When Doc Brown first introduces his souped-up DeLorean in the movie "Back to the Future," he tells Marty McFly, "The way I see it, if you're going to build a time machine with a car, why not do it with some style?"
On this week's episode of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage," host Jay Leno gets a sense of that style as he rides around in an exact replica of Brown's DeLorean alongside film enthusiast Chris Hardwick, the host of NBC's "The Wall" and ABC's "Talking Dead." The replica is equipped with all the makings of the original DIY Time Machine, as Hardwick calls it, including the keypad time controls and flux capacitor.
"What does a flux capacitor do?" asks Leno, smiling as his guest fumbles for an answer.
But despite being one of the most famous cars in movie history, Leno says the adapted 1981 DeLorean DMC 12 is not without its flaws.
It's made of stainless steel, for one, which is difficult to fix once it's dented, Leno notes. The car's gull-wing doors, though fashionable, are known to get stuck. That was once an issue for the late talk-show host Johnny Carson, an early investor in the company, when his DeLorean's battery died on the freeway. As Leno tells the story, the doors wouldn't open and Carson had to call for help so he could get out.
The company has also had some issues. Its founder, John DeLorean, had numerous run ins with the law.
But the car's real drawback, the two comedians discover once they get behind the wheel, is the ride itself. "It drives like s---," Hardwick says. "There's no power steering. Everything in here rattles."
Hardwick, who's also the host of "The Nerdist Podcast," admits that he's too excited to care, though. He dragged his parents to the theater three times to see "Back to the Future" when it came out.
"It teaches you very important lessons," Hardwick jokes. For example, "always meet an old man in a mall parking lot at 1 a.m. when he asks you to bring a video camera."
Leno, on the other hand, who only watched the movie for the first time the night before they filmed this episode, says his main takeaway from the movie was surprise at all the product placement for Pepsi. Even he can't deny the blockbuster's role in redeeming the DeLorean brand, though.
"This movie was the savior of this car," he says. The replica featured in the episode is now valued at $750,000.
CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.
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Video by Richard Washington