EVER HAVE those days when the people you work with are trying to tell you something, but they’re too polite to say what they really think and find another way to get the message across? It doesn’t happen all that often in the palatial Unique Cars offices – people generally spit it right out, or shoot you with a foam rubber dart gun. Or both.
So it took me a while to cotton on when our Art Director and Chief Car Stalker Angelo flicked me a link to the brain-snapping contraption featured on this page. All I did was wander past his desk, thinking out loud. “You know I wouldn’t mind a project car,” quoth I, “Another 633 or 635 would be nice.” (Guess why I don’t have any money, or friends...)
Mr A picked up on this and flicked across a link to this horror.
“Here you go,” he offered, cheerfully, “Go build yourself one of these.” What the...?! Yep, I had to look it up. Apparently it made a cameo appearance in the movie Back to the Future 2. (Actually, sticking with the time travel theme, I thought they might have called the sequel Back to the Future minus 1.)
I have seen the flick and couldn’t remember ever eyeballing the car, let along recognising the host vehicle. Maybe it’s true the mind has an ability to block out certain traumas.
Anyway, we had to look it up, didn’t we? The producers of the movie decided it would be a hoot to lop the top off a 1976 BMW 633CSI – a manual. Now if the date is correct, it could be an early Karmann-built car which, these days, makes it very rare.
Of course back in 1989, when they were shooting the film it was pro0bably close to worthless. But now?
It gets worse. Not only did the movie studio decide to carve up an otherwise elegant car, but some gent who clearly had way too much time on his hands decides years later to buy the decrepit movie-mobile and restore it to its full cinematic glory. His name is Jeff Chabotte and he claims to be a Back to the Future fan. I’m not sure ‘fan’ really covers it.
His quest began in 2004 and, so far as we can tell, took about four years. So we’re not talking a quick once-over with some bog and a rattle can.
Oh no, we’re talking remaking massive one-off fibreglass body components, a top-to-toe respray, a complete interior refit and then he had to get on to the mechanicals. I admire the dedication and skill, but the target of these resources?
Each to their own, I suppose, as young Mr Chabotte would probably look askance at much of my fleet, too.
For me, it highlights a couple of things, the first of which is we’re all a little nuts and the thing which tends to distinguish us is the object of our affections. Building movie car replicas leaves me utterly cold, but I know people who go weak at the knees at the word ‘Batmobile’.
The second is that if Angelo ever catches me muttering about cutting the roof off an E24 BMW, he has my permission to wrap me in a blanket and have me sent off to a nice, quiet, dark room...