By Leah Asmelash, CNN
(CNN) — “Back to the Future” has been a family favorite film franchise for decades, so much so that the car used for the time machine can resell for up to six figures.
Now, imagine finding that same model in the back of a Wisconsin barn, with original parts and less than 1,000 miles, partially sunk into the dirt like treasure. Great Scott!
That’s exactly what happened to Michael McElhattan, who owns DeLorean Midwest, an auto restoration company in Illinois that specializes in DeLoreans, and his social media partner Kevin Thomas. The car featured in the “Back to the Future” franchise is a DeLorean DMC-12, manufactured for just three years from 1981-1983. With its gullwing doors and brushed stainless steel body, its spaceship-like appearance made the car ideal for the films, the directors have said.
Despite mechanical woes, the vehicles have since developed a cult following. And this one, a 1981 model that has spent the majority of its life in a barn, only had 977 miles on the odometer — a rarity.
After 17 years of working on DeLoreans, it’s been exciting to find a model they hadn’t heard of so close by, said McElhattan in a video on DeLorean NATION, the YouTube channel run by him and Thomas.
“It’s always cool to see another one come out of the woodwork that’s been lost to the community,” McElhattan said.
Only about 9,000 DeLoreans were built before the factory closed due to bankruptcy. In a phone call with CNN, McElhattan said the parts are what really captivated him about the find. Nothing has been changed about the car, he said, even down to the original tires.
“It’s literally like a time machine in that way, traveling back to 1981 when it was manufactured,” McElhattan said.
The team thinks the car had been parked for about 20 years, and that it had started sinking into the ground when McElhattan and Thomas visited it. There were mice droppings everywhere, too, signs of an infestation.
The two purchased the DeLorean from the owner, and they plan to restore the car and get it back on the road. Soon enough, it’ll be driving again, maybe even to the future.
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