Gary Scholler has a knack for bringing things back to life, a fact that is evident as soon as one enters his prized work-space, which comes filled to the brim with all varieties of motorized antiques, as long as it has a motor, Scholler takes an interest.
“I guess I’ve always been sort of a picker,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked old things.”
The Butler resident’s antique fascination has sparked a collection of all things mechanical, everything from tractors, boats, engines and pretty much anything else that will run. Scholler even boasts a heap of turn of the century upright Maytag motors that would impress the company itself.
“It’s kind of like a mini-museum,” he said of his mechanized collection. “A look back at how motors used to work.”
However, the prize possessions of Scholler’s mechanical horde come in the form of two prize winning classic cars, one which has drawn the attention from the likes of Christopher Lloyd and the remaining “Back to the Future” production team.
Scholler’s 1982 DeLorean is living monument to the film and the car company’s history. His signature vehicle comes complete with an autograph from “Back to the Future” co-star Lloyd, a movie replicated interior and a host of trophies from classic car competitions from around the country.
“It’s always an adventure to take it out,” said Gary’s wife Starla Scholler. “People see it on the road and just have to catch up to us and take pictures. Even when he just takes it to the gas station, I know it will be at least a half hour. Everyone wants to come talk to him about it.”
Gary begun collecting classic cars in the 80’s, and has spent his retired years fine-tuning his automobiles for classic car shows around the area and the county. Along with the DeLorean, Scholler owns a 1964 White Volkswagen Bug that draws as much attention from enthusiasts as his ‘Back to the Future’ car.
“You would think the DeLorean does better,” said Gary when asked which of his cars wins more shows. “But honestly people really like the VW. Either one could win on any given day.”
Scholler enters his ‘64 Voltswagen into competitions with racing decals meant to replicate Herbie, the car in the 1968 classic “The Love Bug”.
Despite the bug’s success in car shows, it is the DeLorean that takes the Schollers around the country meeting other car collectors and celebrities along the way.
The Schollers consistently attend the DeLorean Owners’ Association club’s bi-annual car shows that take place throughout the United States.
“The first one was back in 2006 in Chicago,” said Scholler. “Since then we have gone to Lexington, KY and Dayton in 2014. I’ve even taken it for a lap on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
The fateful Dayton show was where the Schollers met Lloyd and even got him to autograph the car.
“It was always a goal of mine to get him (Lloyd) to sign the car,” said Gary. “And he was just there walking around and happen to sign mine.”
Scholler’s car club is comprised of DeLorean owners and enthusiasts, fascinated with the car’s history and allure. Originally manufactured in 1981 in a plant in Ireland, the DeLorean had a brief history on the car market lasting from January of 1981 until December of 1982.
The company was founded by automobile entrepreneur John DeLorean as an attempt to make a practical sports car. The DeLorean DMC-12 comes complete with gull-wing doors and a stainless steel body to prevent corrosion. Despite financial backing from the likes of Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr. and even the English government, the DeLorean plant was forced to close its doors after poor sales.
“DeLorean had purchased enough parts to build 30,000 cars,” said Gary. “But the company only manufactured 8,500 of them (DMC-12). The rest of their parts are sitting in warehouse in Humboldt, TX. It makes replacing things on the car pretty easy but certainly not cheap. The owner has a complete monopoly.”
Gary estimates interested customers could assemble a DMC-12 for roughly $50,000 for a base model, but Scholler’s baby was purchased fully assembled from the car’s owner in Boston, MA, who had purchased the Irish assembled DeLorean during its hayday.
Scholler has since detailed the car to resemble both the DMC-12 as it would have looked in the ‘80’s, as well as tailored it to give on-lookers an accurate representation of the DeLorean in ‘Back to the Future.’
“The movie gave the DeLorean its legacy,” said Gary. “It was always a unique design, but without the film not many people would be interested in the DMC-12s.”
In addition to national car shows, the Schollers can be seen around area giving interested car and movie buffs a run-down of the history of the two classics.
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at email@example.com