Home » How Someone Turned A Tesla Model X Into A ‘Back To The Future’ Homage That Leaves Huge Strips Of Fire On The Road

How Someone Turned A Tesla Model X Into A ‘Back To The Future’ Homage That Leaves Huge Strips Of Fire On The Road

Bttf Tesla Time Machine (1)
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The DeLorean wouldn’t nearly be as deeply etched into our hearts if it hadn’t been for Back To The Future. The film has inspired plenty of replicas of the movie car, and most of us have seen one at a car show in our lifetimes. But recently, a workshop in Florida went an entirely different route, building a tribute to Doc Brown’s time machine based on a Tesla Model X. And the thing actually leaves strips of flame on the road as it goes!

This futuristic machine is the work of Robert Selby and The Shop, an auto shop based in Bradenton, Florida. He’s been sharing his builds on Instagram for a while now to show off what his team can do. “I’ve always been a big pop culture and movie fan, and I’ve always been a car guy,” Selby told The Autopian. He’s built a variety of modern tributes to classic movie cars, including his impressive Mad Max interceptor based on a Dodge Hellcat. He figured that after a few ICE-powered builds, it was time to go electric. “Most EV owners see them as appliances,” he says. “I decided, let me get an EV and do something really stupid with it just for fun.” 

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In place of a DeLorean DMC-12, a Tesla Model X Plaid was selected as the basis for the build, thanks to its rear gullwing doors that ape the function of the DeLorean’s own. From there, it was just a matter of fitting the EV SUV out with the hallmarks of Doc Brown’s legendary time machine. Visual mods include a silvery wrap, a nice 80s grid on the tail lights, and various pipes and wires strung along the bodywork. There’s also a set of “TMC” badges, a faux Mr. Fusion, and a flux capacitor inside (the build is called “TMC-12X,” replacing DeLorean with Tesla and adding an X to denote Model X). Purists will note that while it’s inspired by the DeLorean as seen in Back to the Future Parts I and II, there are no whitewall tires or valve electronics on this build.

Selby doesn’t just save the car for special occasions or trips through time, either. “It gets dailied and driven all over,” he says. Despite all the fancy accessories hanging off the bodywork, he’s had no trouble with local law enforcement questioning the vehicle’s modifications. “If you’ve ever heard of the notorious Florida Man, it’s a thing,” he says. “Things that might terrify normal humans, in Florida… they’re pretty chill.”

Oh, and don’t let us forget. The plates? “OUTAGAS.” You gotta love it. Mild language warning on the video.

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The coolest feature of the build, though, is the dual flamethrower rig on the rear bumper. It sprays a trail of flames behind the car when engaged, which is a pretty solid simulacra of the flaming tire tracks left by the DeLorean when it travels through time. By virtue of squirting from behind the tires on this build, it’s not a perfect representation, but the way the burning fluid pools on the ground and burns looks remarkably like the effect in the film.

“No one had ever turned a Tesla into a time machine before, and the DeLoreans that I’d seen, no one had ever made one with flame effects,” said Selby. His build sets a new bar for replica time machines, if we’re honest, because those flame trails are just everything. 

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The flamethrowers use parts from Exothermic Pulsefire units, modified to fit under the Model X’s rear bumper. They work in a simple manner, using a set of racing fuel pumps to squirt a stream of gasoline from a racing fuel cell through a small atomizer nozzle. An igniter not dissimilar from those used on barbecues is used to set the fuel aflame on its way out the back of the car.

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@theshopfl

There were no trips to the burn unit today so i’d say our flamethrower testing on the Tesla Time Machine here at The Shop was a success! Now to go set autopilot at 88mph and see what happens… #theshopfl #modelx #plaid #bttf #delorean #timetravel #greatscott #docbrown #fluxcapacitor

♬ Fire – Ohio Players

It’s actually kind of amusing, in a way. On a regular car, you could just tap into the fuel system, but on a Tesla, you actually have to add a tiny little tank of gas. How times change.

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The flamethrower was assembled using parts from a commercial model, replumbed to suit the back of the Tesla.

We shouldn’t forget the giant rear metal louvers on the back, either. In the temporal transportation world, they’re called “time vents.” In this case, they’re fitted with a set of CryoFX nozzles spraying carbon dioxide. As the cold gas leaves the vents, it condenses moisture in the atmosphere into a thick fog, creating an amazing visual effect.

@theshopfl

nstalled new cryo FX nozzles and on the TMC-12X, our Back to the Future inspired time travelling Tesla Model X Plaid to replicate the orignal DeLorean special effects from the film. #specialfx #bttf #teslatok #carsoftiktok #moviecars #bradenton #theshopfl

♬ original sound – The Shop

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The car also has an extensive external audio system with speakers stashed under the front and rear bumpers. It can play a variety of sound effects or engine noises as desired, or even entire songs. Selby demonstrates it playing an obscure track called Never Gonna Give You Up, which we assume is some kind of Tesla theme song. If we’re honest, we’d have it playing the Back to the Future theme every time we mashed the gas pedal and the flame thrower on our way up to 88 mph.

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[Ed Note: You can see a big red toggle for the audio on the left side of the Tesla’s gauge cluster. “It has a liquid CO2 tank that does the plumes of liquid CO2 out the back,” Selby told me. He says there’s a manual switch to energize fuel pumps, there’s a momentary option for flamethrowers, the “Jets” switch is for the rather thorough illumination, and that white keypad to the left of the steering column is a replica of the movie keypad in which doc input the dates for time travel. The 88mph speedometer abvoe the cluster and the gauges above the screen are meant to emulate those from the movie, as is the time-travel equipment below the screen. -DT]

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Selby notes that his creation is often beloved or despised, with seldom few people finding an opinion in between these two extremes. “If you go into any car forum, if it’s the typical Tesla crew, they hate me, because the car spits fire and has funny lights. The typical combustion crew, they say it’s just an appliance.” Selby notes that, whether traditionalists like it or not, customized EVs are only going to become a bigger thing in the future. “It’s amazing the kind of reactions it’s inspired, both good and bad,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s the most fun car I’ve ever built.”

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A post shared by The Shop (@theshopfl)

It may not be a DeLorean, but the Model X is setting a high bar for unofficial remixed movie tribute vehicles. Expect this to be a growing category at car shows across the nation. In any case, we don’t want to see another Back To The Future theme build unless it’s capable of spraying massive flames on the roadway. Just don’t drive it by a gas station. Please. We’re begging you.

All Images: Bob Selby

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JasonP
JasonP
7 months ago

I’m actually kind of digging the DMC look wheels and silver paintwork. A quick search didn’t turn up anything on the wheels. I wonder where they came from?

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
8 months ago

What could possibly go wrong? I can’t think of a single thing… <snark>

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
8 months ago

shooting flames…on asphalt…in Fl…from a lithium battery powered car. okey dokey then.

Defiant
Defiant
8 months ago

This showed up at the Sarasota Cars and Coffee yesterday (11th). Flames activated on departure; missed the CO2 venting.

Scott
Scott
8 months ago

The flame effect is impressively true to the movie, and the whole car is fun and all, but I for one am glad it’s in Florida and not Cali… all it would take is some bad luck one windy night and him showing off in a Valley parking lot to maybe burn down half of Encino.

I gotta assume his statement that cops don’t give him a hard time about it means he hasn’t demod the flames with cops around… I think they’d give even a Florida cop pause.

/curmudgeonly old man

Roofless
Roofless
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott

> burn down half of Encino

And some bad stuff could happen too!

I kid, I kid. I had the same reaction as a Californian – cool as hell, but I think we’re all a little traumatized by fire after the last few years.

121gwats
121gwats
8 months ago

I can see the headlines now..

“Florida Man’s Flamethrower-Loaded Tesla Delorean Sends Local Structure Into ‘Future Inferno,’ Witnesses Unimpressed by Lack of Time Travel”

“Florida Man’s Delorean-Inspired Tesla, Complete with Flamethrowers, Sets Time-Travel Plans Ablaze, Accidentally Unveils Newest ‘Back to the Future’ Sequel: ‘Back to the Insurance Claim'”

Last edited 8 months ago by 121gwats
121gwats
121gwats
8 months ago

Florida plates. Shocked.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
8 months ago

Somehow, some way, this person made the Model X look cool.

I actually really dig the DMC tribute wheels, taillight treatment, and silver wrap.

I’ve never been this complementary of a Model X before.

Clark B
Clark B
8 months ago

It’s absurd. It shoots flames. It pisses off the weird Tesla cult people. What’s not to like?

Maymar
Maymar
8 months ago

It looks like the right amount of well done for a replica of a movie prop, but the correct model to use was probably the Fisker Karma (no notes on a Mad Max Hellcat though).

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
8 months ago

How long until Elon announces this party trick as standard equipment on the Cybertruck?

Ben
Ben
8 months ago

Seems like a lot of effort just to finally get some real buttons and switches into a Tesla. 😉

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
8 months ago

That seems unwise

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
8 months ago

As a time-machine with a Mr Fusion, a Tesla actually makes a ton of sense.
No fuel line to break = no BTTF 3.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago

Obviously 2 Florida idiots need to get together and create a flame throwing booty patrol vehicle to waste maximum dollars. Shake that booty and we’ll make it rain fire!

Last edited 8 months ago by Brian Ash
...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Don’t be such a wet paper bag! Life is supposed to be fun 🙂

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

What are you talking about.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Well, you are the one calling the guys who built two separate projects “idiots”, so it would seem that you aren’t a fan of either one. I replied. That about sums it up.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

Double the idiots double the fun is all I was suggesting. Is the term “idiots” to offensive to you?

Richard Smith
Richard Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

If he has to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard Smith

Yeah my boomer slang is a little rusty and clearly he didn’t understand what I meant either.

V10omous
V10omous
8 months ago

But can it burn underwater?

JDE
JDE
8 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

the batteries probably expand and ignite as soon as it hits 88 miles per hour.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
8 months ago
Reply to  JDE

or the roof panel just flies off

Ben
Ben
8 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

When this baby hits salt water you’re going to see some serious shit!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago

“Selby demonstrates it playing an obscure track called Never Gonna Give You Up, which we assume is some kind of Tesla theme song”

So he Rickrolls himself? Cool.

“If we’re honest, we’d have it playing the Back to the Future theme every time we mashed the gas pedal and the flame thrower on our way up to 88 mph.”

Me? I’d channel my inner Jan-Michael Vincent and go with the theme from “Airwolf”.

“Selby doesn’t just save the car for special occasions or trips through time, either. “It gets dailied and driven all over,” he says. Despite all the fancy accessories hanging off the bodywork, he’s had no trouble with local law enforcement questioning the vehicle’s modifications. “If you’ve ever heard of the notorious Florida Man, it’s a thing,” he says. “Things that might terrify normal humans, in Florida… they’re pretty chill.”

I can’t imagine even Florida cops aren’t going to be so chill about those flamethrowers.

10001010
10001010
8 months ago

Whoa, this is heavy!

Outofstep
Outofstep
8 months ago
Reply to  10001010

There’s that word again, heavy. Why are things so heavy in the future. Is there a problem with earth’s gravitational pull?

Data
Data
8 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

No, everything is battery powered and batteries are heavy.

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago
Reply to  Data

I love that someone called ‘Data’ provided a literal response to a question Doc Brown asked in the movie.

121gwats
121gwats
8 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I think tongues are boring holes in each of the participant’s cheeks.

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago
Reply to  121gwats

That’s entirely possible.

10001010
10001010
8 months ago
Reply to  121gwats

Username checks out

121gwats
121gwats
8 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Hahaha, I missed that. At least he’s self aware.

A. Barth
A. Barth
8 months ago

I like it! It’s fun, and a lot of folks are too serious about such things.

Also it’s a Tesla that is SUPPOSED to create fire, which is a nice change. 😉

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
8 months ago

When this thing reaches 88% charge…you’re going to see some serious shit.

Parsko
Parsko
8 months ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

COTD!!! Good one!

Alexk98
Alexk98
8 months ago

I saw the headline and knew it would be Florida Man… It’s always Florida Man…

Alexk98
Alexk98
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

That said I do love it, its absurd, unnecessary, yet well executed, and I mean c’mon it shoots flames. Also funny that the flamethrowers they used have a “standard” and “California Compliant” configuration. Because even Flamethrowers can’t be as much fun as normal if you live in CA I guess

LactoseTheIntolerant
LactoseTheIntolerant
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

I agree: 100% absurd and 100% accurate for our time period. I really liked the dash gauges and it made the yoke look less goofy, although functionality-wise still goofy.

An aside: Can the Autopian stop putting images in from Instagram? When I peak on my work computer they show up as “view this on Instagram”. Grab a screen shot and put a link in below. I generally keep my socials to my personal devices.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
8 months ago

I second your issue with images. I click on one photo from the Meta sites and there are somewhere around 30 cookies on my computer. Me no likey.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
8 months ago

I’ll third the issue. Linked pictures often don’t show up for me, so I’m stuck just reading the text and imagining what they look like.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
8 months ago

Agreed

Data
Data
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

To maximize the Venn diagram, they should have used Not-A-Flamethrowers.

Chronometric
Chronometric
8 months ago
Reply to  Data

Yes, a Tesla should have genuine Elon Musk Not-A-Flamethrower flamethrowers.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
8 months ago
Reply to  Alexk98

Florida is a hilarious and wildly entertaining place to live. Long live Florida Man and all of his wacky exploits.

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