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Great Scott! They took a DeLorean to prom

OHS senior Michael McCormick (driver’s seat) and his date, Sasha Runde, prepare to leave for prom in a 1981 DeLorean. Just remember to meet Doc by the clock tower. (click for larger version)
May 08, 2013 - It didn't transport them back to 1955, but it did get them to the prom in style.

Oxford High School senior Michael McCormick took his date, junior Sasha Runde, to the prom May 4 in a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, the iconic sports car featured in the "Back to the Future" film trilogy that starred Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

McCormick was originally planning to take a corvette to prom, but he "decided a DeLorean would be more fun."

"I've never heard of anyone going to the prom in a DeLorean," he said. "I figured I'd be one of the very few that have ever done it."

The DeLorean DMC-12 is the only car produced by the now-defunct DeLorean Motor Company. It was manufactured in 1981-82 and featured gull-wing doors, fiberglass underbody, brushed stainless-steel body panels and a rear-mounted engine.

"It's unique," McCormick said. "You never see them. They didn't make many of them. It just looks cool. They're sweet."

Approximately 9,200 DeLoreans were manufactured between 1981 and 1982. As of 2007, approximately 6,500 DMC-12s were believed to still be in existence.

The car is best-known as the time machine in the "Back to the Future" franchise, a series of three science-fiction adventure movies released between 1985 and 1990. In the movies, the car is fitted with a time travel device known as the flux capacitor, which requires 1.21 gigawatts of electricity, generated by a plutonium-based nuclear reaction, to function.

Although McCormick's DeLorean lacks the ability to travel through the fourth dimension, his date still thought it was a "cool" ride.

"She was really surprised when I rolled up in a DeLorean because she's never even seen one before," he said.

When he pulled up to the Twin Lakes Golf & Swim Club in Oakland Township, the location of Oxford's prom this year, McCormick said his fellow students "all rushed up to the car."

"I had the gull-wing doors open," he said. "They were asking me questions like, 'Who's is this? Where did you get it?'"

The DeLorean belongs to Orion Township resident Gary Halverson. He got it last year when his father, Warren resident Clifford Halverson, passed away at age 93. His father was the DeLorean's original owner, buying itin 1981 as a "toy" to enjoy during his retirement.

"He wanted something cool, something different," Halverson.

Halverson said his dad was definitely a "big car guy" given that throughout the course of his life, he owned 120 used cars and 21 new cars. It should come as no surprise that Clifford Halverson's middle name literally was Cars – that's no joke.

Apparently, the DeLorean hadn't run in 13 years and Halverson brought it to McCormick's dad, Jeff, to fix back in December. The car was still sitting in the garage, when McCormick asked Halverson if he could use it for prom.

Halverson agreed.

"It just seemed like a cool thing to do for a young man." he said. "I'm 57 years old and (when) I look back at my high school time . . . you just don't forget those memories. I wanted to be part of his memories."

Halverson gave his approval for two reasons. The first was self-interest.

"There was a lot of work to be done on the car and I thought it would help get it done faster," Halverson said.

The second was McCormick himself.

"Mikey's a really, really good kid," Halverson said. "He's a great student and I know that he's a responsible kid. I just knew that he was going to take good care of it. I had 100 percent confidence in that."

Getting the DeLorean road-ready again was no small task.

"We had to bring it back from the dead, so I could drive it," McCormick said. "There was all sorts of stuff wrong with it. There was a problem with the fuel pump and the brake lines were all clogged up. There was all sorts of stuff wrong with the (electrical system) – none of the lights worked."

McCormick estimated that he and his father worked about 18 to 20 hours over a period of four to five days on the car and finally got it ready on Friday afternoon – the day before prom.

Halverson noted that Jeff McCormick "really stepped up to the plate for his son."

"I don't think that poor guy gets enough recognition," he said.

After they got it running, they polished the DeLorean with WD-40 lubricant.

"We put WD-40 over the whole car and it brought it back to life like I never imagined," Halverson said. "The car looks brand new."

When asked how this vintage vehicle handles, McCormick replied, "It drives pretty good, but it has a really bad front-left tire so it kind of hobbled around a lot.

"It was a little scary driving it because I thought the tire was going to blow out – I couldn't take it back to the future."

Halverson plans to sell the DeLorean and currently has it listed on the Craigslist website. He's asking $26,500. It only has 18,500 miles on it.

"It's like a brand new car," Halverson said.

Following graduation on May 17, McCormick will attend Oakland University to study nursing.

He plans to become a registered nurse and probably work in a hospital for a few years, then become either a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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