‘Doc’ and his DeLorean go to the symphony: ‘Back to the Future’ replica time machine to be featured at Fox concertFriday Feb 21, 2020 • Features • Spokesman Review
By Stephanie Hammett
If you go
‘Back to the Future’ in Concert
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.
More: $20-$103; (509) 624-1200 and spokanesymphony.org
When Paul “Doc” Nigh moved to Liberty Lake last year, he brought with him his customized DeLorean modified to the specifications of the “Back to the Future” model. While this car wasn’t itself featured in the original movies, Nigh’s replica has appeared in music videos, TV shows and events across the U.S. for decades.
And unlike the movie’s “A-car,” it’s still drivable – flux capacitor, fog machine and all. After spending a week in the atrium at River Park Square, the DeLorean will be parked outside Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox starting at noon today for the Spokane Symphony’s “Back to the Future” concert screening in honor of the film’s 35th anniversary.
The DeLorean time machine of the movies has always held a special place in Nigh’s heart. “If you were to say that Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd were the main people in that movie, you’d be absolutely correct,” Nigh said.
“The movie stands on the morals of two guys, an old man and a young boy and trying to fix that young boy’s timeline. But there is a third celebrity in that movie that makes it; I think it’s just as equal as the other two. And that’s the car.”
“Back to the Future” superfan that he is, Nigh owns one of the world’s largest memorabilia collections, including several screen-used props, some of which are currently on display at the Hollywood Museum. So, after seeing a near-exact replica at an exhibition, Nigh said he had to have one.
“I asked the guy, ‘Is the car for sale?’ He said ‘yes,’ then he said how much. I said, ‘Nevermind.’ ” The price was a bit steep, but when the owner told Nigh he had access to the original car from the backlot of Universal Studios, all the proper specs on hand, and that he could easily build the car for half the asking price, Nigh jumped at the chance.
In the end, Nigh’s car, built up from an October ’81 edition DeLorean, took more than two years to modify and cost more than twice the original price of the car.
“It is not an exact replica,” Nigh said. “I’ve actually only seen one exact replica of the DeLorean time machine, and that’s the A-car, the one that was actually in the movie. I’ve never seen a replica built exactly like it.”
One night, when the car was finally completed, Nigh found himself on a deserted stretch of flat road. “You know I had to do it,” Nigh said. He turned on the “time circuits” and accelerated straight up to 88 mph. “It was a great movie plot; not very realistic.”
If you run into Nigh at the show, don’t call him Paul; Nigh has gone by “Doc,” his nickname on Amazon’s “Fireball Run” reality-TV series since he joined the show in its second season. Nigh and his “time machine” have been featured on every season since.
The show, similar to reality-TV programs like “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor,” follows 40 driving teams in a combination of novelty and luxury sports cars as they travel for eight days and 2,000 miles across the country completing a series of missions. The overall mission, Nigh said, is to raise awareness about America’s missing children. The drivers never leave their cars without an informational poster.
“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also for a purpose,” Nigh said. “It’s all about the kids. If it wasn’t about the kids, I wouldn’t be doing the show.”
Tip: If you spot Nigh at the concert and you’ve always wanted to see the car’s interior up close, tell him, “Doc, I’d really love to sit in the car, that’d be heavy,” and he might just let you in.