Ever since Back To The Future hit theaters in 1985, fans have wanted to purchase their very own DeLorean, the now iconic sports car Doc Brown turned into a time machine, but how many people have often considered plugging in and hitting 88 mph on a DeLorean-looking bass guitar?
That’s exactly what Chicago-based Donor Designs built, taking the details of one of the greatest vehicles in cinema history and turning it into something that could be played up on stage at, dare we say, the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Doner Designs is a part-time charity and hobby that was founded by Steve Doner and his son Richard. This is the seventh complex project for the father and son combination, all of which have eventually been donated to charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and several others upon being completed.
The Time Machine bass was sold to Abend Raby, a collector of unique instruments, back in early June for an undisclosed amount, with all proceeds fittingly going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, for the franchise’s leading man who starred alongside Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson and Christopher Lloyd. While it doesn’t run on plutonium or a Mr. Fusion food processor, this axe is just as complex.
Featuring a selectable year display, flashing lights, on-display circuitry and a Flux Capacitor, the Time Machine bass, at its core, was created out of a Warmoth body and neck as well as a Nordstrand pickup, Audere preamp, Babicz bridge, Hipshot tuning machines, Axetreme Creations pickguard and a ReRanch nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
We just know that this bass is awesome – though it’s not for everyday use and took nearly 300 hours, over about three years, to complete. There were a few snags, however, including copyright and trademarks not allowing Doner Designs to specifically call it a Back to the Future bass. There are no direct references to the franchise on it, in fact the father and son even changed the gigawatt warning on the back to 1.22 gigawatts.
Once it was completed, a few professional bassists got to take it for a spin, including Billy Sheehan, who has worked with artists such as David Lee Roth and Steve Vai. Be sure to check out Doner Design’s website for a better look at the bass – and to hear it in action.