The Black Country DeLorean
By Brett Birks
Meet the man who owns Europe's only licensed replica of the DeLorean used in 'Back to the Future Part II'.
Glen stands proudly
Glen Hale, an engineer from Walsall, beams with pride whilst standing next to his most cherished possession.
Behold – it's a time machine!
Well, at least it's a close as you're going to get in Europe – a direct replica of the DeLorean immortalised in the 1986 movie hit 'Back to the Future Part II'.
"I bought the car five years ago from a gentleman in a DeLorean owners club," says Glen. "I've always been a fan of the car since 1985 when the first 'Back to the Future' film came out and I always said to mom and dad that I'd own a DeLorean."
The flux capacitor
This DeLorean though is kitted out with all the gadgets and gizmos film buffs will recognise from the movie trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
Smoke machines, BTTF memorabilia and in-car sound effects add authenticity. With add-ons such as the time circuits and the flux capacitor, it's been an expensive hobby for Glen:
"Five years ago I paid about what would be £20,000 in this day-and-age for the car. It's now worth just under £100,000 with all the gadgets and accessories on it.
The flux capacitor
"They were built by a gentleman by the name of Bruce who actually worked for Universal Studios on the original set. I know Bruce very well. He made another flux capacitor. The actual time controls are from one of the original cars as is most of the equipment on the outside. He sent me them and I did most of the work on the car.
"This is a 90% actual replica and it's actually been tested by Christopher Lloyd who was actually in the car last weekend. I've got a written certificate to say it's one of the best cars he's seen in Europe. I'm the only licensed replica in Europe. It's fully taxed, insured, MOT'd and road legal".
So what on earth do passers-by in Walsall think when they see 'the car from Back to the Future' driving down the road?
And – crucially - does it reach 88mph, the speed Marty McFly and Doc Brown had to hit in order to travel through time?
"Yes, it does hit 88mph! (laughs). I don't go above 40mph. The problem is when you do take it out you can get a lot of people try to stop you, pull you over, taking photos. It can cause a lot of problems. We actually saw a cyclist drive straight over an island in Walsall because he couldn't believe what he was seeing. We now transport it in a trailer after being advised to by West Midlands Police.
"When you own a DeLorean, you can't be shy because it attracts that many people. Even a standard DeLorean attracts people but when you're driving a 'Back to the Future', people try to pull you over!"
Repairs and engine
Recognition isn't the only issue though: repair work poses unusual problems:
Going for a spin
"We do have a problem when we take it to an MOT station because they don't even know where to start on a DeLorean. With the car being so rare they ask me how to MOT it! But it's a brilliant car – it's just like any car if it's looked after. It hasn't broken down on me once yet.
"In the film it runs the DeLorean runs on plutonium (laughs). We're actually just running on plain, old unleaded. It goes through a PVR engine – which is part Renault, part Volvo. It's a V6 injection."
Like its movie counterpart, Glen's DeLorean is clocking up a lot of miles; it's far from just a souvenir he keeps in the garage. Glen and his dad Clive hire out the vehicle for everything from charity events to weddings:
Clive and Glen
"We do a lot of charity work for Birmingham Children's Hospital, we do a lot of cancer research. This weekend we're doing a classic car show. When these happen people can have photos taken with the DeLorean and then we give the money to a charity of the organisers choice.
Retirements and weddings
"We've had people at the age of 65 for their retirements get picked up from work in it and taken home. It's amazing how many of the older generation want the 'Back to the Future car'.
"We do weddings too – actually we had one this past Saturday. The groom turned up in this DeLorean. You can even have Marty or Doc driving it – whatever you want!"
Clive as Doc Brown
For Glen and Clive though – who double as Marty McFly and Doc Brown when required – the real joy is bringing a smile to people's faces.
"It's great - I really enjoy it," says Clive. "When it goes out to show that's when it's more pleasing. People – whether you're six to sixty – the smile comes on their faces. It's just amazing. The car promotes itself. And they know it's the 'Back To The Future' car."
Browse our photos of Glen's DeLorean! Click the links at the top and bottom of this page.
last updated: 14/05/2009 at 15:51