Chip Foose redesigns the DeLorean DMC, but did he bring it back to the future?

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The DeLorean DMC is one of the famous cars of the 1980s, but that’s mostly because it was featured in the Back to the Future movie franchise as Doc Brown’s time machine.

The DMC was supposed to be an affordable, innovative sports car, but it came out as a dated, underpowered and expensive vehicle and the company went under. DeLorean was revived in Texas in 1995 and word has it production of the DMC will restart by the end of 2021. But how would a modern DeLorean look? Famous car designer Chip Foose took matter in his own hands and penned a more modern version of the gullwinged coupe.

Here's What a Modern DeLorean DMC-12 Could Look Like
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Known mostly for customized American cars and hot rods, Foose’s idea of a modern DMC is actually a mild revision. His DeLorean remains almost unchanged from the side. It looks a bit sleeker, the door is longer, and the front wheel was moved forward, but it’s very similar to John DeLorean’s original design.

The front end looks in did a bit more modern thanks to a new headlamp and grille assembly, side-mounted turn signals, and a rubber fascia delete. Around back, the exhaust pipes are now integrated into the bumper, while the taillights are thinner.

Here's What a Modern DeLorean DMC-12 Could Look Like
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It’s not a dramatic change and it still looks a bit dated compared to modern sports cars, but Foose argues that the DMC is tough to redesign if you want to keep the stainless steel body. He also takes his time to explain how the original DeLorean could have looked much better than it did.

DMC DeLorean

1981 DMC DeLorean
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The DeLorean was produced only briefly from 1981 to 1982. Its most important features were the stainless steel body and the gullwing doors.

DeLorean opted for stainless steel in order to save money by not operating a paint shop, but this solution eventually limited the design of the car. While clean and somewhat sleek, the DeLorean looked a bit dated when it came out in the early 1980s.

1981 DMC DeLorean
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Although John DeLorean wanted a full-blown sports car, financial issues prevented him from using a proper engine. The DeLorean was eventually unveiled with a 2.85-liter V-6 jointly developed by Peugeot, Citroen, and Volvo. Rated at only 130 horsepower and 153 pound-feet of torque, the V-6 enabled the DMC to hit 60 mph in 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 109 mph. With an expensive price tag and several quality issues, the DMC sold in just a little over 3,000 units of 7,500 produced in its first year on the market. It’s estimated that DeLorean built almost 9,000 cars.

DeLorean DMC specifications
Drivetrain Layout Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine Type Naturally aspirated 2.85-liter V-6
Bore 91 mm (3.58 inch)
Stroke 73 mm (2.87 mm)
Construction Aluminum
Valvetrain SOHC, two valves per cylinder
Horsepower 130 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 153 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual, three-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 9.5 seconds, 10.5 seconds
Top Speed 110 mph
Curb Weight 2,712 pounds
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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