DeLorean DMC-12: The Car Whose Creator Has a Movie on Netflix Can Be Yours

DeLorean DMC-12 18 photos
Photo: eBay
DeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBayDeLorean DMC-12 eBay
A controversial and highly influential figure in the American auto industry, John DeLorean had a truly eventful life, culminating in the creation of his factory, DeLorean Motor Company. Netflix explores his life in the documentary series.
The engineer, who died in 2005, was also arrested and charged with cocaine trafficking by the FBI in 1982 and later acquitted. Netflix delves into the dark side of this fascinating character.

His most famous creation is the DeLorean DMC-12, the mid-engined car popularized by the ”Back to the Future” movies, which was only produced for a few years. However, before the film, this car was unpopular, unloved, and even one of the biggest flops in automotive history.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was introduced as a prototype in March 1976, with series production lasting kicking off in Northern Ireland in 1981 and ending in 1983. It was to be the ultimate car. It was constructed of various materials, including fiberglass and stainless steel, materials capable of standing the test of time and which were called eco-friendly at the time.

Its engine, a fuel-injected V6 made by the PRV (Peugeot Renault Volvo) partnership, met U.S. pollution standards. This was a secondary choice, the first being a Wankel, a rotary engine developed in partnership by Mazda and Citroën, the same engine found in Mazda's RX7 and RX8.

DeLorean's parents were John Zachary DeLorean and William T. Collins. One was a former General Motors executive and the other was a Pontiac chief engineer.

The famous gull-wing doors and stainless steel bodywork were eye-catchers and made it look like a car built to last. This was a philosophy that didn't sit well with other manufacturers, who wanted a shorter life cycle for their cars to encourage consumption.

DeLorean DMC\-12 eBay
For its era, the DeLorean was a high-tech vehicle par excellence. Aside from the metal look and doors, the model rolled off the assembly line in Belfast with what was considered innovative equipment at that time, such as air conditioning, car radio, and power windows.

Interestingly, unemployment was high in Belfast back then. So the factory easily found the necessary workforce. Paid good wages and provided with the best possible equipment, the unfortunately inexperienced employees built the first models rather poorly. This led to numerous breakdowns on the first vehicle series, which sold for $25,000 in dealerships, more than double the original price (DMC-12 for $12,000).

Everything was breaking down, and the electrical system was constantly failing. It wasn't until 1982 that well-built DeLorean examples drove through the factory gate, and it was mostly in 1985 that we saw the final version that stars in the movie.

At the end of 1982, however, John Zachary DeLorean was arrested for drug trafficking. This was far from alleviating the company's financial difficulties. Following the arrest, the last DeLorean in production was finished and sold new by 1983. The company went bankrupt. Later, John Zachary DeLorean was released following a mistrial: in reality, it was the FBI who framed him. A setup that cost him the company and several years of his life. Ironically, an investor called him on the day of his arrest to offer him another $200 million to develop a twin-turbo version. However, the cars didn't sell well, between the DeLorean story, reliability issues, and the risk of the company going bankrupt (which was soon confirmed).

DeLorean DMC\-12 eBay
Clearly, the DeLorean had its technical flaws, it was heavy and lacked dynamism. But on the other hand, it was unlike any other car. It was a symbol of the future, just like it is today a symbol of the past. An innovation presented as a revolution that failed and was discontinued after only three years. It's what drove the scriptwriters to create a film. At the time, they needed a car that looked futuristic but was realistic enough to fit into the present (the early 1980s). Back then, no one knew if the film would be successful and no one suspected that a car with such a complicated and inconsiderate fate would become the symbol of an entire generation.

So it was the fate both sad and glamorous of the DeLorean DMC-12 that allowed it to become a famous model. But we have to admit that, deep down, we all love the DeLorean in one way or another.

But for those who want to go from being just a fan to a collector, you can find one for sale on eBay. Right now, there's a $35,200 bid on the car in the ad. At the time of writing, this is the 24th bid, so we suspect its price started much lower.

It's a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with 64,736 miles (104,182 kilometers) on the clock. It is equipped with a still-running rear-mounted 2.85-liter V6 engine rated at 97 kW – 132 ps (130 hp) and 153 lb-ft of torque (207 Nm). From the photos, we can see that the car is mostly in pretty good shape, but inside a flaw in one of the pillars is obvious.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Marius Visan
Marius Visan profile photo

Marius grew up in a family of truck drivers, so the love for cars and anything with an engine came naturally. After getting his journalism degree and an M.D. in Multimedia and Audio/Video Production he went right into covering the automotive industry for a news agency and a print magazine.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories