What’s the story behind the DeLorean automobile?

The DeLorean DMC-12 was made famous by the 1985 Bob Zemeckis movie: Back to the Future. In the movie, the car is turned into a time machine by one of the main film characters, Dr. Emmett Brown, and it plays a central role in the film. Besides the starring role in Back to the Future, few know that there is a fascinating history behind the Delorean DMC-12 and, as you might imagine, it revolves around its creator: John Z. DeLorean. Here’s the story:

John Z. DeLorean was born in 1925 in Detroit. As a young man, DeLorean was mechanically talented and tinkered with just about everything he could get his hands on. After high school he attended the Lawrence Institute of Technology and eventually earned a master’s in engineering from the Chrysler Institute. After graduation, he worked for Packard for a while but soon left to go to work for General Motors. It didn’t take long before Delorean was thriving at GM and was quickly moving up the corporate ladder.

But, things weren’t so good at the top for Delorean. Part of the reason is that the 1970s were difficult times in Detroit. DeLorean in his autobiography, DeLorean, wrote that the ethical and business problems he had with General Motors and the way they did business had become so substantial, that he simply wanted out. Truth be told, this allowed him to become a well-paid independent consultant whereby he could make a lot of money which allowed him to raise funds build his own dream car.

In 1974, in pursuit of his dream car company, DeLorean founded Composite Technology Corporation (CTC) CTC was specifically developed to research and develop new, cutting-edge automotive construction materials. Many of these were based on projects of DeLorean’s at GM and involved exotic composite materials and construction techniques.

Then in 1975, DeLorean founded The Delorean Motor Car (DMC) to build his first dream car, the DMC-12. To make his DMC-12 cars DeLorean chose Northern Ireland to build his factory. The factory’s formal opening was in 1981. As the story goes, the first 70-80 cars to roll off the assembly line were so bad they were parked, unfinished, along the factory’s fence for weeks while rework procedures were worked out. In fact, still plagued with quality problems, DeLorean had to set up facilities on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. just to fix completed cars before they could be delivered to dealers.

Despite the setbacks, though, the DMC-12 was a major hit and there were orders for thousands of them. DeLorean soon tried to ramp production up to 14,700 a year to meet demand but cash flow problems developed. Then in 1982, John Z. pursued “questionable sources of funds” to keep his company afloat and ended up in a dramatic DEA cocaine bust that became a world-wide news event. By 1984, he was found not guilty of all counts against him, but his car company was gone by then.

For all the car collectors out there, the DeLorean Motorcar legend is being kept alive by the DeLorean Motor Company in Humble, Texas. They purchased the DeLorean trademark and most of the original parts left behind when the original company collapsed. Today, you can buy fully remanufactured DeLorean automobiles and maintenance parts from them.

Article Courtesy of: Browns Pre-Owned Automobiles


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