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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back to the Future: Hot Wheels Delorean DMC-12, Turismo, and Time Machine's



2015 is a big year for the "Back to the Future" franchise: 30 years celebration, the sequel future year arrives, and apparently Hot Wheels not only introduces another time machine but also takes the time machine back to explore the original Turismo recolor to apply to the recent Delorean release in regular and Super Treasure Hunt format!








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John Z. Delorean was the head of Pontiac in the 1960's and was responsible for creating the GTO brand to give spice to the Pontiac lineup.  Then in the 1970's Delorean decided to venture out of General Motors and create his vision of a sports car: the Delorean.  The first prototype was shown in 1976 of a sports car that has a mid-engine design, gullwing doors, and stainless steel bodywork.  The first production car came off the Dunmurray, Northern Ireland assembly line in 1981 until 1983 when the company started to run into financial troubles, including John Delorean's possession of illegal drugs.  The original motor was supposed to be a rotary engine, but at the last minute the Peugeot/Renault/Volvo 2.85 V6 with a 5-speed manual or three-speed automatic.  It's interesting to know that the final unassembled Delorean's would be built by Consolidated International, which would be later create Big Lots stores!  The platform is based on the same Y-based design used in the Lotus Esprit, and Colin Chapman had a hand in designing the construction of the body.  The stainless steel body was a chore to work and maintain, and the doors have reflectors to aid in visibility at night when the doors are open.  Performance was not as fast with an eight second 0-60 run.  Production of the Delorean started back up in 2007 with DMC Texas now building the Delorean's for those who want them.







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Hot Wheels released the DMC-12 in 2010, but before that the only way they could get close to the Delorean in the 1980's was the Turismo, which looked like the Delorean.  For 2015 Hot Wheels releases the same deco that appeared on the first Turismo's on the modified Delorean casting.  The red with yellow and white 10 racing decals are a nice match to the original.  The Turismo has a larger front hood edge that covers half of the high beam lights, larger side windows, lower engine cover, no rear quarter windows, and large arrows for signal lights over the taillights.  Otherwise it looks the same as the Delorean.  No one knows why Hot Wheels couldn't do the Delorean back then, but now they do.  The 2015 model gets updates that include the rear engine cover now part of the windows (no more opening rear hatch, but then again there really wasn't much to look at underneath anyways) and the small side windows are rolled down.  The front has the quad headlights, DMC grille (except the current red version), lower bumper with signal lights, and the lower chin spoiler.  The hood has a slot for the gas cap that was only offered for the first year.  The sides show the side windows, door trim and handles, and earlier versions have the 10-spoke wheels or the Super Treasure Hunt with the same wheels that match the actual car.








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The back end has a louvered rear window that goes down to the grid taillights that are detailed on some versions including the Delorean name in the rear bumper.  The base shows some of the engine details at the rear, while the interior has a two-person affair with simple controls for the radio and HVAC controls in the center and a large gauge pod in front of the driver.  To put it in perspective it looks a lot like the Lotus Esprit!  Now the first version was silver, but what about the black and gold?  The black was based on the mules used to train workers on the vehicles before handling the stainless steel, or it could be based on repainted Delorean's after the factory-finished stainless look.  The gold version was for a Christmas 1980 promotion with American Express to sell 100 gold-plated Delorean's for it's gold card members, but only two were sold and both are now in museum's with the saddle brown interiors that were originally offered for the standard line until cancelled at the last minute.  The third one was the final Delorean assembled, but oddly it was assembled from spare parts and those spare parts were made just in case one of the two gold Delorean's get damaged.  Problem is one of the doors were not made so it is mismatched with an aluminum doors.  This car was auctioned off first for a Big Lots store raffle.  A fourth one was custom-made for a client in New York and is not related to the other three.








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The Time Machine

Now for the Delorean Time Machine.  The story begins with the creators of the movie "Back to the Future" looking for something that can withstand the temperature changes of time travel.  It appears that stainless steel was the best solution, so at one point the option was to use a large fridge (or freezer) to travel through time, but a better solution was the Delorean: it was moveable and it looked cool while doing it!  Six were used for the movie, including one made out of fiberglass for the hover mode.  One was destroyed in the third movie, while the other ones were restored and now on display or in private collections.  88 mph was the speed to traverse time travel with a flux compacitor that sends electrical current to wires on the outside of the vehicle to send the vehicle to another timeframe like coming out of a Tesla coil.  Power to conduct this time travel was by a nuclear reactor with plutonium that was risky to refill; in later versions the Mr. Fusion resolved that issue by using household garbage to refuel the flex compacitor.  The hover mode allows the wheels to turn at a 90 degree angle for stability while the hover mechanisms underneath, powered by the same plutonium used for the time circuits and thrust is aided by the rear boosters.  The V6 engine is still used for normal driving and land speed time travel.








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Hot Wheels released this time machine in 2011, with the hover mode new this year, with metal base Retro Entertainment versions also offered this year.  It has the similar flair to the regular DMC-12, with a few differences:  The hood lacks the gas cap flap, the wires and boxes on the front bumper, sides, and to the roof.  The rear window and hatch is discarded, the base has more details for the special wiring and hover equipment, and the metal thrusters are added to the engine that finally gets the needed detail with the nuclear reactor just above it.  This is loaded with details compared to the standard Delorean!  The interior also looks the same save for the added time controls, switches, and flux compacitor.  The hover mode looks exactly the same except for the rear plate from OUTATIME to a more advance bar code.  The boosters are now plastic and now include the Mr. Fusion, while the wheels are now flat in hover mode with the visible arms; the movement is conducted by small wheels inside the base.  Finally, the most nifty one is the Light Speeders version that I found a few years ago.  The Light Speeders series uses a plastic body with metal base that lacks any details on the body.  The details are added by a blue light that etches a blue heat color on the body that lasts for about a few minutes before returning to the normal color.  You can see why this idea didn't last long!  Though when it involves a time machine oh the possibilities!  Also the rear boosters are chrome instead of black.









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The large silver one in about 1:43 scale was the only way to get a time machine in 1997.  This was a special toy sold at Universal Studio's and it has nice details on the bodywork, wheels, and no engine.  The rear taillights have cutout slots, why?  Inside there's a spinning disk attached to a gear that is moved by another gear to the rear wheels.  A stone similar to the one used to light matches is attached to a lever and rests on the coarse part of the disk like a record player.  When moved fast enough sparks are emitted out the back of the vehicle, hence the openings in the back.  It works, but it takes too much effort to get it to work, plus can you imagine this vehicle on sale to kids in today's world of safety regulations!!!  The other is the Johnny Lightning version, introduced in 1999, the first version in this 1:64 scale.  Like the Hot Wheels version it has the correct wires and details, but with a flat front-end with separate non-stainless steel front and rear endcap colors, higher chin spoiler, more metal with base and engine components, and nice rubber tires on deep dish wheels.  The interior also has the same additional time travel gear, while the base has a combination of wires and the stock Y-frame.  The engine area has more detail and color with blue accents and a detailed Mr. Fusion.  That green thing on the right-side is not the hoverboard.  When the Hot Wheels version came out many were excited, but for those who had this fantastic Johnny Lightning version it was going to be hard for Hot Wheels to top this one!








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So, whether it's the Turismo, the DMC-12, or the Time Machine Hot Wheels now has you covered on all accounts.


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