Back to the Future, with DeLorean DMC-12

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My childhood heroes are not Superman or Batman. I was born in the ’80s and grew up in the ’90s, where obsessions included Back to the Future and the famous Knight Riders – KITT. Those are my childhood heroes, and I’m going to tell you a story about the first one – the TIME MACHINE – ladies and gentlemen, DeLorean DMC- 12.

The DeLorean brand was established in 1975 by John DeLorean, a former executive at GM. However, the same person who created the magical stainless steel car was responsible for its downfall due to his poor habits and alcoholism. So, in 1982, after only 13 years of operation, the company declared bankruptcy, leaving the only model it ever produced orphaned. But the DMC-12 was as “tough” as steel because it was built using a lot of it.

From the original prototype in 1976, it took 5 years until the first DMC-12 rolled out the factory doors. Although the company was American, the car was entirely produced in Belfast, Northern Ireland, because of the cheap labor and the substantial investment from the British government to create more than 2,000 jobs in an area where the unemployment rate was over 20%. Unfortunately, the DMC-12 was a complete failure for the DeLorean Motor Company, which went bankrupt in 1982, leaving almost 9,000 owners “orphaned”.

The DMC-12 was designed to be innovative from the start. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also designed the famous Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint GT and Lotus Esprit, the DMC-12 was intended to revolutionize the automotive scene. It had a unique look, gullwing doors, and a central-rear engine, which was a V6 PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo), replacing the original plan for a Comotor Wankel rotary engine.

What’s unique about the DeLorean is its construction. Based on the Lotus Esprit, the DMC-12 was built with stainless steel to avoid rust issues, mounted on a fiberglass underbody. Another unique feature is the DeLorean’s original unpainted stainless steel body, which is why almost all of them were grey. However, this feature made it difficult for bodyworkers to restore the car after a crash or bump, which is why John DeLorean planned to have those panels replaced rather than repaired.

Stainless steel body and gullwing doors – two iconic features that convinced 9,200 DeLorean owners that this car was built especially for them. Although the initial price was set around 12,000 $ (which is the origin of the “12” in the car’s name – DMC-12), the car was eventually sold for more than 26,000 $, over double the original price.

Despite being a bold and heavy car, the DeLorean DMC-12 retains its unique appeal. Regardless of what happened behind the scenes, we must remember that we are talking about a piece of history and a display of originality. It represents someone who had the courage to stand out from the crowd and introduce a different product to the market, and that’s something to admire.

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