he DeLorean time machine is a fictional automobile-based time travel device featured in the Back to the Future trilogy. In the feature film series, Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown builds a time machine from a DeLorean DMC-12 with the intent of gaining insights into history and the future but instead winds up using it to travel across 130 years of Hill Valley history (from 1885 to 2015) undoing the negative effects of time travel. One of the cars used in filming is currently on display in the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood
The operation of the DeLorean time machine is consistent throughout all three films. The operator sits inside the DeLorean, (except for the first time, when a remote control is used), and turns on the time circuits, activating a unit containing multiple fourteen and seven-segment displays that show the destination, present, and last-departed dates and times. After entering a target date, the operator accelerates the car to 88 miles per hour (141.6 km/h), which activates the flux capacitor. As it accelerates, several rails around the body of the car glow blue. Surrounded by large sparks, the whole car vanishes in a flash of blue light seconds later, leaving a pair of fire trails where the vehicle's tires will pass arriving at the destination time. Observers outside the vehicle see an implosion of plasma as the vehicle disappears, while occupants within the vehicle see a quick flash of light and instantaneously arrive at the target time in the same spatial location (relative to the Earth) as when it departed. In the destination time, immediately before the car's arrival, three large and loud flashes issue forth from the point from which the car emerges from its time travel. After the trip, the DeLorean is extremely cold, and frost forms from atmospheric moisture all over the car's body.
A few technical glitches with the DeLorean hinder time travel for its inhabitants; in the first film, the car has starter problems and has a hard time turning over once stopped, much to Marty's repeated frustration. In the second movie, the time display malfunctions and shows random dates, which partially cause Doc to be sent to 1885. In the third movie, the fuel line rips while the car is off-road, preventing the car from running under its own power. The flux capacitor, which consists of a rectangular shaped compartment with three flashing Geissler style-tubes (arranged in a "Y" configuration), is described by Doc as "what makes time travel possible." The device is the core component of the time machine.
The device was located between the headrests behind the seats and, as the time machine nears 88 mph, light coming from the flux capacitor begins pulsing (or as Marty said in the first movie, "fluxing") more rapidly until it becomes a steady stream. Doc originally conceived the idea for the flux capacitor on November 5, 1955 when he slipped and hit his head on his bathroom sink while standing on the toilet to hang a clock. He presumably worked for the next 30 years acquiring materials and working out the theories of what eventually became the DeLorean time machine in 1985. A similar, but more primitive, flux capacitor is also seen in the front of Doc's second time machine, the Time Train, at the end of Back to the Future Part III.
Although the films do not describe exactly how the flux capacitor works, Doc mentions at one point that the stainless steel body of the DeLorean has a direct and influential effect on the "flux dispersal," but he is interrupted before he can finish the explanation. The flux capacitor requires 1.21 gigawatts of electrical power to operate, equal to 1,210,000,000 watts which, to give a sense of scale, is approximately the output of a single pressurized water reactor at a nuclear power plant. It equates to around 1.6 million (continuous) horsepower, but is only discharged for a moment.
The instruction manual for the AMT/ERTL Delorean model kit says: "Because the car's stainless steel body improves the flux dispersal generated by the flux capacitor, and this in turn allows the vehicle smooth passage through the space time continuum