Just sitting in a parking lot, Drew Guillory’s car attracts a thumbs-up and a few ear-to-ear grins from passing motorists. Then the camera phones start popping out.
“This car will change your life,” he says.
“This car” is a replica of the time machine from “Back to the Future,” which hit theaters 30 years ago this summer. And every little errand draws attention.
“Just about every car you pass, there are camera phones hanging out the window,” Guillory says.
Over five years, Guillory, 27, painstakingly converted his daily driver, a sleek silver 1983 DeLorean sports car, into the decade-jumping vehicle from the 1985 hit.
Poring over screenshots from the films, the Baton Rouge filmmaker and photographer has created, purchased or appropriated dozens of small pieces to create a “screen accurate” vehicle, with large vents mounted over the engine in the rear and dials and switches inside the cockpit.
While completely street legal, the car still gets Guillory pulled over. Sometimes cops just want a picture, he says.
Standing out on the road has its perks, too.
“If you are trying to get into traffic, they’ll wave you in because they want pictures,” he says. “Everybody becomes your friend.”
Guillory’s older brother introduced him to the “Back to the Future” movies.
He loved Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly — the hero with a teenage rebel cool, a non-conformist skateboarder and guitar player sent into the past.
And he became obsessed with the car — a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with shining stainless steel body, a sporty low profile and doors that opened up instead of out.
“As a kid, it was the coolest car ever, gull-wing doors and all that,” Guillory says.
Produced from 1981 to 1983, the DMC-12 was the only car produced by the DeLorean Motor Company before going bankrupt. The unique vehicle remained popular because of the “Back to the Future” franchise.
Six years ago, Guillory was working for a reality television production company creating hunting shows for an outdoors television network. His savings grew to the point that he could fulfill a childhood dream — buy a DeLorean.
“It got to the point where I could afford it,” he says. “I could actually do it.”
Scouring the internet, he found the car, a 1983 DeLorean in Alabama, on eBay. His winning bid was $13,000.
The car needed $5,000 in work over the next year, and, at first, the car left Guillory stranded a few times. DeLoreans have many “quirks,” he said.
About a year later, he began the conversion.
“Not only did I fall in love with the DeLorean, it was the time machine in the movie I fell in love with,” he says, explaining his inspiration.
Many of the vents and piping used in the film were expensive vintage airplane parts, so Guillory had to find pieces that looked similar. He’s visited Lowe’s and Home Depot dozens of times to search the aisles.
Some parts, such as the “flux capacitor” that made time travel possible — with a whopping 1.21 gigawatts of power — are reproductions purchased online.
A few touches remain to be built, such as the time circuits on the dashboard that display the time, date and year of the destination.
Guillory’s also made a few modern upgrades to the car: A back-up camera so he can see behind him with all the high-tech gear in the way, and a CD player instead of a tape deck.
All the attention has become commonplace, Guillory says, so he rarely thinks about the stares, smiles and requests for photos.
“There are some days when I don’t even notice it anymore,” he says. “I kind of forget I’m in a DeLorean.”