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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 19:54

On the Lighter Side: See Jay Leno Live An ‘80s Fantasy in This Flying DeLorean Hovercraft

Written by Christopher Smith, motor1.com


Here’s one for all the 1980s 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-traveling 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 ‘80s pop culture. Sadly, an actual flying DeLorean never materialized, but a BTTF superfan did build a crazy DeLorean that can hover.


Matt Riese is the man behind this build, which was featured recently in a short clip from Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube. While researching more information on this awesome 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 but it’s listed as inactive. Leno’s video above lists a total investment of $45,000, and a previous eBay sale for $45,000 fell through.


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 fiberglass. 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 fiberglass-encased foam should be surprisingly rigid while also being extremely light.


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-horsepower (17.1-kilowatt) twin-cylinder engine turns a 36-inch fan.


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. At night, the hover skirt lights up just like the time-traveling 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.


We thank motor1.com for reprint permission.