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Back to the Future: A Review of the DeLorean FVL-554X Time Machine

Updated on February 26, 2013

When Would You Like to Go?

Although it has received some upgrades to its original 1985 concept to bring it into the 21st century, the Delorean time machine remains true to its roots. Since no challenger has emerged to compete in the time machine market, DeLorean has maintained its unique position, improving upon certain aspects of its vehicle while leaving those aspects that work well alone, adhering to that old adage: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

CC-BY via Wikimedia Commons
CC-BY via Wikimedia Commons | Source

The Details

The FVL-554x is misleading in the sense that it implies improvement upon the FVL-553x. In fact, there was no FVL-553x. The FVL-554x is a new model number due to the presence of several new features and an effort by DeLorean to distinguish this new model from all previous models.

Wood paneling in the interior has been replaced by faux leather and the knob shifter, so slight in the hand and difficult to control in the previous model, has been made larger in the current one. However, one major improvement is the introduction of cruise control, which allows the user to avoid one of the major flaws in the previous model, which was the tendency of the flux capacitor to malfunction as the car approached 88 mph. Now, through the use of the cruise control, the driver can easily glide at the necessary speed and allow the flux capacitor to engage properly. Other minor improvements include a reduction in necessary power from 1.21 gigawatts to a mere .85 gigawatts. Also, the size of the nuclear reactor has been reduced considerably, allowing the driver to put a couple of grocery bags behind the passenger seat, though it's not a recommended storage location for perishable items. That being said, DeLorean engineers say that if a frozen pizza is stored there, it will cook to perfection in thirty minutes.

The picture below shows off the new display board, which utilizes LED lights instead of conventional bulbs for a small power savings and a brighter, more readable display. However, it should also be noted that the wires shown in the picture actually do sit visible and are somewhat unsightly. The reason for this is that in case of emergency, the wire connecting the display board and the flux capacitor can be disconnected to stop time travel and leave the driver where he or she started. This can be incredibly useful when the driver realizes he or she has accidentally entered 20030 instead of 2030, lest one finds oneself in an entirely unpleasant and unpredictable situation. The rest of the car's features are essentially unchanged and my evaluation of them can be found in previous reviews. In a nutshell, they are functional, but not entirely up-to-date.

CC-BY via Wikimedia Commons
CC-BY via Wikimedia Commons | Source

The Experience

During the testing phase of my Delorean FVL-554x I picked three time periods to visit: Colonial America circa 1776, the Middle East during Jesus Christ's final days, and the Mesozoic era, approximately 100 million years ago.

One of the main advantages of the new Delorean is a time-phased and synced three-dimensional GPS system that effectively allows the driver to pick a location to land when time traveling.This is an upgrade from previous models and a huge difference from the original, which was limited to the location of the unit itself. In other words, if you were in New York, you could only time travel in your immediate vicinity.

Previous GPS locators have not been ideal. Drivers have found themselves in precarious situations while emerging from time travel - everything from landing on water to driving right off a cliff or into a house. The GPS system allows the driver to perfectly map the entry landing so as to avoid damage to the vehicle. The system can sense a flat road in a 500 foot landing radius through time, making entry a mostly relaxing journey. Atrand, the company that produces this GPS, reports an error rate of approximately one percent. While this is impressive, it does mean that some owners will likely find themselves stuck in time, sometimes permanently. There's also the slim chance of death upon entry, but Atrand reports no such incidents as of yet.

As I am writing this review, I can happily say I encountered no such problems, though I narrowly avoided ramming the leg of a Brontosaurus during my trip to the Mesozoic. I also encountered a problem when visiting colonial Washington, D.C. hoping to catch a glimpse of our founding fathers. Unfortunately, I tried to land in an unpopulated area and instead found myself in the middle of a late Revolutionary skirmish. Needless to say, I drove out of there as quickly as I could (plowing through a few British soldiers for good measure) and, worried that a car sighting might change the face of history, traveled back to my original location about ten minutes before I left and made sure I didn't make the same mistake twice so that the original trip never took place.

Fortunately, on my visit to Christ-era Jerusalem, I was able to locate myself perfectly, parking my car in a manger and quickly covering it with hay and leaves so as not to be spotted by any curious onlookers. It should be noted that, upon landing, the DeLorean does make a loud sound accompanied by a flash of light. However, during this time period, the few people who spotted me chalked the whole thing up to divine miracle and there was no need to erase my tracks. You can note my presence several times in the Bible, in fact. Just search on the word "miracle".

All in all, the car peformed very well and I was even able to pick up some trinkets during my adventures, which you can see in the Smithsonian soon.

My Rating

4 stars for the DeLorean Time Machine

Final Summary

Although it's the only time machine currently on the market, the DeLorean FVL-554x is still an improvement over previous models. It's $15 million price tag will continue to be a hindrance to some buyers, but with the ever-expanding rental market, time travel is becoming accessible to an increasing number of people. There are also some previous models available used on Ebay motors for under $1 million, though it's highly recommended to see an authorized dealer for a tune-up before use.

For the money, the DeLorean FVL-554x can't be beat.


Submit a Comment

  • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

    Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

    Interesting to hear of these design developments in the DeLorean, crankalicious. I cannot comment on most of them because my knowledge of normal cars is extremely limited - my knowledge of flying time machines even more so. However, I will make a few points:

    I'm sure it was a tough decision to prioritise grocery bag space over nuclear reactor size, as both of course are essential items in any car or time machine, but I'm sure it was a correct one. (Although might one not regret it if stuck between the legs of a Brontosaurus with just some groceries to eat and insufficient nuclear power?)

    Also as a Brit I am perturbed that you used your DeLorean to drive over some of my fellow countrymen, but glad you later rectified that mistake.

    Oh, and it's good to hear that the knob shifter has been made larger - a big improvement. Alun

  • crankalicious profile image

    crankalicious 5 years ago from Colorado


    Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you liked it. Thought I'd do something fun for the contest. Hope you have some rich relatives!

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

    I always wondered how well these perform. Excellent review, crankalicious! SO asking for one this Christmas.

  • Georgie Lowery profile image

    Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

    Interesting review. I've never really been in the market for a DeLorean FVL-554x, mainly because I'm investing in this cool new idea called a space station that really looks like a moon, right? But, if I've got enough to spare, I'm gonna get me one of them DeLoreans! ;)