- "Jeez! I would've hit that Rolls-Royce!"
On October 27, 1985, Needles dared Marty to compete in a drag race by calling him "chicken". Needles narrowly missed hitting a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I that had just pulled out of a side street, but Marty's Toyota Hilux crashed right into it.
Marty broke his hand in the crash, preventing him from ever playing the guitar again. The owner of the Rolls-Royce pressed charges against Marty for the damage to his vehicle. As a result, Marty gave up on his musical career and spent decades feeling sorry for himself.
However, in the normal timeline, after overcoming his chicken weakness (after traveling to 1885), Marty acted smart and instead reversed his truck quickly, backing out of the challenge. Because of this, the accident never took place, therefore changing Marty's future in a great way.
Dr. Emmett Brown knew about the accident, as when he chided Marty for losing his temper whenever someone called him "chicken", he almost revealed that to Marty: "That's exactly what causes you to get into that accident in the future..." He refused to specify, maybe because he thought that revealing information about one's future could be dangerous — or because he felt Marty should learn the lesson himself (as indeed happened).
Behind the scenes
- Dr. Emmett Brown never witnessed the timeline that occurred before this one, wherein George McFly was still bullied by Biff Tannen as an adult, and Lorraine Baines McFly was an alcoholic who felt trapped in her marriage. Because of this, Doc gave the designation of 1985A to the timeline that was created when Biff became wealthy after his elderly 2015 self gave his 1955 self a Grays Sports Almanac, then bought up all the land in Hill Valley — turning it into a place that the residents nicknamed "Hell Valley".
- This timeline also encompasses 1955A.