By JOHN T. WARD
Jim Carroll had just pulled his car out of his Middletown garage when a neighbor drove by, shouting in his direction, “One point twenty-one jiggawatts!”
It’s the kind of thing you get when you own a stainless steel vehicle outfitted with a nuclear reactor for power and a flux capacitor for time travel.
Carroll, a 30-year-old engineer of fire suppression systems, is you won’t be surprised to learn an over-the-top fan of the film, “Back to the Future.” It’s a story in which a souped-up, gull-wing DeLorean serves as a time machine, requiring 1.21 gigawatts of juice and 88 miles-per-hour of velocity to launch occupants into a different historical era.
Carroll, a lifelong township resident who discovered his favorite movie through a sequel, saved up his money and bought his DeLorean for “a decent price” $18,000 when he turned 17 years old.
“It was basically perfect,” he tells redbankgreen.
Now married, a homeowner and running the North Jersey-based company started by his father, Carroll decided a few months back that it was time to crank up his plain-Jane DeLorean for excursions through time.
From Video Bob, a BTTF enthusiast in Dallas who has made authorized plaster casts of the parts used on the car in the film, Carroll procured a carload of accoutrements: time circuits, a nuclear tower that resembles an oversized kitchen blender, exterior lights that snake around the car like neon pythons.
“He created this for me,” Carroll says of the collection, which is almost entirely decorative and non-functional.
That set him back another $35k, which Carroll considers a bargain. “But I didn’t get the fog machine” that spews fog through faux exhaust structures on the tail, Caroll said. He figured that was just too much.
Carroll says his is one of only nine BTTF replica cars in America, and the only one in the Northeast. It’s also street legal, and with just 130 horses under the hood, not as fast as many observers, including cops, seem to think, he said.
He plans to rent his out for use in promotions and special events, and said he’s close to a deal with a local man who wants to use it in his wedding in July. But the aim is not to recoup his costs, but just to enjoy the reactions he gets, Carroll said.
“We went to the diner yesterday, and it took us half an hour to leave the parking lot,” he said. “The best part is just seeing people’s faces. It’s like they’re kids again.”
Here’s his website.