Blast from the past! 1981 DeLorean with just 977 miles on the clock is discovered in Wisconsin barn
- Hidden gem had been untouched so long it had ‘begun to sink into the ground’
- Just 9,000 ever rolled off the production line and they can fetch up to $170,000
- The iconic gull-wing car was immortalized as the time-travelling centerpiece of the 1985 Michael J Fox hit movie Back to the Future
A group of classic car restorers unearthed a genuine time machine when they opened the door to a barn in Wisconsin – a 1981 DeLorean with just 977 miles on the clock.
Michael McElhattan of DeLorean Midwest heard rumors of the untouched treasure from its original owner’s nephew who said he was travelling from New Mexico to take a look.
What he found was a pristine, but very dirty, example of the iconic car immortalized as the time-travelling centerpiece of the 1985 Michael J Fox movie, Back to the Future.
Just 9,000 of the gull-wing coupe ever rolled off the production line before production stopped in 1983, and perfect examples can fetch up to $170,000 at auction so McElhattan was desperate to see it for himself.
‘It happened pretty quick, because once I found out the car was close, and it was a low mileage car, I was excited to go take a look,’ McElhattan told WDJT.
The car fans immediately recognized the hidden gem below the years of grime
With just 977 miles on the odometer it has one of the lowest mileages of any discovered in recent years
Michael McElhattan of DeLorean Midwest was delighted to buy it from its 90-year-old owner
He was even more excited when he discovered the 90-year-old owner was prepared to sell it, complete with its 2.85-liter V6 engine.
‘He said he would go out in the barn and just look at it, because he thought it was a really cool car,’ McElhattan explained.
‘The condition of the leather, the condition of the instruments cluster in the dash, and a lot of places where you see sun damage, that’s one of the big killers on this,’ McElhattan said.
‘This car virtually has no sun damage.’
The elderly owner told them it had not moved for about five years but the group think it might be more than 20 because it had ‘begun to sink into the ground’.
But it had not been left completely unattended as a large number of rodents had decided to call it home.
‘We open it up, and the first thing I saw was a mouse go running across the center console,’ McElhattan said.
But with just 977 miles on the odometer it is one of the lowest-mileage examples discovered in recent years, according to autoevolution.com.
‘All told, it looks like this DeLorean is only a thorough bath and detailing away from becoming an awesome survivor,’ the website wrote.
The car was the time-travelling centerpiece of the 1985 movie Back to the Future
Starring Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd it sees Marty McFly (Fox) accidentally transported back to 1955 where he has to save his parent’s relationship
The biggest-grossing movie of 1985 it took $389 million at the box office and received four Oscar nominations
The plate of the Wisconsin DeLorean and one of the cars when new back in 1981
The rear-mounted V6 engine was concealed under a fiberglass underbody
Marty McFly infestation: Rodents and insects have paid more attention than people in recent years
Thousands of motor fans have welcomed the discovery on social media
The stainless steel finish is now virtually invisible under years of dust
Hit the rodent: ‘This DeLorean is only a thorough bath and detailing away from becoming an awesome survivor,’ autoevolution.com wrote.
The car was the brainchild of Michigan engineer turned entrepreneur John DeLorean who was the youngest division chief in General Motors history before leaving to start the DeLorean Motor Company in 1973.
Teaming up with Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro he produced his first prototype in 1976 but it was 1981 before the first production model emerged from his factory in Northern Ireland.
At $25,000 for a basic model, sales were poor and novelties such a gold-plated version were unable to save the company which filed for bankruptcy in February 1982.
DeLorean himself was indicted for cocaine trafficking, wire fraud and tax evasion but eventually acquitted on all charges.
His car was already an 80s icon when it was given an unlikely starring role as a time machine in Back to the Future, the biggest grossing movie of 1985.
Powered by a plutonium engine – rather than the real car’s remodeled Renault V6, -the time machine accidentally sent Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, back to 1955.
Finally seeing the light of day after years concealed in a Wisconsin barn
On the way to its new home in Crystal Lake, Illinois
Sales were poor despite founder John DeLorean being one of the biggest celebrities of the 1980s
There his own existence was jeopardized by his mother falling in love with him, rather than his father.
These days it is the car that people fall in love with and more than 50,000 have now watched an online video tour of the gem found in the Wisconsin barn.
It still has all its original parts and McEhatten was quick to load it up on a trailer and ship it back to his depot in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
‘To take a car from this condition to what I know we can do with it, is just, that’s an adventure anybody wants to be on,’ he said.
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