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Five things Back To The Future got wrong
As you should all know, yesterday was “Back to the Future Day”, otherwise known as the date in the 1989 movie “Back to the Future II” that the Michael J. Fox character, Marty McFly, appeared in 2015.
In honour of that great date we bring you the five things that this classic movie got badly wrong about cars in 2015.
Of course, the fact that we don’t actually have flying cars is the biggest one, but we have ignored that for the far more interesting ones.
Pontiac would still be around
In Marty’s “present”, that is 1985, the Hill Valley car dealership is Statler Toyota. In 1955 it was Statler Studebaker. So what exactly was the brand of the 2015 future? Erm... Pontiac.
That’s right, Pontiac, the lame-duck brand that General Motors canned in 2010.
To be fair to the film makers, however, Pontiac was undergoing something of a resurgence back in 1989, having introduced a number of successful sporty and high tech models in the first half of the ‘80s.
The company had reduced the average age of its buyers from 46 in 1981 to 38 by 1988 and Pontiac was looking very much like it would be the choice of younger buyers in the future. This didn’t last and Pontiac ended up building the Aztek and was dead and buried five years before Marty’s visit to 2015.
Saab would still be around
A remarkable number of concept cars featured in the second chapter of Back to the Future in 1989, posing as the futuristic cars of 2015.
One of these was the Saab EV-1 that debuted in 1985. A futuristic coupe with an improbable wraparound rear glass hatch, the EV-1 featured some interesting future tech, such as roof mounted solar panels that ran interior cooling fans when the car was parked and carbon fibre side impact beams.
Unfortunately Saab would fall to financial troubles and eventually be picked apart by Chinese companies following a disastrous attempt by Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker to save it. It would struggle on to 2012, three years before the EV-1’s appearance as a production reality in Back to the Future 2.
Ford would still be making the Probe
One of the more common cars in Back to the Future’s version of 2015 was a futuristic version of the Ford Probe.
Created by slapping an oversized “windscreen” that reached from the roof to close to the nose and a load of plastic cladding to the exterior of the 1989 production version of the Probe that had just been launched, the 2015 version of the Probe was apparently a very successful car.
Based on the Mazda GD platform and intended to be a resurrection of the successful Capri in Europe and a replacement for the Mustang in America, the Probe was instead an underperforming, overweight lump that was barely successful enough to survive two generations.
A third generation was supposed to be released, but Ford decided to sell it as a resurrected Mercury Cougar instead. This lasted for three years before it too was cancelled.
The Probe itself lasted until 1999, meaning that rather than being one of the most popular cars on the road, the Probe had been out of production for 16 years when Marty made it to 2015.
Citroen would start making the DS again
According to the movie, the taxi of choice in 2015 would be a new version of the Citroen DS. One that could fly.
While a “hover conversion” of an older car was available in the movie version of 2015 (for an entirely reasonable US$39,990), the idea that the most popular choice for a hover taxi would be a 40 to 60 year old classic car is somewhat unlikely.
Instead, Citroen clearly started production of a modern retro-inspired version of the DS in the movie’s version of the future.
Equally clearly, in the actual 2015 this has never happened. Although it DID start an oddly-conceived sub-brand called DS that makes some brilliantly designed, but generally flawed ultra-modern avant-garde cars that look nothing like the original DS and most certainly don’t hover.\
Still, this IS possibly the one things about cars that the franchise came close to getting right...
Movie cars would roam the streets
In the movie version of 2015 it would seem that a trend had developed that saw people preferring to drive road legal versions of famous (and not so famous) movie cars. Either that of the makers of Back to the Future II simply cheated a bit and, much like the use of various concept cars, reused a number of futuristic cars that had already appeared in movies set in the future.
Parked in a driveway in 2015 is a repainted “Spinner” from Blade Runner, while the improbable “Star Car” that the character Centauri drove in “The Last Starfighter” is also visible in one scene.
Also used in the movie is the George Barris (creator of the 1966 version of the Batmobile) “Supervan” that was the star of the of the 1977 Z-grade movie “Supervan”.