There was only one car that didn’t need roads! Prominent American automotive executive John Z. DeLorean founded DeLorean Motor Company on this day in 1975. His company built a single model, the DMC-12, which first appeared as prototype in October 1976. DMC began production in 1981 and closed up shop just two years later. The car has since earned a cult following, largely due to its role as a time machine in the “Back to the Future” movies.
A majority of the approximate 9,200 cars produced in those two years rolled out of an assembly plant in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. Though the original design called for a mid engine, the production cars had a rear mounted Peugeot-Renault-Volvo fuel injected V6. A 5 speed manual transmission or a 3 speed automatic put power to the wheels. Most DeLoreans did not receive paint, giving the car its iconic bare metal look.
The Downfall of DeLorean
DMC went bankrupt after John DeLorean became entangled in a drug trafficking scheme. He was ultimately found not guilty on all charges brought against him, but the damage was done. In 1982 the company went bankrupt, costing more than 2,500 jobs and more than $100 million in investments. Consolidated International, known today as Big Lots, purchased the remaining inventory of cars and parts. A newly formed DMC based in Texas eventually purchased the remaining parts stock and is planning the limited release of a new DeLorean vehicle.
In 1995 a British Texan by the name of Stephen Wynne acquired the remaining stock of the vehicles. In the deal he also received trademark rights to the logo. He essentially started a new “Delorean Motor Company.” His company continues to build “new” Deloreans using leftover parts and original, leftover VIN tags. In January of 2016 the company announced it would build 300 to 350 “new” DMC-12s over the next six years, each with a projected retail cost of around $100,000.