Gallery: The Completely Restored DeLorean “A” Car from Back to the Future Gets a New Home at LA’s Petersen Museum

A huge gallery of detailed close-ups that'll make any fan start shopping for a DeLorean. After all, if you're going to build a time machine into a car why not do it with some style?

I've never been shy about my two childhood favorite movies, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters.

I was so honored to be invited to the unveiling of the completely restored “A” car that will live permanently at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. Writer Bob Gale was there as well as the team of die-hard fans that spent 2 years renovating the primary screen car used in the first movie, led by Temporal FX's Joe Walser.

Back to the Future visual history

If you're a big fan of the trilogy, you have to check out The Ultimate Visual History, an impressive compendium with physical copies of things like Marty's letter to Doc, Doc's drawing of the flux capacitor, and more.

This car has been completely restored to the condition that it was in when it rolled off the truck in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot. This was the car that fell in to decay at Universal Studios, where parts were swapped among the other cars that lived at Universal Studios Florida and Japan, but the team spent a year investigating and reacquiring all of the “A” car parts. This was a restore done for fans by fans, and a huge kudos is sent out to Universal for doing this the right way.

The team first completely dismantled the DeLorean down to the chassis. (Doc finally got his wish.) This included the arduous process of cataloging all of the parts, their exact positions, researching which were from the original car and which had been swapped or added later, recouping all of the proper parts and reassembling. The car was in terrible condition from sitting outside for decades; not just the time machine parts, but there was plenty of work needed to the stainless steel body, which as you may recall, aided in the flux dispersal.

Most people don't think of the car as just a prop, but like all props they're created to achieve what is necessary for filming and not for function or preservation. Because of this the time circuit lights in the movie were actually controlled by a prop guy off screen, but the restoration team made them functional: You can now type in dates! Also, the sound effects were added in post-production, but the restore team developed a system so that the car actually makes the sounds now.

The DeLorean has a new home at the recently renovated, world-class Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. This isn't just some garage for grizzled old car guys: It's a curated collection of the amazing history and design of the automobile in a beautiful setting worthy of the best art museums in the world. If you go, spring for the private vault tour, there's another DeLorean down there – this one plated with 24k gold(!).

If you're also a Ghostbusters fan, you can see my photos of the restored Ecto-1 and my complete guide to making a screen accurate Ghostbusters uniform.

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • TJ

    That is so cool! If I’m ever in LA, I will be certain to visit the museum.