As an avowed walker and train-taker, I’m not much of a car guy, personally. But I know a thing or two — I can change a flat tire, correctly identify where jumper cables should be clamped, and I know enough that anyone who offers to sell you a ‘flux capacitor’ is having a laugh at your expense.

The auto part was imagineered (a make-believe word for ‘invented’ that the folks at Disney originally imagineered) for Back to the Future, the all-important component that gives Marty McFly‘s DeLorean the power to traverse time. And now, you too can attempt to flaunt the laws of metaphysics by tricking out your ride of choice (imagine how a silent, time-traveling Prius would freak out people in the ’50s) with your very own flux capacitor.

Kind of. Retailer O’Reilly Auto Parts embedded a little gag on their official site that nods to the technical nitty-gritty of Robert Zemeckis’ decade-hopping adventure blockbuster. Springfield’s News-Leader notes that searching for part number ‘121g’ will lead you to this listing, for a flux capacitor from EB Enterprises. (A surefire nod to Doctor Emmett Brown, the Christopher Lloyd-played scientist who created the DeLorean.) A small photo advertises the fictitious item, and the ad copy rehashes some trivia points from the film:

  • Time Travel at your own RISK!!!
  • Plutonium is required to properly operate Flux Capacitor.
  • Plutonium is used by the on-board nuclear reactor which then powers the Flux Capacitor to provide the needed 1.21 Gigawatts of Electrical Power.
  • Plutonium not Available at O'Reilly Auto Parts. Please contact your local supplier.
  • Flux Capacitor requires the stainless steel body of the 81-83 DeLorean DMC-12, V6 2.9L , to properly function.
  • Once the time machine travels at 88 mph (142 km/h), light coming from the flux capacitor pulses faster until it becomes a steady stream of light. Then, time travel begins.

To ensure nobody actually plays themselves into purchasing a magic doohickey for time-travel the site also has the disclaimer that this is a “Non-Functional Item Displayed For Entertainment Purposes Only.” But it’s a neat gag, and a humanizing move for an auto parts retailer. Now to poke around the Toys ’R Us web site to see if they‘re facetiously selling the doll from The Twilight Zone that murders people.

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