Now, some 30 years on, and to the day, thousands of fans of the hit trilogy, Back to the Future, are marking the anniversary of when the characters Marty and Doc Brown landed in the future.
The films will be screened in cinemas around the country and DeLorean owners will dust off their treasured cars for some time travel.
Of the 9,080 cars built in Belfast in the 1980s, 6,500 cars with the famous gull wing doors still survive. In good condition, they can make anything up to €50,000.
Michael Hickey, who helped produce the car’s steel panels at the hight of production in Carlow said: “There was a major reunion in Belfast last May and it was wonderful to see so many of the cars on the road. There are around 6,500 of these cars still on the road and another 2,000 in storage.
“I always hoped one day, when I use to look at the car panels hanging on the wall in work that I would own one and now thankfully I do. It’s a rare twin engine of which there are only around four in the world.”
Stephen Armstrong managed to source his DeLorean in Canada and did the deal this week. “My interest came from watching the original Back to the Future movie when the DeLorean DMC-12 reversed out from Doc Browns truck at the Twin Pines Mall parking lot, aka car park in Hillvalley, and I thought to myself wow. That’s a cool car.
“I’ve just became a DeLorean owner this week. It dates back to 1981 and it’s currently in Canada. I’m in the process of shipping it back and I really can’t wait. Then, finally, my DeLorean Dream will become reality.
“I’m planning use it for special events and bringing it to the DeLorean Eurofest event next year for the DeLorean`s 35 year Anniversary in Belfast/Dunmurry, and other car shows.”
The famed car became unstuck after a mere 28 months in production. And according to the longest serving employee and final CEO of the company, Barrie Mills, with a few modifications, the cars could still be used today.
“The original cars can be found from the west coast of the US and all the way to New Zealand. There are at least 500 across Ireland and the UK, with another 200 in France. Yes, the car could still survive today, with a few modifications to meet today’s production standards. The styling of the car was timeless as it was designed by a top designer of the 20th century.
For Mr Wills, it is just a “fluke” he is launching his memoir today, John Z, The DeLorean & Me, of his time at the helm in the 1980s.