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.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
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.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
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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In recent years, there haven’t been a lot of academic institutions that have been as aggressive in pioneering automotive technology as Stanford University. In 2009 alone, Stanford collaborated with the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab to develop autonomous versions of the Audi TTS and the Volkswagen Passat. The university’s dedication to the advancement of self-driving technology reared its head once again when Stanford’s Rev Center released a video of Marty, an autonomous DeLorean that can apparently do all sorts of things short of time travel.
Not surprisingly, the video was released on October 21, 2015 — otherwise known as Back to the Future Day — as a nod to the iconic movie that launched the careers of Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and the DeLorean DMC-12. According to Stanford Rev Center Director, Chris Gerdes, the project began back in 2013 when the Rev Center undertook a project to develop an autonomous vehicle that could perform a variety of stunts, including drifting.
Ultimately, the research decided to use the iconic DeLorean to demonstrate this new technology. It even named the car MARTY, which stands for Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control. Fans of the movie franchise should also appreciate the hat tip to Fox’s character in the movie, Marty McFly.
The result of this two-year labor of love is pretty incredible. As the video shows, MARTY actually has serious drifting skills. More importantly, it’s baking all those donuts without the assistance of a driver! But, that’s not just the extent of MARTY’s capabilities — the Rev Center eventually wants to turn it loose against an actual driver on a track under race conditions. We’ll be waiting for that to happen, and who knows, there might come a point in time when this DeLorean might actually be able to time travel. Ok, that’s a little far-fetched, but we can still dream, right?
Legend has it that Robert Zemeckis’s first script for Back to the Future was written with the time machine as a refrigerator with a time-travel device strapped to it, in place of the now-familiar DeLorean DMC-12. Instead of the clock-tower-lightning sequence, the final scene would have had Doc Brown driving a truck into a nuclear test explosion with Marty McFly inside the refrigerator on the back. The time-traveling refrigerator would then harness the power of the blast, sending Marty back to 1985.
All that sounds preferable to spending more than five minutes in this Back to the Future time machine replica. Actually, calling it a "replica" is pretty generous. "Caricature" is probably more accurate.
This Citroën BX has been fitted with all of the famous time machine’s hallmarks, including the DeLorean’s gull-wing doors, rear nuclear-reactor vents, DMC badging, exterior wiring and even the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor it was fitted with when Doc Brown first traveled far into the future to the year 2015. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been approved for road use, and it’s wheezy four-cylinder would struggle to get it to 88 mph on the highway, much less a mall parking lot, but it does have two “new” tires and two that are “very good.” It’s currently for sale in France for €300 or about $340.
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The DeLorean DMC 12 is a different kind of classic car than most. A big part of the reason why is the company that you’ll see in this video from XCar. The original company went under so quickly that its assets were sold off all at once, rather than piecemeal over the years during a slow decline, in the fashion of companies like TVR. So when the current owner got his hands on the remnants of the original factory, he got millions of original but never used spare parts. Since he had already built a business that concentrated exclusively on DeLoreans, this new inventory was the sort of thing that classic car restoration experts dream about.
And on top of all of the parts, the new owner also got the plans for car’s various components, which in recent years has meant that he can now manufacture spare parts himself. The shop is now the closest thing you can get these days to having your DeLorean serviced by an authorized dealership, a luxury that few owners of classic cars from dead companies can even come close to. Soon they’ll even be able to start building “new” DeLoreans out of the stock of old parts. It’s a fairly incredible achievement considering how short the DMC 12’s production run was.
It can take a lot of guts to be different, because it means you might end up with a target on your back, and while there’s a lot of freedom in striking it out on your own, there’s also plenty of risk.
That’s something John DeLorean knew well. In 1973, he left General Motors to form his own enterprise, DeLorean Motor Company. DMC made moves to produce a brand-new car from a brand-new manufacturing plant in Northern Ireland. DeLorean’s creation suffered extensive delays and setbacks, but eventually, the DMC-12 reached consumers in January of 1981.
Unfortunately, the U.S. economy was in the throes of a full-blown recession, and while the public liked the unique flavor of the car, its steep asking price meant few were buying.
In 1982, DeLorean was charged with cocaine trafficking. He was later acquitted on the grounds of police entrapment, with the FBI unfairly targeting him due to his financial vulnerability. But the damage was done, and DMC was no more.
The cars, however, live on. One happy owner is Geoff Ombao, seen here talking about the joys of ownership and what drew him to purchase a DMC-12. Ombao is a bit of a rebel himself, quitting a corporate job in his mid-forties to pursue his dream of becoming a car designer.
It’s inspiration to deny the commonplace in favor of whatever it is that drives your passion. Even if you fail, the attempt is what matters. And who knows – the fruits of that labor might go further than you think.
The odds that the Chicago Cubs will win the 2015 World Series currently stand at 14:1 (according to CBS Sports), but if you’re willing to lay down your hard-earned money on the cursed Cubbies, you might want to swing by the Volo Auto Museum, too. As an excellent promotional gem, the Chicago-area museum has announced that it is giving away its replica Delorean DMC-12 time machine from Back to the Future Part II, but only if the Cubs win this year’s Fall Classic. If you recall, Marty and Doc’s trip to 2015 revealed that the Cubs were winners of the World Series.
Starting March 21st, visitors to the museum can be register to win the Mr. Fusion-powered Delorean, which is valued at an estimated $85,000. According to Daily Mail, the "fan-made" replica car has been at the museum since the 1990s, and it includes all of the props… including the flux capacitor. If you believe in goat curses, though, a trip to the museum isn’t a total waste of time. Not only will you still get to see a great collection of automobiles, but even if Cubs don’t win the World Series, there will still be a drawing among the registered visitors where a BTTF II hoverboard movie prop will be given away instead.
The DeLorean DMC-12 will always be fondly remembered for the wrong reasons. It’s a shame because the car was unfathomably cool. But beneath the gullwing doors and it’s iconic role in Back to the Future, the DMC-12’s checkered history remains as one of the most underrated “what if?” questions in the auto industry.
What if John Z. DeLorean surrounded himself with better engineers? What if he chose Ireland as the factory site instead of Northern Ireland? What if he just bit the bullet and put a premium on the DMC-12’s safety and performance instead of sticking to his intentions of building a rock star of a car whose overall quality left a lot to be desired?
All these questions will remain attached to the DeLorean, even if a lot of people associate it more to Marty McFly than to John Z. himself.
The car’s tragic history was exceptionally explained by XCar, beginning with a run through its history that started when John Z. DeLorean founded the company in 1973 with the simplest, and quite possibly naivest, intentions.
The car itself was touted as a game-changer in the industry. It was supposed to be the car of the future. Even though it’s now iconic design certainly lived up to those expectations, not much else did.
Shoddy decision-making and countless shortcuts during its development phase ultimately resulted in a car that never did its rock star looks any justice.
DeLorean’s company ultimately failed and while the DMC lives on in Texas after being bought by British entrepreneur Stephen Wynne, it doesn’t quite capture the magic the original had. It’s too bad that nobody was able to nurture it in the first place.
But then again, it’s probably best that people remember the DeLorean DMC-12 because of Back to the Future. That way, they’ll only have cool and positive memories of the company and car that was supposed to be, but never was.