The year was 1981 and John Z. DeLorean, “Father of the GTO,” having gone rogue after an heroic career at General Motors, finally launched his dream car that he modestly named after himself. Stainless steel body. Check. Gull wing doors. Check. Mid-engine. Check. What could possibly go wrong? As it happened, most everything. Turns out that DeLorean’s Tuckeresque quixotic windmill tilt-a-whirl was squeezed out for numerous financial, technical and, perhaps, pharmacological reasons, coupled with his own hubris and the inclination of the entrenched auto makers to make life as difficult as possible for upstarts.
We found a well-used example in a “Doctors Only” parking space the other day that is, apparently, a commuter car for a “hipocrat.” While the DMC12 was projected to retail for $12,000 it ended up costing more than twice that amount despite the fact that power was provided by a somewhat anemic PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) V6. The chassis, though, as engineered by Lotus, was on supercar par.
Despite that shortcoming in the propulsion department, an estimated 9,000 units were built at the factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. Actually, not too shabby in terms of failed indie car numbers — anybody remember the Vector W8? Cizeta-Moroder V16T? Bricklen SV-1? OK, they built a bunch of that latter gull-winger but not even a third of DeLorean’s output.
Of course, the car had an afterlife as a very literal Hollywood star vehicle in the Back To The Future series. It was the way Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly character went back to 1955 from 1985 with all sorts of nutty anachronistic shtick ensuing. That was a thirty year span and now we’ve come another thirty since John Z’s dream faded from shiny to black. Of course, you need only get your flux capacitor-augmented DMC12 up to 88 mph to get back there if you so choose.
Click here to go back to Back to the Future as Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown character introduces Fox’s McFly to the perks of DeLorean ownership. Want your very own? There are quite a few to choose from right here but if you don’t get your bid in on time you can just borrow one and go back to a nanosecond before the auction ends.