This Review of the DeLorean Time Machine Will Take You Back to the Future
When it comes to movie cars, the DeLorean DMC is arguably one of the most iconic. Developed and designed by former Packard and General Motors engineer John DeLorean, the DMC was put into production in 1981 in Northern Ireland. The car was received well initially, but many noted disappointing performance.
DeLorean went bankrupt in 1982 and production ended with just 9,000 units assembled. The DMC wasn’t particularly famous around that time, but the Back To The Future movie from 1985 brought it into the history books as the time machine that Doctor Emmett and Marty McFly used to travel back in time.
The DeLorean DMC-12 is Finally Making a Comeback With More Power, Better Tech
The whole new DeLorean Motor Company situation has been happening for a while. Production of “New” DMC-12s was supposed to start way back in 2017 but due to a delay in the Low Volume Manufacturers Act – an act that allows companies to build up to 325 examples of cars at least 25 years old – all of that has had to go on hold. Now, the act has finally be pushed through and the new DeLorean DMC-12 can finally go into production.
This Lego DeLorean Is The Ultimate Back To The Future Ode
Car guy or not, you probably know what a DeLorean DMC-12 is. And we’re willing to bet you’ve seen Back to the Future, where the DMC-12 takes up the time machine role, so you have a pretty good picture of how it looks as well. Now, the DeLorean was meant to be a prolific sports car. Except it never reached that height. Although its fiberglass body structure and stainless steel body panels were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and had gullwing doors, the amount of power and performance it actually offered on the road was not that impressive. But do you know what’s impressive? A Lego version of the DeLorean built with extreme attention to detail. And no, this is not an official Lego set, which makes it even more enticing.
1981 DMC DeLorean
As some of the older readers out there are sure to remember, the ‘80s was chock-full of movies in which cars played a starring role. The 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine comes to mind, as does the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance (a.k.a. Ecto-1) from Ghostbusters. And of course, any movie car list would be incomplete without at least mentioning the DeLorean from Back to the Future. That said, the story behind the DMC DeLorean extends far beyond a place of prominence in a beloved sci-fi comedy. This sports coupe is all kinds of weird, from the unpainted stainless-steel body panels, to the gull-wing doors, to the automaker’s untimely demise. Read on for all the eccentricities that make up the DMC DeLorean.
"Framing John DeLorean" is the Summer Movie You Need To See
John DeLorean is, without question, one of the most colorful and interesting personalities the auto industry has seen. As the founder of DeLorean Motor Company and the creator of the Pontiac GTO, DeLorean’s fingerprints can be seen in all sections of the auto industry. His life is a fascinating story, and we’re all going to see it play out in movie theaters and video-on-demand when the movie Framing John DeLorean, starring Alec Baldwin as John DeLorean, comes out on June 7. In addition to Baldwin, the movie also stars Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, Homeland), Josh Charles (Dead Poet’s Society, The Good Wife), and Cristina Ferrare (Home).
The Most Expensive DeLorean Isn’t Even A DeLorean
“Back To The Future” is one of the most iconic movie trilogies of all time. Besides the original “Star Wars” films, BTTF has one of the largest cult followings in Hollywood. No other proof is needed beyond the amount Bill Shea paid at auction to acquire the only privately held DeLorean Time Machine in existence – $541,000. Yet despite the car’s historic and cultural status and being only one of three screen-used DeLoreans still in existence, this car isn’t really a DeLorean at all.
When it came time to shoot the desert scenes in “Back To The Future Part III,” director Robert Zemeckis needed a car that could handle the off-road abuse. With the backing of Universal, a third-party off-road shop was contracted to build a modified version of the iconic stainless steel car. The shop basically combined the DeLorean’s body with a tube chassis and four-cylinder from a Volkswagen Beatle. The dune buggy-like suspension was perfect for blasting through the sandy desert. A roll cage was integrated into the car’s roof, while unnecessary parts like air conditioning and gauges were left out. The result is a DeLorean look-alike with a custom chassis and a carbureted, air-cooled, four-cylinder with somewhere around 60 horsepower.
The car’s history remains interesting after the film’s 1990 release. It includes years of disrepair and neglect, a restoration by Hollywood custom car builder George Barris, a second restoration by a BTTF fan, and finally becoming the most expensive DMC to ever be auctioned. Watch the video for the full story.
Nobody on eBay Wanted this 1983 DeLorean Plated in 24k Gold
As a fan of the Back to the Future franchise, I can’t think of any other movie car that I want to own more than the DeLorean. I might even pay good money for one provided that it’s in great working condition. Imagine my surprise then when I chanced upon this beauty while doing my weekly browse through eBay. It’s a 1983 DeLorean that reportedly has just 156 miles in it. It also still has its original tires and has a rich history of its own. Oh, and it’s gold-plated too. Yep. Gold-plated. In some ways, it’s a car that’s too good to be true. Then I noticed how much the owner wants to sell it and, well, yeah, it was too good to be true.
For the record, the owner wants $150,000 for the car. On the surface, it looks to be a fair price for a 24-karat gold-plated car that also has an intriguing amount of history behind it. But I went ahead and did a little research on past DeLoreans that have been sold, that $150,000 price tag suddenly became way too overpriced. I understand the things that make it unique, but in my head, I’m not interested in the 24-karat gold as much as I am in the car itself. And when I started making comparisons, it became a little clearer why nobody actually bid on this particular example of the DeLorean when it was being offered on eBay. I still love the car and love the history that makes it as unique as it is. But do I love it enough to spend $150,000 for it? Not really.
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A quick look at today’s automotive offerings and you’ll notice that almost all passenger cars are front-engined, while most sports cars come with a mid-engined configuration. The Porsche 911 is the most known exception from this rule, having its engine mounted above the rear axle. The 911 isn’t the only rear-engined car on the market, the Smart ForTwo and ForFour, Renault Twingo, Tesla Model S, and Tata Nano have similar configurations, but all of them are part of the minority. However, it wasn’t always like this.
Decades ago, rear-engined vehicles were significantly more popular. The first notable rear-engined car dates back to 1886, when Karl Benz launched the Patent-Motorwagen. The concept gained more traction in the 1930 and remained somewhat popular until the 1980s. Mostly found in small, affordable cars, the layout allowed for the rest of the vehicle to be used for passengers and luggage. It was also preferred by many carmakers since the drivetrain can installed easily at the factory compared to front-wheel-drive layout where the driven wheels also steer the car.
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DeLorean Is Now Accepting Orders For The 2017 DMC-12
The ill-fated yet iconic DeLorean DMC-12 is back on the market after a 24-year hiatus thanks to the DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas. After selling aftermarket parts and refurbished models for decades, the Texas-based company is finally accepting pre-orders for "new" DMC-12s. The sports car is scheduled to enter production in the first half of 2017 and each car will be built using all-original and acurate reproduction parts.
The new DeLorean Motor Company, which is a separate company that has nothing in common with the original manufacturer, is taking pre-orders on its official website. Prospective owners can register their interest via a no-deposit pre-order form, with specifications to be finalized closer to production. Potential buyers who fill out the form will get priority over the rest of the public when the "new" DMC-12 enters production. Top priority will go to those who currently own or have owned an original car, given they can prove it by providing documentation and the car’s VIN.
2017 will bring the first "new" DeLoreans since 1982 and it’s expected that the company has enough spare parts to build at least 300 DMC-12s. The Texas-based firm owns more than 99 percent of DeLorean’s original factory stock, along with technical drawings and blueprints, which should increase production should there be enough demand. Pricing is not yet official, but word has it a "new" DMC-12 would cost more than $80,000. For reference, original examples can fetch between $30,000 to $45,000 depending on their condition.
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DeLorean Driver Gets Ticket for Travelling at 88 MPH; Didn’t Travel Through Time
Built by a company founded by former GM executive John DeLorean and penned by famed designed Giorgetto Giugiaro, the DeLorean DMC-12 became famous mostly for starring in the "Back to the Future" trilogy. Although its design was stunning and its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless steel body gave it a unique appearance, its drivetrain and performance figures were rather disappointing. While it may have been able to travel through time in "Back to the Future," the DMC-12 was far from spectacular in the real world, with its 130-horsepower engine hitting 60 mph in 8.8 seconds (10.5 ticks with the automatic gearbox) and reaching a yawn-inducing top speed of only 109 mph. Which brings me to the news of a British DeLorean owner getting a ticket for speeding at 88 mph.
Yup, you got that right, a 35-year-old DMC-12 is able to get you a speeding ticket with the right amount of pressure on the gas pedal. However, hitting 88 mph won’t help you travel in time, like Marty McFly did in the film, as Nigel Mills from Essex discovered while joyriding in his DeLorean. What he got was a ticket for traveling 18 mph over the limit, which was thrown out as the ticketing police officers failed to appear before the court.
Introduced in 1981, the DMC-12 was built at DeLorean’s factory in Northern Ireland. Only 8,583 units were assembled through 1982, when the company went bankrupt. Thanks to DeLorean and "Back to the Future" enthusiasts, more than 6,500 examples are known to have survived to this day. What’s more, continuation DMC-12s are currently being built in Houston, Texas, using a combination of new, original and reproduction parts.
Revived DeLorean DMC Set To Receive New And More Powerful Engines
The effort to revive the DeLorean DMC-12, considered as one of Hollywood’s most iconic cars, is now in full swing, and from the looks of things, it appears that the new version will receive a host of modern-day parts and components, including a new and more powerful engine that at would least double the output of the original 2.8-liter V-6 engine.
No details have been unveiled in that regard, but according to Jalopnik, Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company – not related to the original DeLorean Motor Company – is looking at three possible engine suppliers for the revived DMC-12. One of these engines is a naturally-aspirated V-6 that reportedly produces anywhere from 300 to 400 horsepower.
In addition to the new engine, the new DMC-12 is also slated to get a new chassis, electrical system, wheels, tires, and brakes. This is being done in an attempt to modernize the iconic vehicle and make it more suitable for today’s technological standards. The chassis, in particular, will be built with a NOS chassis to help protect it from corrosion, a common problem that the original DMC-12 was plagued with. The car’s wheels will also be replaced and an updated braking system will put in place to accommodate these changes. Likewise, the interior will be upgraded with an in-car entertainment system, to go with high-end instrument clusters and modern amenities like heated and cooled seats. No more of those AM/FM cassette decks found in the original.
DMC has already met with a number of suppliers to address the issues of the DMC-12, although details on specific suppliers have yet to be unveiled.
Despite all these changes, the DMC-12 will retain its famous looks, keeping in tune with the spirit of the original model. That should include the fastback body type, the sloped hood, and the famous gull-wing doors. DMC plans to build around 300 units of the DMC-12, priced in the $100,000 range, with an eye towards launching the car in 2017.
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Back in 2008, a small company known as DeLorean Motor Company began refurbishing DeLorean’s after it finally acquired all of the remaining parts and tooling from was left over from the original DMC. Keep in mind that the DeLorean Motor Company that I’m talking about here has absolutely no ties to the original company. These refurbished DeLoreans have been going for somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000. Everything is about to change for the new DMC, though.
The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 will allow small auto manufacturers to produce up to 325 replicas of vehicles that are at least 25 years old, which means the new DMC is about to start producing the DeLorean again. In an interview with Automobile, President of the new DMC, James Espey, said “The Low Volume Manufacturers bill has significantly changed our business model. We’re moving from just service and restoration to full low-volume manufacturing and assembly.”
DMC claims to have “thousands” of stainless steel panels and parts that will support the DMC manufactured fiberglass chassis. The company will stay true to the original DMC-12 made in 1982, but there will be some modern changes to the car. Production should start sometime in early 2017, assuming the DOT and NHTSA finalize the manufacturing rules on time. When the new DMC-12 rolls of the line in Humble, Texas, pricing is expected to be somewhere below $100,000.
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