Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DMC- 1981

On April 19, Easter Sunday 1981, the first Delorean DMC-12's were driven to the docks of Belfast Northern Ireland to be shipped to the US.

Created by former GM wonder boy, John Delorean, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign of Turin, financed by the British government, built in Northern Ireland, the DMC-12 was a textbook automobile failure.

In spite of its futuristic design, gull wing doors, and a stainless steel finish the car failed in several fronts. It was underpowered. The small 2.8 liter (180 cubic inch)V6 Pug engine wasn't up to performance required of such a visually exciting car. The electrics were pieces left over from the Prince of Darkness's parts bin. The DMC had too many really good competitors, and it was just too expensive.

Building in N Ireland was a political bone thrown during the Troubles by the UK Labor government. Think hard of all the classic names of NI car builders, whom Delorean could have built a factory around. It won't take long. Delorean began from scratch. Inflation was high, labor trouble was rife, it was an expensive car to build.

By 1982 the company was gobbling cash faster than the British Treasury could print it. Delorean was arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to finance factory operations. In early '83 new PM Maggie Thatcher pulled the plug on the DMC. Delorean was later acquitted of all charges.

Ultimately some 8600 were built, maybe 5000 sold, most after the Back to the Future movie was released in '85. A Texas company owns the remaining auto and parts inventory. Occasionally, they make noise about reintroducing the car, but don't hold your breath, it won't happen in our lifetime, at least not as long as they have unsold, new, 30 year old cars on the lot.

Should you ever find yourself short of sense and long on cash, there are plenty on EBAY around the world.

Last car post for a while, I promise.


JMW said...

We caught a repeat of "Back to the Future" the other day and my kids were fascinated with the car. "Why do the doors go up like that, Mommy??" Too funny. :)

old polo said...

I for one, Toad, enjoy your posts, auto oriented or not, you have become my favorite blogger. Keep up the good and interesting work.

Anonymous said...

Please continue to post about cars, clothes and life in general. Love your way with words Mr Toad.

Toad said...

Many thanks, we'll see if I'm good for a few more posts.

old polo said...

I'm countin' on ya.

Nelson Litchford said...

Despite having relatively disappointing specs as a sports car, the somewhat futuristic design, which is almost as eccentric as the automaker himself, is now an indelible piece of pop culture. All thanks to Marty and Doc, of course. It's so rare that it's now a collector's item and avid restorers would want a piece of that stainless steel legend.

Toad said...

Sadly Nelson, the car is not rare. Thousands of unsold originals rot in west Texas awaiting a fool and his money.