49.1 F

5 questions for the crazy bastard who drives around Reno in the Back-to-the-Future car


Photos and video by Bob Conrad and Victoria Janicke.

CLICK HERE to view the photo gallery full screen.

1. What prompted the Back to the Future car?

A. I am tired of the 90s, and I like to party.
B. I can finally wear whatever I want to the party and not be judged for outdated fashion. Why am I wearing a toga to Thanksgiving? I just came from Socrates wine mixer. Duh.
C. My mom (we’ll call her Karen K.) seriously told me when I was 7 years old that I would never have the BTTF Delorean. She then told me I was stupid and I should get a job. I LOVE showing up my parents. Always have.
D. Can you have a bad date in a Delorean Time Machine?
E. It is a lot of fun. Just love the Delorean. The jokes are endless, and it makes people of all ages, gender, and ethnicities laugh and smile. Seems to bring a lot of happiness and reminiscence to people in Reno — and it is fairly impossible to have a bad day when it ends with a drive in the time machine.

2. What have you done to it to replicate the original?

The car is amazingly screen accurate. It is an original late-May 1981 Delorean, manual shift with all black interior and only 11K original miles. (The pre-converted Delorean was sold to me by Montana’s Travis Degen for my 30th birthday gift to myself; the car was actually born/manufactured only one week before I was). The time machine details are accurate down to the gauge and color of the wires along the interior and exterior. My favorite detail is underneath the yellow locking plutonium cap — it has been molded into the metal core ‘WARNING: Keep face clear when loading plutonium into the chamber.’ In a sense, the car is more accurate than the original — many of the sights and sounds in Back to The Future car were actually post-production effects. In this car, the lighting is legitimate, all the buttons work and make all the accurate sounds from the movie.

More below the video…

3. What special features does it have, if any?

Many. The red digital speedometer on the dashboard is GPS controlled and quite accurate. Upon reaching 88mph (it will … even though the standard Delorean speedometer ironically only goes to 85), the flux capacitor goes to an ‘ultra-bright’ mode, bright light and smoke emit from the nuclear exhaust vents, and the punched-in ‘destination time’ changes to ‘present time.. The plutonium meter then alarms ‘EMPTY,’ and the time circuits must be reset and the plutonium chamber reloaded. The car did previously travel time, but my Libyan Nationalist friend and plutonium dealer that goes by ‘P’ is now doing hard time in Arizona.

There are also manual switches/remotes for many of these upgrades — the flux band lighting, the smoke machine under the hood that has been funneled to the exhaust vents, etc. Probably the most essential upgrade is the JVC stereo and speakers — the 1981 tape deck was not cutting it, and I am insistent on very loud 80’s hair metal when driving. The car also features remotely opening gull-wing doors and blue undercarriage lighting. For additional style points, I’ve added the Mattel HoverBoard, Gray’s Sports Almanac, and a ‘Reagan-Bush ’84” bumper sticker.

4. What’s the best reaction you’ve received from it?

It is tough to say. A very nice elderly couple told me I was ‘making Reno a more fun place to live.’ Dad said, ‘You’ve done a lot of stupid stuff… but this… is actually pretty damn cool.’ Mom and sister laughed and called me a crazy a***ole. The boss said he’s not going to fire me anymore, and my 4-year old nephew Will suddenly thought Dad’s Suburban was ‘dumb,’ and soon after requested a Delorean for Christmas. Parking valet at any of our hotels is always hysterical… one guy said he saw a huge cloud of smoke before he could see the car. He was expecting a Subaru Brat in distress, and when he saw the Delorean Time Machine emerge from the fog he almost passed out.

5. Can we use your real name?
I think its more fun (and professionally responsible) to maintain some anonymity; I’ll just use my pseudonym, ‘Steel Panther.’ The name of the Delorean is ‘Lorraine.’

I would be remiss if I didn’t attempt to credit Robert ‘Videobob’ Mosely and his team of engineers in Dallas, Texas for the conversion of the car and catering to my preferences.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.