In preparing its exhibitions, Pointe-à-Callière looks to other museums, archive collections and, on occasion, private collectors to select and borrow objects or artefacts relating to its exhibition themes, so they can be presented to the public. What’s fascinating about this process is finding out the story behind each object that will be on display!
As part of the A Railroad to Dreams exhibition, the Museum decided to take a look at trains portrayed on film. What better way could there be to illustrate these two themes than to show a DeLorean that rolls on train tracks, just like in the last film of the Back to the Future trilogy? Pointe-à-Callière had the opportunity to borrow this rare gem—for the duration of its exhibition—from a Quebecer, François Lacombe, family doctor, obstetrician, and proprietor of Expériences Lockzone escape room centres. But how does one come to own a DeLorean? We spoke to Mr. Lacombe, who shared the story of his somewhat crazy father-son project!
How did you get the idea to recreate the DeLorean as seen in the film?
My son and I are big movie fans, and the Back to the Future trilogy is one that left a big impression on us. So, together, we decided to recreate the DeLorean! The hardest part was finding the car—not just the body, but a car that we could actually drive! We managed to find a 1981 model through an online auction.
What were the major steps you took to get the car the way it looks today?
After finding the car, we had to get our hands on original parts to put it together as it appears in the film. Fortunately, we have some contacts in California who helped us out, but it nevertheless took us three years to assemble the car and get it registered so that it could be driven in Québec. The project didn’t end there though; we wanted the car to be representative of each of the films. So, we took two more years to create the two other models: the one with the flying wheels and the one with the train wheels—the version currently on display at the Museum. It took a year of machining to get the exact format for the wheels. We even carried out some tests on actual tracks at Exporail.
Why did you agree to lend the car to Pointe-à-Callière for its exhibition?
When we got the call from the Museum, the decision was an obvious one! An archaeological site, in Old Montréal—there’s no better place to take a journey through time! What’s more, since the exhibition is titled A Railroad to Dreams, and we’re the only ones to have a car that rolls on rails, we thought it would be the perfect way to travel back to 1885, like in the movie! That being said, the version with the flying wheels might have been a more practical way to avoid traffic on the way there!
After the exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière, will there be anywhere else people can see the car?
Absolutely! Our passion for the films and the car won’t end here! The car will make its way to Shawinigan to be displayed at the all-new Expériences Lockzone centre, an immersive and family-friendly escape game. Visitors will make their way through 8 different fantasy environments in which they will have to solve various riddles. At the end of the experience, there is a room in which people will get to see objects from the Back to the Future trilogy that my son and I have collected over the last eight years.
Pointe-à-Callière would like to thank Mr. Lacombe and Expériences Lockzone for their loan of this incredible collector’s piece for the Museum’s exhibition. For more information, watch this video, in which “Doc Brown” explains how the car was assembled in detail!