Despite various Internet rumors and viral images over the years, the date when Marty McFly went back to the future and discovered flying cars, hoverboards and smart clothes hasn’t passed by us. In fact, it’s taking place right now. McFly visited his future self in “Back to the Future Part II” on October 21, 2015. You can’t cook dinner in a Black & Decker hydrator or order food from a virtual waiter (unless you count Chili’s tabletlike optional ordering system), but you can experience one notable aspect of the movie: the DeLorean, which famously served as Doc Brown’s time machine.
Currently, there are more than 15 different DeLoreans on Autotrader, which means you could buy one today and live out your own version of the future, possibly one that finally includes a Chicago Cubs World Series win, as predicted by the popular 1989 sequel.
What Is a DeLorean?
Although it’s easy to cast off the DeLorean as a forgotten 1980s sports car, it’s so much more. The culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of former General Motors executive, John Z. DeLorean, the car was built in Northern Ireland during the early 1980s and, most notably, served as Doc Brown’s time machine in each installment of the “Back to the Future” trilogy.
Interestingly, models without a flux capacitor weren’t very fast. Despite its exotic-car styling, the DeLorean featured a 2.8-liter V6 producing 130 horsepower, which got it from zero to 60 miles per hour in a mediocre 9 seconds (more than 10 seconds if you opted for the automatic transmission). A joke circulated after the movie came out that the only DeLorean to hit 88 mph was Doc Brown’s. In reality, the car could reach 100 mph but not much more.
Average performance wasn’t the DeLorean’s only problem. High pricing also kept people away, as it started at around $25,000 in the early 1980s (nearly $65,000 today). Those issues, combined with John DeLorean’s well-publicized legal troubles, contributed to the end of DeLorean production in 1983 after around 8,500 models had left the factory.
For Sale on Autotrader
That wasn’t the end of the story for DeLorean. Although the company had already folded by the time the first “Back to the Future” movie came out, the films ensured the vehicles’ cult status forever. Meanwhile, many spare parts left over when the DeLorean factory closed have made it surprisingly easy to keep aging DeLoreans on the road.
This brings us to the models for sale on Autotrader. If you’ve ever wanted to live out the fantasy of owning a DeLorean, you can. They’re not just for the super-rich, and they’re not incredibly hard to find. In fact, there are currently 16 different models listed on Autotrader with prices ranging from $24,000 to $49,995, with an average price hovering somewhere around $35,500.
Who is selling used DeLoreans? Surprisingly, all kinds of people. The priciest example on Autotrader is at a car dealership in the Los Angeles area with only 3,370 miles on the odometer. A 2,900-mile example has found its way to a Mazda dealership in Ohio, where it’s on sale for $45,000. There are cars for sale by private sellers who are proud of their DeLoreans, with words like “never seen snow,” “meticulously refurbished” and “original owner’s manual still in sleeve” peppered throughout the ads. One car even boasts a “flux-capacitor replica.”
Gulf Coast Motorworks
One particular DeLorean seller stood out to us: Gulf Coast Motorworks in Bonita Springs, Florida, which is currently offering nine of the 16 DeLoreans available on Autotrader. This struck us as unusual, so we called Gulf Coast Motorworks to find out how they managed to corner the DeLorean market.
“We restore them,” said Eric, a Gulf Coast Motorworks salesperson. “We get old ones in all the time, and we restore them for people or sell them.”
Do many people buy old DeLoreans? “We sell about three or four a month,” said Eric, who noted that buyers could be found all over the world. He also told us Gulf Coast Motorworks has three DeLorean mechanics who can address all of your DeLorean needs.
What does a fully restored DeLorean sell for? “Between $35,000 and $80,000,” Eric said. That’s a lot of money for a 35-year-old car with only 130 hp — but not much for a shining example of one of the greatest movie cars of all time.