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In the end of the first movie we see that Marty could not start the engine of the DeLorean when the alarm clock rang. Doc had calculated the time required by the car to reach the lightning wire exactly at 10:04PM, but Marty started moving from the start line several seconds after the alarm clock rang.

Is there any explanation on how the DeLorean, nevertheless, hit the wire at the exact moment? Did doc miscalculate something? Or did Marty somehow go faster than Doc expected?

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Or did Marty somehow go faster than Doc expected?

Surely he had the option to go faster than Doc might have figured. Did Doc assume the maximum acceleration rate of the Delorean? Even if he did, he couldn't depend on that, because it is a manual transmission, and a lot of that has to do with the ability of the driver.

Marty is visibly sweating at having started late, and appears to be trying to drive faster than planned.

Is there any explanation on how the DeLorean, nevertheless, hit the wire at the exact moment?

It's a movie.

  • Just realised something: the mayor of Hill Valley in 1955 was called Thomas, and the mayor in 1985 was called Wilson... coincidence? – Wallnut Jun 27 '18 at 10:02
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The short answer is that (at least according to the film's official novelisation, based on the original screenplay) Marty has been practicing his run and has worked out a slightly faster route than the one planned by the Doc. This allows him to hit the wire at exactly the right moment, despite having lost time trying to get the DeLorean restarted.

“Damn!” he repeated, this time in a loud and clear voice. Moving away from the curb into the center of the street, he grunted as he saw a car moving toward him with precipitous speed.
“Good,” he grunted finally, satisfied that the vehicle was his Packard. “But why drive like that, dummy? Why crack up in the wrong car?”
A moment later, Marty was available for the answer. Dressed in his 1985 clothes, he pulled Doc’s car to the curb, leaped out, took a deep breath and smiled a bit sheepishly. “You’re late!” Doc Brown scolded. “Do you have no concept of time?”
“Sorry, Doc.”
“And why were you driving my car like a maniac?”
“It was a test. I wanted to see how fast I could go on that stretch. And I’m glad I did. There’s a rise in the road down near Cherry Street that’s almost like a speed bump. If I’d hit that at a higher speed, it could have sent me into a store window. But if I use the left side of the road it’ll be O.K.”

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