Back to the Future fan Seiji Nakazawa just about died and went to heaven.

Whether or not you’ve seen the 80s hit film trilogy Back to the Future, you’ll probably recognize the time machine that Doc Brown and Marty McFly used to travel throughout the past, present and future, maybe because it used to be front and center at Universal Studios. But did you know that it’s based on a real car that was sold for only one year, in 1981? It’s the DeLorean DMC12, and only 8,500 of them were ever made.

Our Japanese language reporter Seiji Nakazawa happens to be a big fan of the Back to the Future series, so when he heard there was a real life DMC12 in Odaiba, Tokyo, he had to go check it out!

The DMC12 is part of an automobile showroom in VenusFort, known as Megaweb Toyota City Showcase. It contains a “History Garage” that includes not just Toyotas but all kinds of classic cars on display, and they’re not just models; they’re all real, and according to staff at Megaweb, they’re all functioning cars, too. They undergo round-the-clock maintenance so that they can be driven at any time. Megaweb even holds events where guests can test drive them two or three times a year!

At the center of the History Garage display is DeLorean DMC. Seiji was smitten with the shiny look of its stainless steel body, and the gull wing doors stretching up to the ceiling made it feel like it really could fly up into the sky at the touch of a button.

The back is what got Seiji’s motor running the most. Its semi-futuristic look gives it both a sci-fi and toy car aura. And when he thought about the fact that he could actually drive this car, Seiji was over the moon. His childhood dream was coming true right before his eyes.

Now, normally, fencing surrounds the car to preserve its condition while guests are around, but Seiji received special permission from the Megaweb staff to sit in the driver’s seat. The DMC12 is a low suspension car, so you have to crouch to get in. Seiji was surprised to note that the ageing, cracking leather seat was surprisingly firm.

The car has just two seats: the driver seat, and the passenger seat. Of course, the time-traveling mechanics of the movie are missing in this real-life car, but it has an old-school radio and climate control panel that reminded Seiji of an old car his mom used to have. To be honest, Seiji thought that was a little bit incongruous with the futuristic exterior of the car. “It feels like there’s an 81-year gap between its appearance and its reality,” Seiji said.

Lost in his fervor, Seiji was happy to give us a little history lesson about DeLorean cars. John Zachary DeLorean worked as the head of the Chevrolet division, and later as the executive vice president, of the U.S. car company General Motors, but after quitting in 1973 he founded the DeLorean Motor Company, hoping to create his ideal car. The DeLorean DMC is one product of his ambitions.

In other words, Seiji believes that the DMC12 represents everything that John Zachary DeLorean dreamed of, that it is the spirit of his ideal car. Likely a big reason why this car is still well known nearly 40 years after it ceased being sold is because it was featured in the movies, but we shouldn’t forget the ideals with which it was created.

Despite it not actually having the sci-fi capabilities of the movie, seeing and sitting in the DeLorean DMC12 still felt like traveling through time and space. It at once had both the qualities of being a product of its time and of being the product of dreams of the future. Seiji couldn’t contain his excitement at getting to experience that for himself.

Check out the car in closeup below:

As it turns out, in this particular showroom, the DMC12 competes with the Toyota 2000GT in terms of popularity, so it often appears in test-drive events. Sadly, because of the coronavirus, there are no plans to hold any in the near future, so if you really want to give this baby a shot, keep an eye on Megaweb’s events so that you’ll be the first to know when they’ll restart test drives again. And if you can’t get enough of the DMC12 and Back to the Future, then don’t forget that there’s a Back to the Future manga, which is sure to knock your socks off!

Museum Information:
Megaweb Toyota City Showcase / メガウェブ トヨタシティショウケース
Address: Tokyo-to Koto-ku Aomi 1-3-12
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (currently operating on a limited schedule)

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]