The Future of the DeLorean

The DeLorean, a time traveling machine from the world famous movie, Back to the Future.  We all know what it is, but how many of us get the chance to ride in one?

The 1980’s cult classic film Back to the Future is a movie about a teenager who unintentionally time traveled thirty years into the past in a modified DeLorean, a car made famous by the film.  One could say that the biggest star of the film was the time-traveling machine itself, with its multiple buttons, LED glow, and wing-like doors.  However, what if it were possible to see this car somewhere other than the big screen?  Even better, what if it were possible for you to have one?

Well, you’re in luck.  A man by the name of Bruce Coulombe is one of the few who recreate these cars for theme parks, conventions and private consumer use. Bruce describes himself as a “Pop culture, movie themed, prop builder… I’m like kind of a master prop maker” As a former engineer contracted by NASA, his inspiration for this career path was actually brought on by tragedy.  In 1983, after the Challenger shuttle explosion, Bruce along with many others was laid off due to the pause of the shuttle program.  He was contracted by Universal Studios where he helped build the Jurassic Park dinosaurs.  It was during his time making the dinosaurs that he walked into the Back to the Future ride.

“I happened to walk into the “Back to the Future” ride and saw the car and…just automatically fell in love with the DeLorean Time Machine.”

            In fact, he loved the DeLorean so much, he wanted to build one himself.  So, when he wasn’t working on the Jurassic Park project, he got permission from Universal to work on the car.  Since he was working with Universal Studios, he was able to look more closely at their DeLorean to figure out the design and composition.  A friend of his owned a DeLorean, so Bruce asked if it was possible to make it into the time machine.  Of course, his friend supported this idea. After the project was complete he turned the concept into a rental experience where folks could rent the car out for events.

            At that point he never considered the fact that this could be his job, so he started selling parts on Ebay.  He got requests from people building their own replicas of pop culture items and after receiving many requests, he decided it was time he started his own website where he could better fulfill the orders.  However, he soon realized the competition that came with having this kind of business.  One of his competitors challenged him by telling people, “Bruce could never build a car because his parts are no good and he doesn’t know how.”  This upset Bruce, but at the same time, it motivated him to keep building these cars and be better than the competition.

One of Bruce Coulombe’s replicas of the DeLorean Time Machine.

In 2008, after he was permanently laid off from the space center, to take his mind off of the stress, his friend sent a DeLorean down for Bruce to turn into a time machine.  When it was completed, he posted photos and videos online for the world to see and before he knew it, his car went viral.  By 2010 he had six DeLoreans contracted to build into time machines and since then he has built 24 DeLoreans.  So who can afford to buy DeLorean replicas? Bruce explains that, “I’ve had a heart surgeon to a data manager purchase these time machines from me.  There’s no one side of the spectrum that buys these.” He’s even had people take out second mortgages on their homes so that they could use the cars as a side business.  Because of Bruce, there are now cars located pretty much everywhere in the US.  He states that, “99% of my sales are outside the state of Florida.

Since his business skyrocketed, he’s created a website called Coulombe Enterprises where he shares pictures and videos of these DeLoreans.  Bruce is a hard-working man, who is incredibly enthusiastic about what he does.  He works at least 14 hours everyday and to date is getting ready for Mega Con here in Orlando the weekend of May 26th.

“To date I have done 24 DeLoreans.  I have done 1 Ghostbuster Ecto.  I have done 4 Jurassic Park Jeeps, one explorer, 3 Lost in Space robots, some dinosaurs, lots of props for community and school theaters, 1 night rider car, Star Skin Hutch, themed custom robots.”  However, at the end of the day, the Delorean will always reign supreme. “The DeLorean by far is the favorite to work on.  Mainly because it is so intricate with parts, I mean people like looking at the DeLorean time machine.  It’s a giant toy car, but it’s adorned with so many different pieces…” Bruce is extremely dedicated to giving his customers only the best quality cars, which allows him to rise above the rest in his industry.

Story by:

Sarika Rao
Age 14