Greg O’Leary drove his 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 for the first time ever on Back to the Future Day, Oct. 12, 2015.
He’d been working on its restoration for nearly one year, and even though his father said it might not run, O’Leary knew he had to try.
With his Flux Capacitor in the console, O’Leary turned the key. The car started, and drove without a hitch. It was a dream come true for O’Leary, even at speeds under 140 km (88 miles) per hour.
“It was amazing – after owning it for so long without driving it, I couldn’t believe it worked out that that was the first day I got to drive it,” he says.
‘Wait a minute, Doc.’ - Marty McFly
It is nearly impossible to think of the Back to the Future movies without the iconic DeLorean time machine.
Having watched the movies as a kid, O’Leary dreamed of owning such a car for years. He recalls his first time seeing a DeLorean on the road in the ‘80’s, when his father spotted one on the road in New Brunswick.
“The next thing I knew I was over by the car, touching it. That’s what everyone does – they want to see what the steel is like,” laughs O’Leary.
Years later, in the summer of 2014, O’Leary saw a DeLorean in Wolfville and remembered his dream of owning one. As he combed through online car listings in Canada, he found nothing. The nearest DeLorean he could find was in Atlanta, Georgia.
And so, he bought it. Everything was working without a hitch – until the car was held at the U.S.-Canada border when an American customs officer requested O’Leary produce the car’s original bill of sale in person.
“He didn’t believe I’d only paid $9,800 for it, since some models sell for around $60,000. So I rented a flatbed truck with my brother, and down we went to Maine,” says O’Leary.
The pair were stopped countless times on their way back by people shouting out car windows asking about the car, where they’d bought it, for how much, and if they could take a photo with it.
O’Leary now owns one of only three DeLoreans in Nova Scotia, and the sense of novelty still hasn’t worn off.
“I got it in the garage and didn’t step foot in their until Christmas morning. It was my present to myself, and I still have zero regrets about buying this car,” he says.
‘If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.’ – Marty McFly
DeLorean cars were produced by the DeLorean Motor Company in Northern Ireland from 1981 to 1983, when the company went bankrupt.
Each car was made identical with owners choosing between black or grey interiors, and either standard or automatic transmissions.
The cars are known for their iconic gull-wing doors and brushed stainless steel exterior panels. Made to compete against other luxury sports cars like
BMWs, original models sold for $25,000 – a high price for that time, says O’Leary.
“The company also made three gold panel models, with two being finished before the factory was shut down. Some employees actually broke back in, assembled a third gold-plated car from spare parts, and it was the last DeLorean that ever rolled off the assembly line.”
O’Leary has bought nearly every part needed to restore the car from DMC Texas, an American company that bought spare parts from the DeLorean Motor Company’s bankruptcy sale.
These parts included taillights, marker lights, signal lights, headlights, seat covers, brakes, the entire fuel system, most of the electrical and the cooling system. He’s also replaced the clutch, the motor, and restored the car’s stainless brushed steel surface.
“The dash isn’t perfect, there’s a bunch of little things – the inside, really – that I still need to fix. I stick to one thing at a time,” says O’Leary, recalling an engine fire that once broke out while he and his father worked on the car.
“I keep a fire extinguisher in the back seat now just in case.”
‘If you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?’ – Dr. Emmett Brown
As he drives through the Tim Hortons drive-through, O’Leary swings open his gull-wing door – something that sets the employee’s mouth agape – and says he loves seeing people react when he opens his door to get his coffee inside his car.
And as he stops at a construction zone, workers walk over and shout, “when that hits 88 miles an hour you’re going to see some serious s***,” before waving other people over to gawk at the car.
“I love seeing people get excited when they see me driving it. People wave at me, giving me thumbs up – I’ve had people pass me and try to get me to pull over so they can grab pictures while we’re driving by,” says O’Leary.
He and his wife even got swarmed by fans on their anniversary one year when they parked the DeLorean in downtown Wolfville.
“It’s something that happens with an iconic car like this. If you own a DeLorean, you’ve got to be alright with talking to people about it. They love it just as much as you do, and that’s part of the fun,” he says.
“These older cars will never be made again, so when somebody’s got one, or has spent time restoring it, that’s valuable – even if not monetarily – and means a lot to them.”
2.8 V6 5MT (130 HP)
Cylinders - V6
Displacement - 2849 cm3
Power - 96.9 KW @ 5500 RPM, 131.8 HP @ 5500 RPM, 130 BHP @ 5500 RPM
Torque- 153 lb-ft @ 2750 RPM, 207 Nm @ 2750 RPM
Fuel System - Electronic Injection
Fuel – Gasoline
CO2 Emissions - 266 g/km
Top Speed - 130 mph OR 209 km/h
Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph) 9.6 s
Drive Type - Rear Wheel Drive
Gearbox - 5-speed manual
Length - 168.1 in OR 4270 mm
Width - 72.8 in OR 1849 mm
Height - 46.1 in OR 1171 mm
Front/rear Track - 65.4/62.6 in OR 1,661/1,590 mm
Wheelbase - 94.8 in OR 2408 mm
Ground Clearance - 5.5 in OR 140 mm
Cargo Volume 14 cuFT OR 396 L
Unladen Weight - 2844 lbs OR 1290 kg
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