Here’s one for all the 1980’s fans, whether you grew up during the decade of excess or simply look back upon it fondly. It’s not a stretch to say Back to the Future and its epic time-travelling DeLorean are straight-up legends from the era, and Doc Brown’s closing phrase at the end of the first film are arguably the most iconic words in all of ‘80’s pop culture. Sadly, an actual flying DeLorean never materialised, but a BTTF superfan did build a crazy DeLorean that can hover. Technically that is flying so hey, close enough for us.
Matt Riese is the man behind this build, which was featured recently in a short clip from Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube. To indulge our ‘80’s nerd cravings research more information on this brilliant project, we hit deloreanhovercraft.com, a webpage Riese set up to feature the hovercraft and yes, it is for sale. An ad at popyachts.com shows a price of $25,000 (approx. £22,500) but it’s listed as inactive. Leno’s video above lists a total investment of $45,000 (approx. £40,000), and a previous eBay sale for $45,000 fell through. Perhaps that means we can score a good deal on it.
In any case, what does that cash get you? First off, it’s not a real DeLorean. Even a gutted stainless steel body would be terrifically heavy for a functional hovercraft, so Riese built this from scratch out of styrofoam wrapped in fibreglass. It’s finished with metallic paint to give it that stainless steel look, and while it’s not as structurally sound as an actual DeLorean, the fibreglass-encased foam should be surprisingly rigid while also being extremely light.
Gallery: DeLorean Hovercraft
The custom construction also allowed Riese to build this faux DeLorean as a hovercraft from the ground up. According to his website, the build was based on blueprints for a Universal Hovercraft UH-13PT – a common sport hovercraft with a single lift-engine in front, and a thrust engine at the back. That’s exactly what this build uses, with a small lawnmower engine powering a 24-inch fan for lift. For speed, a larger 23-bhp twin-cylinder engine turns a 36-inch fan. It doesn't quite reach a time-travel velocity of 88 mph, but when this baby hits 31 mph, you're going to see some serious shit.
The DeLorean shape is spot-on, right down to the wheels folded up for hover mode. Even the thrust fan doesn’t look out-of-place since the movie car had big exhaust ports at the rear, and at night the hover skirt lights up just like the time-travelling version on the big screen.
We’re in love here, serious love. Anyone have $25k we can borrow? Where we’re going we don’t need roads, but we do need cash.