DeLorean Motor Company: Bringing Back the Futuristic Past

19 Jan
DeLorean DMC-12 Head on photo with doors open ...

Image via Wikipedia

The 1980’s were best know for rock n’ roll, neon colored clothing, and drugs.  Computers were in their infancy and the automotive industry was on a rebound from the oil crisis of the 1970’s.  Styling definitely wasn’t a strong suit of the 80’s rides but there was a flash in the pan just as the 80’s were born.  The DeLorean DMC-12 entered the scene as John Z. DeLorean‘s dream come true.  John Delorean was once an executive in the American auto industry, best known for his work in designing the classic Pontiac GTO but his true dream was a sports car of his own.  The DMC-12 was that car.

The DMC-12 was manufactured in Ireland with the chassis developed by Lotus, the motor from a Peugeot, and sported gull wing doors.  The DeLorean was underpowered and overpriced compared to its competition, producing just 130 horsepower from it’s mid-mounted V-6 and the early models were plagued with electrical and mechanical problems.  The price tag on a new DeLorean was also nearly $9,000 more than a Chevrolet Corvette, a car with a much more established reputation.  Lack of training lead to many poorly built cars in the first year which hurt the cars reputation and eventually accusations of drug trafficking lead to DeLorean’s bankruptcy.  The charges were eventually dropped but DeLorean never recovered financially.  From December of 1980 to 1983 only an estimated 9,000 DeLorean’s were produced, with the majority finding the way to the United States.

Despite its doomed fate, the DeLorean was a popular car.  It was unique, even gaudy, and found its way into several television shows and movies.  The most notable appearance in Hollywood was in the “Back To The Future” trilogy, depicting the car as a time machine and with that the DeLorean became an instant classic.

DeLorean DMC-12

Image via Wikipedia

Oddly enough, the DeLorean is still around today and not just as a dusty old barn find.  In fact you can buy one new right of the show room floor.  Thanks to the industrious spirit of mechanic Stephen Wynne from Liverpool, the DMC-12 has blasted back from the past and is doing better than ever.  Originally in the DeLorean plant in Ireland had been tooled to produce 30,000 DMC-12 per year and since only 9,000 were produced a lot of spare parts were left in warehouses.

Stephen Wynne ended up buying the entire inventory of what remained of the fabled DeLorean cars and now there are five dealerships in the United States and one in Europe.  The DeLorean Motor Company is now a franchised name with the resources of left over parts, they are not only restoring original DeLorean’s but also building them new.  Known as the DeLorean New Build Program, a brand new DMC-12 can be purchased with navigation, upgraded stereos, two ton leather interior, or even performance upgrades.  Also, because the original DMC-12 had some known problems the newly built cars have made some needed improvements in the design of many of the parts.

The grey interior and manual transmission in a...

Image via Wikipedia

The DeLorean DMC-12 may not have been the most practical car of its time, or the most reliable but it certainly had charisma.  Gull wing doors, stainless steel finish, and motor in the back.  There is plenty to love about the DMC-12 and for a price tag of around $40,000 they aren’t much more than other sports cars today.  The DeLorean Motor Company is also working on an electric drive DMC that they plan on releasing in 2013.  Who says time travel isn’t possible?

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