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Back to the Future’s DeLorean Now Part of the National Historic Vehicle Register

The DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future trilogy is one of the most famous movie cars in existence. You could argue that it’s actually the most popular, even more so than KITT from Knight Rider, the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, or Steve McQueen’s 1968 Mustang from Bullitt.
DeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register 19 photos
Photo: The Petersen Automotive Museum
DeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle RegisterDeLorean DMC-12 Hero Car gets inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register
In fact, it’s so iconic that it just made the National Historic Vehicle Register, which is sort of like how an NBA player ends up in the Hall of Fame long after he’s retired from professional basketball. It’s a significant honor, especially when you consider the types of vehicles that have already been inducted.

According to Hagerty, the register was created back in 2013 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Interior, focusing on recognizing and documenting America’s most historically significant cars, bikes, trucks, and even commercial vehicles.

“The DeLorean Time Machine is among the world’s most recognizable and beloved automobiles. It transcends borders and generations, and it appeals to an audience far beyond the car community,” said Hagerty VP of car culture, Jonathan Klinger.

As far as its mythology is concerned, all you had to do to go either forward or backward in time was to activate the so-called “time circuits” and accelerate to 88 mph (142 kph). Interestingly enough, the idea behind the time vehicle in Back to the Future was passed around by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis a year before the DeLorean was even in production.

Despite a boost in popularity following the release of the first Back to the Future movie in 1985, the carmaker still went bankrupt with just 8,500 DMC-12 models getting built.

The way we see it, Gale and Zemeckis couldn’t have chosen a better car for this movie. There was hardly any other model available that could have pulled off such a futuristic look. Sure, you could argue that the DeLorean was still nowhere near as flashy as a Countach, for example, but then it wouldn’t have made any sense for Doc Brown to drive an Italian exotic, now would it?
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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