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Back to the Future was the highest-grossing movie of 1985, and it’s still a popular movie today. One of the most memorable features of the film is the time-machine DeLorean, which transports Marty McFly and Doc Brown back (and forth) in time. Now that the popular science fiction movie has been made into a musical, the Back to the Future DeLoran has been brought to the stage. With the help of a DeLorean superfan, the DeLorean in Back to the Future: the Musical is as accurately portrayed as ever. 

The stainless steel 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with its doors open.
Back to the Future DeLorean | Back to the Future

It’s no surprise that Back to the Future: the Musical incorporates a DeLorean

The movie is now a musical at the Adelphi Theatre in London. The New York Times says that the Back to the Future DeLorean is the “star of the show.” According to the Times, it’s twenty minutes into the musical before the DeLorean appears. Once it did, it was met with the loudest applause of the show.

The 1981 Back to the Future DeLorean is so iconic that it’s been included in the National Historic Vehicle Register. The National Historic Vehicle Register is designed to keep track of the most memorable and important cars. This shows just how beloved and significant the Back to the Future DeLorean is. In fact, it’s only the 29th car ever to be added. 

It wasn’t easy to get the Back to the Future DeLorean right in the musical

Clearly making a movie with a car and making a musical with one are two different things altogether. Putting a car on a stage faces different challenges than putting one in a film. Space is a major constraint, and the musical’s production manager, Simon Marlow, said that making it seem as though the car was moving – and fast – was incredibly difficult. To make matters even more complex, Marlow said that “‘The ‘Back to the Future’ fan base is massive, and they’re very pedantic,” according to The New York Times article. 

To make sure that the Back to the Future DeLorean was as perfect as it could be, the musical reached out to Steven Wickenden. Wickenden has a replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean that he showcases at events. When he got the call that his expertise – and replica – were desired to make sure the musical version of the DeLorean was top-notch, Wickenden was happy to comply.

Souvenir Studios in London made the theatre-version of the DeLorean. They used Wickenden’s DeLorean as a model, and consulted with him to get the smaller details right. Then the show took that replica and added technology to make it appear to be moving and flying on stage.

The history of the DeLorean is colorful

The DeLorean was founded by John Z. DeLorean in Northern Ireland. Although it may be hard to believe, considering how iconic the DeLorean is, only 9,000 were made. When DeLorean started facing financial difficulties, he did everything he could to save the company. Eventually, he was charged with – and later acquitted of – attempting to save the DeLorean car company by selling cocaine.

It was the DeLorean’s notoriety that in part fueled the writers’ decision to use a DeLorean in the Back to the Future film. Originally, Marty McFly was supposed to climb into a refrigerator and be transported through space-time. While the movie was being made, it was changed to the DeLorean. (CBS News reports that another reason for the change were the movie’s director and producer’s fear that kids may climb into refrigerators.)


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