About 10 - 12 years ago I got a call one afternoon at my shop, (Quadrifoglio Perfomance, Inc.) as I recall it was close to the end of the day and the call went something like this:
Caller: "Hi, ummm can you install an engine in a Delorean?"
Me: "Yes, does your Delorean need a new engine"
Caller: "No, it has been removed and just needs to be reinstalled"
Me: "Why was it removed then? Do you have all the parts?"
Caller: "Ummm, well it's a long story, and yes we have all the parts. Can you do it by the end of the week and can you do it at our facility?"
Me: "I think I better meet with you in person to assess the situation."
Well, see there was this film studio in the area called Berkshire Motion Picture (keep in mind that this was in Massachusetts, a long way from the movie studios in California) that specializes in special effects for the big West Coast film studios. Turns out that this place was making the film for the "Back to the Future" ride for one of the theme parks in Florida so they had one of the time machine cars from the movie there. They had made something like 12 of them or so, I forget the exact number, this one was something like #7 of 12.
Anyway, in making this film, they had to accelerate the car down a ramp, twirl it around and set it on fire. So the brain trust of this facility determined that the mass of the car was too great, so they had the kid brother of someone who worked there remove the drivetrain.
This having been done, and the film being completed the car had to be returned to wherever it came from. Seems that the person who took the car apart suddenly was not available to put it back together.
That's where I entered the story. Due to an agreement with the movie studio the car could not leave their facility, furthermore the car had to be returned in a few days. So, myself and a friend of mine (who also worked for me at the time) spent two nights after work down there re-assembling this thing. Keep in mind we had never worked on one of these let alone seen one up close before. Just about the time we finish shoehorning the engine & transmission back in, someone walks by and says to us "did you guys see the video" to which we replied "what video?". Turns out the person who took it apart video taped the process ... argh!
We got it back together. But, when we tried to start it, it would not run.
After asking around a bit, we found out that the person in charge of the pyro effects filled the gas tank with water. This had the added bonus of causing the fuel pump to seize. A quick call to a friend of mine who runs the local import parts store (at home as by now it was close to 10:00pm) he runs over to the store, crosses the fuel pump to that of a VW Rabbit, drops it off where we were ... and we looked like heroes for getting this thing running again, after pumping close to 10 gallons of water out of the fuel tank, and adding some fresh fuel. (I know, but Mr. Fusion didn't seem to be working at the time either.)
In the end, we got paid a very decent amount of money for all the trouble and got a free ride on the demo simulator, which was way cool at the time.
If you have any specific information about how many time machines were actually built and there whereabouts today, I would be interested in hearing about them.
Jeff - A time machine mechanic in another life ... just imagine the possibilities if time travel were possible.
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