Lech Lebiedowski is no ordinary guy and his DeLorean is no ordinary time machine.
For two years Lebiedowski has been building his Back To The Future replica car with painstaking attention to detail. The doors open with a “woosh,” time circuit works and the nuclear reactor chamber is made of military grade titanium. He is dealing with plutonium, after all.
“This one is unique,” Lebiedowski said. “I would say it is one of the closest replicas in private hands.
“It has some parts which are not even on the authentic car because they disappeared.”
Lebiedowski purchased original film cells so he could make sure all the parts are exactly like the film — exactly like the parts on all three DeLoreans in the film, actually.
“This one represents the ‘A’ car as it comes out of Doc Brown’s van,” Lebiedowski said. “The interior is the ‘C’ car because that’s what they used to film the interior shots.”
Lebiedowski is a history professor at the University of Alberta. He says he tries to take his students back in time.
“Many of my students were asking whether I’m going to build a time machine because I’ve been talking about it for years. I finally said yes.”
Replica DeLoreans can range in cost from $75,000 to $450,000 depending on the type of parts used. Lebiedowski says his investment is on the upper end of that scale but won’t say how much it cost exactly.
“I refuse to look at the bills,” he said. “It was way more than I could afford, that’s for sure.”
After investing a lot of time and money, his car is nearly perfect, except for one thing.
“I’m not happy with the flux capacitor,” Lebiedowski said.
The one he has is working but uses modern LED lights. He’s looking for material that would have been used in the 1980’s when the film was made. Though having a problem with the flux capacitor may make the car more authentic, there is one other thing that is keeping his car in the present.
“I can’t get it up to 88 mph. The speedometer only goes up to 85,” said Lebiedowski with a laugh.
If he could go back in time, he’d like pick Poland in the late 1980’s. That’s when he saw Back To The Future for the first time on a makeshift projector screen.
“Only the first part, that’s all that was shown behind The Iron Curtain,” Lebiedowski said. “It was like a different world, like a different dimension.”
The film was screened 32 times in his neighbourhood. Lebiedowski watched all 32 screenings. Sometimes he skipped school to be there. Later, his family purchased a used VCR. Lebiedowski saved his money to buy a bootleg tape of Back To The Future. Once he put it in the VCR, he couldn’t get it out.
“I watched it, I don’t know, hundreds of times back then.”
“I couldn’t understand a word that they were saying because it was all in English and I couldn’t speak English at the time, but I sure loved the car.”
Now he has a car of his own and a plan for the next time he sees the film.
“I’m thinking about projecting it on the wall in the garage and sit in the car with my kids.”
Taking them back in time, the old fashioned way.
Lebiedowski’s DeLorean will be on display at the Alberta Aviation Museum for Open Cockpit Day.
The event is open to all ages from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.
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