The history of the DeLorean

A drug deal?

The+DMC-12.+One+of+the+biggest+cars+in+Hollywood.
The DMC-12. One of the biggest cars in Hollywood.

The DMC-12. One of the biggest cars in Hollywood.

The DMC-12. One of the biggest cars in Hollywood.

Troy Dyer, Staff Writer

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So, we all know the car from Back to the Future. It’s the DMC DeLorean. The stainless steel paneled, the gullwing door, the low 88 mph cult. This thing is one of the most recognizable cars around and one of the most famous Hollywood vehicles ever.  But why did it disappear so fast with a production run only from 1981 to 1983? In my readings this has been one of the most interesting automotive stories I have ever heard, and it is all true.

John DeLorean was born into the automotive hub of Detroit, and he grew up to work as an engineer for Packard Motor Company and then moved to General Motors, where he was credited with developing the Pontiac GTO. He quickly rose through the ranks and became the youngest person ever at the time to become the head of Chevrolet. In 1973 he resigned from GM to make his own dream car. With major investments from the British government, Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr., he finally managed to open a factory in Dunmurry, Ireland. In 1981 production started. This was the first of its kind, a full stainless-steel body, a 130-horsepower engine from Peugeot, and suspension from Lotus. However, this all added up to a $25,000 price tag, which is about a $50,000 car now. This car was selling for such a high price at the time, and its biggest competition was from GM, of course, with the Corvette, and that was selling for $18,000 for the top model and about double the power. As you can expect, DMC was in huge financial trouble. On October 19, 1982, the British government announced the plant to be shut down. ALSO, on that very day, DeLorean was arrested for trafficking cocaine in Los Angeles. Turns out, several months earlier a former drug smuggler who turned out to be an undercover federal agent engaged DeLorean with a series of deals that could potentially save DMC, to which he agreed to. This of course did not work out very well and huge public trials went on for this and DMC was officially over. In total, only about 8,600 DMC-12’s were ever produced but it had left its mark on cult classic Hollywood. The case ruined the company, and DeLorean left the auto industry. He did serve jail time and eventually died of a stroke later in life.

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