Screen Used Back to the Future III DeLorean Time Machine
As avid enthusiasts of, not just, all things DeLorean and Back to the Future, but all things Hollywood as well, imagine our elation in July 2011, when we first heard about an upcoming auction. “Icons of Hollywood” was the theme of an auction being announced by Joe Maddalena’s company called “Profiles in History” of Calabasas Hills, CA. (www.profilesinhistory.com)
The announcement promised lots of rare, screen used material. We thought that was cool and hoped to hear more. Well, a few months went by and the auction company started releasing tidbits on some of the “featured” items. These included Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and the Cowardly Lion’s costume from the “Wizard of Oz”, plus Bela Lugosi’s cape from “Dracula”. But, wait, there was more! We were literally blown away when rumor had it that the actual screen used DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future Part III might be coming up for sale!
We knew that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and had to know more about it. You may know that seven DeLoreans were purchased by Universal Studios and used in the making of the trilogy. You may also be aware that, of the seven, only three remain in existence and two of them are still owned by Universal. One is in Florida and the other in Hollywood at Universal Studio Theme Parks. The third one, this part three car, was actually purchased from Universal by a private individual and restored to its former glory. The two cars owned by Universal will most likely, never, go up for sale so this is literally the only car that will ever be owned by a private party! More on this later…..
So, fast forward to November 2011 and now the hype surrounding the auction is at an all time high! Profiles in History had done a tremendous job promoting the event. This included network television, their own excellent website and attendance at numerous events in California with items that would be part of the auction. This included the DeLorean, which made appearances at both the Museum of Monterey and at the Comic-Con in San Diego, CA. Visitors were able to get their picture taken with the car for a small donation of $20.00, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting TeamFox, Michael J. Fox’s foundation for Parkinson’s Disease research. The results were spectacular and they made a sizeable donation to this great organization.
What does all this have to do with us? Well, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out more about this amazing piece of cinematic history. I made a call to a friend and was able to get in contact with the owner of the car, Mr. Desi DosSantos from “ScreenUsed”. He was extremely cordial and spent nearly an hour on the phone with me answering all of my questions. He told me that he would be happy to set up a private viewing of the car should I decide to take a trip to California. He said he would arrange for a meeting with Profiles in History for me as well. Now I was really getting excited! We decided that we would make the pilgrimage for the auction, arriving a few days early so we could explore this wild part of the world known as California. Bill was so excited to go that he actually decided to cut the family vacation in Aruba short by a few days! Arrangements were made and we eagerly awaited the arrival of December 13, 2011.
The flight to LAX from Logan was long, but went by quickly! I arrived at 11:30am, which was actually 2:30pm according to my east coast body clock. Even though I had awakened at 2:00am, I was ready and raring to go! I had some time to kill so I started just to drive around LA and Hollywood, visiting Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Strip, Mulholland Drive and lots of historic places. What beautiful scenery! The mountains, snow covered in many areas, are visible from just about everywhere. The hills of Hollywood are fantastic to see! Trust me, you get plenty of time to look around, as you will be sitting in traffic no matter where you go. I had heard that LA traffic is the worst in the country and you will not get an argument from me about that!
Wednesday afternoon included a rendezvous at a secret location (HA!) to examine the car. Here is where I first met Desi, as well as his partner Jeff, his wife Tammy and Profiles staff member Seth. All were extremely nice and happy to answer all my questions. I was able to take my time examining and photographing the object of our desire. I also visited the Profiles office, where I met Brian and Ryan. Both of them were gentlemen and spent lots of time with me. They let me take as many pictures as I wanted and answered all of my crazy questions.
Thursday was a “free” day as the auction wasn’t until Friday. Bill had arrived and we were able to do lots of “exploring”. Our first stop was Burger King. Not just any Burger King; this was the Burger King on N. Victory Blvd in Burbank where, in part one, Marty is shown on his skateboard, hitching a ride from a pickup truck (driven by none other than Harrison Ford). (pix from movie) We had a nice breakfast, took some pictures and headed out to our next stop which was the Gamble House in Pasadena, aka “Doc’s Mansion”. (pix of you and I)It was very interesting to see the home as well as the “garage” (which is now a book store without a single reference to BTTF). (pix of you)
After this we took a “quick” trip to Arleta, CA and the McFly residence which looks very similar to what it did back when the movies were produced. The electrical towers looming in the background strike a chord, as they are very distinctive and immediately recognizable! (pix of me)Then it was off to City of Industry, CA to make a stop at Puente Hills Mall, known in the movie as the “Twin/Lone Pines Mall”. We all know that this is the site of the DeLorean unveiling in part one as well as the exciting chase scene, etc. A serious looking LA County Sheriff’s Deputy was looking at me curiously as I was snapping pictures from the hedge that Marty goes tumbling down when he first gets to the mall. I gave him a quick explanation of why I was there and he seemed to understand (I think!).
We then took a trip down to Redondo Beach for a look at the Pacific Coast Highway. Obviously this area was breathtaking in every way! The trip back to Burbank to our hotel took over three hours. Mind you, this is less than 30 miles away but it was during “rush” hour traffic. This is a mistake I will never make again!
Friday morning, December 16th had finally arrived! We had scouted out the location of the auction beforehand just to be on the safe side. It was held at the beautiful Paley Center in equally beautiful Beverly Hills, on Beverly Drive which is parallel to Rodeo Drive. Needless to say we felt just slightly out of place here amongst all of the “beautiful people”! But we didn’t care; we had an auction to go to! We had pre-registered, so it was easy to walk in, grab our assigned paddle and go for it! The auction was held in the theater, with staff of Profiles manning the phones and the internet. The auctioneer was excellent, however Bill was wearing a Red Sox shirt and it turns out the auctioneer was a life long Yankees fan. Needless to say, they had some animated interactions!
We were happy to meet Joe Maddalena, the president of Profiles, who is as charismatic and friendly in person as he is on television. Joe is from Rhode Island so being a fellow New Englander didn’t hurt either! Well, the Back to the Future grouping of items was approaching quickly, so naturally our level of excitement (and my anxiety) was rapidly increasing. I am not kidding when I say that my heart was literally pumping out of my chest. I was sweating and my hands were shaking. What an adrenaline rush!
The first few items included Marty’s jacket from part one (the brown leather one with red wool sleeves that he wore at the school and while being pushed around by Biff in the skateboard scene) plus a shirt worn by Doc Brown in all three movies. Bidding was stiff but we were determined and managed to knock these items down. (show pix of both)We also bought a “skyway lane marker” from part two, a watch worn by Marty in part two and Marty’s cowboy outfit from part three. Yeehaa !
In case you are wondering why we purchased the cowboy outfit, it happened to be the one he was wearing while driving the DeLorean which, by the way, we also bought!!!! I was completely overwhelmed with joy when the hammer dropped. Perhaps the “Yankee fan” auctioneer was influenced by my chanting loudly “sell it, sell it!”? Probably not, but it felt really good when the hammer finally hit the gavel. The crowd reaction was amazing, too. There was a round of applause and cheering in the auditorium. We got a few high fives from neighboring people in the crowd. What a rush!
A little bit later, we grabbed a unique item from Universal Studios in Japan. It is a large size, fully functioning, “flux capacitor” that actually was a display piece used on “Back to the Future-The Ride” in Japan. This will look great hanging from the wall in our barn.
The auction also featured some neat items related to Steve McQueen. Anything related to “The King of Cool” brings megabucks but we were not to be denied. We managed to knock down a Steve McQueen hand signed ash tray which was given as a gift to cast and crew from Solar Productions for the making of the 1970 movie “Le Mans”.
We would like to thank the personnel at Profiles in History for their professional demeanor and allowing us to borrow some of these images to bring you this story.
Here is a link to a website dedicated to the restoration of the car and produced by the previous owner Screen Used…..
We sincerely appreciate their help over the years!
We have had the pleasure of sharing this vehicle with many people over the years we have owned it. Our friend Christopher Rutkowski, aka “the aficionauto”, spent some time here a few summers ago an did an amazing video on the car which I am happy to share a link of here: