The ‘A’ Car

During the filming of the Back to the Future (Part I), three different DeLoreans were used to represent the time machine. These were designated by the production crew as the A, B, and C cars.

The ‘C’ car had its nose and tail cut off and was used for interior shots, and the ‘B’ car was destroyed by the train at the end of the third movie. However, the ‘A’ car was the primary Hero Car used for close-ups and boasted the most details. This is the vehicle you see when it backs out of Doc Brown’s truck in the mall parking lot and other scenes where the camera was close to the vehicle:

Back to the Future (1985) by Universal Pictures

Unfortunately, after production wrapped on the trilogy, this car had a very rough life. Over the next 20-some years, it was moved all around Universal Studios Hollywood, modified, left outside exposed to the elements, parts were stolen, and animals even took up living in it. Needless to say, it ended up in pretty bad shape.

In 2011, screenwriter Bob Gale set in motion a colossal effort to get the car restored to its original condition. With the help of a dedicated team of fans and skilled craftsman, and led by Joe Walser and Terry Matalas, the car was painstakingly rebuilt over the course of a year. There is even a video documentary about the entire restoration: OUTATIME.

After a brief stint on display at Universal sealed in a glass enclosure, the restored car was finally moved to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California where it is now protected, cared for, and will remain for future generations to enjoy:

Petersen Automotive Museum. Photo by David Zaitz.

I recently visited the Petersen myself to see the car in person and brought my DSLR/Flash rig. More than an hour later, I left with over 350 photographs covering  every inch of the car I could get to without touching it. I thought these pictures may help others who are looking for extra details, so I uploaded most of them to a Dropbox account to share with everyone who might be interested:

Go to my Dropbox photos of the ‘A’ Car

This was a great experience and I learned a few things that will hopefully improve this 1:8 scale Back to the Future DeLorean partworks build have a little more realism and accuracy to *the* best possible source, the actual ‘A’ car.

The following are just a few examples of the hundreds of pictures I took that day (the rest can be found in the link above): 

I want to extend a big THANK YOU to the patient staff at the Petersen to make this possible!

Go to my Dropbox photos of the ‘A’ Car

9 thoughts on “The ‘A’ Car”

  1. Hi, just wanted to take a few minutes to say thank you for posting the pics of the A Car. It’ll be a great help for my build. 🙂

  2. Brilliant reference pics, thanks so much for sharing them. All I need to do now is learn how to paint and weather my DeLorean build for that authentic look!

  3. Hi, I’m about 90% finished with my Eaglemoss build, but I’m also in the process of collecting parts for a full size replica time machine! I’m part of a group of builders that are also building or have finished full size replicas. Your pictures from the Peterson museum have been insanely helpful to my full size build. I’m trying to put together some better reference data for fellow builders and new builders, it’s never really been done before. This is a not for profit thing I’m trying to do, just helpful info and pretty much shared just on a facebook group about building the full size car and on the Replica Prop Forum in my diary thread of building my car. Can I post your pictures as ref. material as I build my car? I would be focusing on every small detail of the real car- every bolt, wire, aircraft part etc. And post what the real world part is, and where people may be able to buy the items. I’ll keep your water mark on the pictures, or give full credit if I crop down a picture to 1 particular part I’m discussing. Would this be ok with you?

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