DeLorean owner embraces childhood obsession
So do you want to go for a ride? With those words Mat Bedogni reduces my inner 12-year-old to a quivering mass of giggling excitement.
The cause of this barely contained glee? A piece of movie and automotive history. A legend. A DeLorean.
The DeLorean DMC-12 is a head-trip: its short life peppered with the highs of celebrity and international government investment and the lows of bankruptcy, accusations of dodgy financials and drug dealing.
Its legend was sealed in 1985 when director Robert Zemeckis cast the car as a time machine in Back to the Future.
Like me, one of the youngsters swept away by the celebration of this weird, futuristic car was Aucklander Bedogni. His $200,000 DeLorean, starring in this weekend’s CRC Speedshow, is an “as close as you will ever see” replica. And it is magnificent.
“People give the DeLorean a hard time ... everyone says it is slow,” says Bedogni as he accelerates up a suburban street, where we look wildly out of place. “But it’s really not that slow.”
Mat Bedogni’s DeLorean DMC-12 looks to be straight out of Back to the Future.
I am fascinated by the detail in the DMC-12’s cabin — the fully functional time-travel display, the alarm clock 1955 Doc gives Marty to start his run to the clocktower, the magnificent flux capacitor between the two seats.
Bedogni has spent two years and hundreds of hours researching the car’s on-screen alter ego.
“There would easily be over 800 hours, just tinkering, sanding and shaping and all of that, probably another 400 to 600 research on the internet,” he says. “And three trips to America to source parts — I’ve got photos of my suitcase and I’m surprised the TSA never pulled me aside and handcuffed me. It looked like I had bombs ... with all the wiring and everything.”
Those hours went down to the minutest detail, including the type, colour and arrangement of the wiring visible on the car, screws used and even the direction the cable ties are facing.
“I had an electrician friend say to me, ‘You’ve put those cable ties on wrong, you can see all of the heads,’ and I was like, ‘Yes, that’s what it is like in the movie’.
“When you’re going to a level of detail right down to the type of screws being used to hold something down, I think insanity is probably a good term for it.”
Bedogni admits his DeLorean was probably in far too good condition to be converted. He tried to find another one without any luck. But the whole thing has been done without drilling any holes in the gorgeous stainless steel body. That the process is completely reversible (in case an original DeLorean becomes more valuable than the time machine version) makes the level of detail even more incredible.
Earlier this year he started Hero Car Hire to rent out the DeLorean (plus other mouthwatering metal, including K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, a Ferrari 458 Speciale, a Dodge Viper and a Ford GT) for events, marketing or just for a ride.
■CRC Speedshow, ASB Showgrounds, Auckland, Saturday and Sunday. Details: speedshow.co.nz