- "Through the trees blocking his home from view, he [Marty] could see the flashers blinking yellow. Not the police, he thought. That would be blue and red. Yellow was the usual color of wreckers. / He was quite correct. Gliding onto the court [on his skateboard], he could make out the tow truck poised like a giant praying mantis near the McFly driveway."
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 28)
A tow truck (also sometimes referred to as a wrecker) was a vehicle used mostly to transport broken down or damaged motor vehicles, usually to a repair shop — such as Western Auto, for example.
A white tow truck was used in 1985 to tow George McFly's Chevrolet Nova back to the McFly residence after George lent the car to Biff Tannen, who totaled it due to drinking and driving (at the same time!). Biff then blamed George by claiming the car had a blind spot, and forced him to pay up to have his suit dry-cleaned as he had spilt beer over himself in the crash. This tow truck's license plate number was 2E 71376.
Dr. Emmett Brown appeared to have his own personal tow truck, in green livery, in 1955, which he and Marty used to tow the DeLorean time machine out of the Delgado Mine, where his 1985 self had buried it in 1885.
In March, 1986, Marty McFly had to 'borrow' a tow truck, with the steam time car still hooked up, from the lot of the towing service Lee Bros. Towing & Repair. When Douglas J. Needles arrived in his Ford F-150 truck and challenged Marty to a race, the winner of which would take the steam time car, Marty refused. Needles then threatened to destroy the steam time car so Marty couldn't have it, resulting in a chase that culminated in Needles crashing into a delivery truck loaded with eggs.
Behind the scenes
- It is never confirmed on-screen in Back to the Future Part III as to whether the aforementioned green tow truck used by Doc and Marty does actually belong to Doc, bearing in mind that Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization clearly states:
- "Doc pointed in the passenger seat of their rented tow truck. 'Bring that camera. I want to document this excavation — for a record!' "
- —(quote, pages 17 and 18)
- Back to the Future (white tow truck)
- Back to the Future Part II (Western Auto tow truck)
- Back to the Future Part III (Doc's tow truck)
- Back to the Future: Continuum Conundrum (Lee Bros. Towing & Repair tow truck)