by Cody Cherrington
I’ve been an Associate Member of ODOC for a couple years now and I lurked in the background for a few years before that. I’ve known I wanted a DeLorean since I was about 13. Like a lot of DeLorean owners, I was first exposed to the car watching Back to the Future. When the car rolled out of the trailer in that first scene, and Doc Brown stepped out from underneath that gull-wing door, I told my mom “I’m going to drive one of those one day.” For me, that day was last week.
I’ve been in contact with quite a few of ODOC Members over the past few years, but mostly just in passing at car shows. Earlier this year, I decided to attend a DeLorean-only event for the first time. I felt a little strange pulling up to a parking lot full of DeLoreans in a silver Toyota. Fortunately, I was met with smiles, handshakes, and introductions of the friendliest group of car enthusiasts a person could meet. It felt like I had just shown up to a backyard barbeque with old friends. After awhile I snuck out back to take a few photos of the cars. An owner I was talking to earlier walked up beside me and asked “Ever sat in one before?” as he opened the driver’s side door. Oddly enough, I had sat in the exact same DeLorean last year, but only in the passenger side for a quick photo at a car show. I settled into the driver’s seat and gripped the steering wheel. The owner walked around and sat in the passenger seat. After quite a lengthy conversation about the history of the car, and some DeLorean history lessons, I finally worked up the courage to ask for the keys. I expected a “no,” but instead what I got was “Not today. Can you drive stick?” He handed me his business card and said “e-mail me, and we will take it out later this summer.”
Fast forward to about a month later and I’m waiting in a mall parking lot at 9:00 am on a bright Saturday morning. I saw the DeLorean off in the distance. It’s not a very inconspicuous car and is easily picked out of a crowd. With the windows down, the owner said “hop in!” I pulled open the passenger door and slid into the seat. We went out for a cruise around town for the better part of an hour talking about classic cars. After a few kilometres on the road, numerous waves and thumbs up from passing motorists, we ended up back at the mall parking lot. I was given a quick lesson on how the car runs and the keys. I sat down and was told I had to slam the door. I’ve always been gentle with classic cars, so I must have not taken him seriously, because it didn’t close. It’s a rather strange experience trying to slam a door that opens upwards. As with any manual transmission car, brake first, then clutch, then turn the key. The clutch pedal in the DeLorean is the heaviest clutch I’ve ever stepped on. The car rumbled to life and we started to roll. Clutch out, feather the gas. The gas pedal is just as heavy as the clutch. With the engine in the back, and the car using a cable instead of a computer, the cable on the gas pedal has to travel quite the distance to get to the engine. Its one of those things that you never think about until someone points it out. I loved my experience in the driver’s seat. One of my childhood dreams had been fulfilled. Finally, I had driven one of these, and it was everything I expected it to be. The car looked fantastic, it drove like a dream, and everyone on the sidewalk was smiling and waving. After my drive was over, I pulled into an empty section of parking lot and turned the car off. After some photos, and a joke about going 88 miles per hour from a passing pickup truck, it was time to go home. I watched the DeLorean pull onto the road and down the street.
Any doubt in my mind I had about not getting a DeLorean had vanished. It’s no longer “I want to own a DeLorean.” It’s changed to “I NEED to own a DeLorean.”