ireland.

The car was manufactured as the DMC-12 in 1981 and 1982.

The DeLorean Motor Co went bankrupt in 1982 following John DeLorean's arrest on drug trafficking charges. He was later found not guilty.

By then, it was too late.

About 100 partially assembled cars were completed by Consolidated International, also known as Big Lots. The one the Lundgrens purchased belongs to that fleet.

In total, about 9000 DeLoreans were built, though the factory contained parts for about 30,000, according to delorean.com.

The remaining inventory now belongs to the DeLorean Motor Co of Texas.

"We have people that will speed up and slow down alongside of us so they can see the car," Brent said.

DeLoreanIt's a vehicle that continues to captivate imaginations. The hype is mainly fueled by the "Back to the Future" movies, where the DeLorean DMC-12 is used as a homemade time machine powered by a plutonium-based "flux capacitor."

In the movie, time travel to a selected date happens when the car reaches 88 miles per hour (141kmh).

In real life, when a DeLorean reaches 88 miles per hour, "you get a speeding ticket," Brent laughed.

The film isn't a major factor in the Lundgrens love of their car.

Their love for each other, though, blossomed around its gull-wing doors and fiber glass underbody.

At the beginning of their relationship, Brent asked his future wife on a date to a car show.

"We had gone out a few times. I knew a few things about him," Felecia said. "I said 'yes,' because I actually enjoy cars."

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In a calm, conservative, monotone voice, Brent let out a little secret.

"OK. I'll pick you up Sunday in my DeLorean."

The couple married March 20, 2005 - the day after their car-making idol John DeLorean died.

Their DeLorean, to date, has about 71,000 miles (114,000km) on it.

And it's had its fair share of issues, just like any car.

On a single trip to Chicago there was a broken belt and coolant hose. The gear teeth stripped and a wiper failed while it was raining.

"It's given me a few gray hairs," Felecia said.

But it's all in good fun.

The Lundgrens don't have any plans of selling their beloved DeLorean.

"There's a rule of 25 with DeLoreans," Brent said. "Whatever you buy it for, you're going to spend about US$25,000 more to get a reliable, running, daily driver."

DELOREAN DUO

Twins Alex and Matt Bozievich bought their first DeLorean on a whim.

Alex, who lives in Spring Garden Township, said he was surfing the Internet one day when he spotted a 1981 model for sale on Craigslist in New Jersey.

It was meant to be.

"Some people are big into the 'Back to the Future' movies, some people aren't," Alex said. "I'm really not. I just kind of really like the car."

And their DMC-12 isn't sitting in a garage, like some classic car owners would have it.

Though the brothers, 30, own separate vehicles, they make a point of driving the DeLorean at least three times per week.

They even purchased a second.

Last July, they came across a 1983 DeLorean in Arkansas that had been sitting in a warehouse since 1989.

They are working to restore it to driveable condition, using parts from a totalled DeLorean.

And they do all of the auto work themselves, like many members of the DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club, which they joined in 2009.

"You get a lot of people who look at you when you drive by on the street," Alex said. "Most of them, they just want to see the doors go up.

-MCT

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