Spannerhead Dot

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

July 24, 2011 by Matt

Flying DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine

Today we discuss a car that consumed innumerable hours of my waking and sleeping childhood fantasies: The flying DeLorean DMC-12 time machine from the Back to the Future film franchise. Naturally.

It would have to be its flying incarnation—the grounded version of the first and third films in the series held little interest. I can understand why it remained on the ground for as much of the series as it did, special effects costing what they do. That said, the scene at the very end of the first film where the car levitates, blasts forward, does an immelmann turn and dives at the viewer was one of the defining moments of my childhood. It was unbelievably cool.

Flying DeLorean 2

The second film didn’t let me down, featuring lots of scenes of the car in the air. I got to see it land in the rain (pictured above), weave side-to-side as it descended during the tunnel scene and drive on the 2015 freeway. I loved it, and I wanted my own.

I didn’t need the time traveling functionality as long as the hover capability was present. I remember drawing endless pages of schematics on graph paper detailing the mechanism whereby the wheels would pivot downward and the car would levitate. I theorized about how I would accomplish that last part: Would the car’s wheels function as fans and direct air downward, or would I have to invent some kind of anti-gravity device? Having the most tenuous grasp of how cars worked at that point in my life, and no conception of the complexities of an AWD system, let alone any of the other elements I postulated were necessary, I decided that coming up with an anti-gravity solution would probably be the “easier” solution in the long run. My interest started to taper off at that point, as I encountered dead ends in my research and other things began to consume my time, so my progress ground to a halt.

Why did the flying DeLorean fascinate me as much as it did? It probably had to do something with the fact that it was a merging of two main interests of mine: aviation and cars. More than that, I loved the non-conformism of the car (it definitely isn’t something you see every day), and—full disclosure—the idea of pulling up next to a group of friends, pressing a button on the dashboard and flipping my sunglasses down a la Doc Brown as I rose away from terra firma. I visualized myself in that scenario more than once, believe me.

The car might be closer than I think, after all—the second film is set in 2015, 4 short years away. Maybe I’ll be able to do a hover conversion on one of my cars sooner rather than later.

Filed under: DeLorean, Media


  1. Bon Crowder says:


    I love these movies and this car!

    Incidentally, the Delorean motor company ( is about 20 minutes away from me!

    Oh, I totally want one!

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