The truth is, the DeLorean was a bad car that looked cool.
Even though it’s a cool car, the DeLorean was badly built, slow, outdated and unreliable.
The DMC DeLorean is probably as famous as the Ferrari F40, the Lamborghini Countach, the Porsche 911, the Ford Mustang – but unlike these automotive icons, the DeLorean is not a good car.
Released in 1981, the DeLorean represented the vision of John DeLorean. A vision that sought to build a sports car that was ethical, safe, fuel-efficient and long-lasting. The DeLorean was meant to be different and although it achieved differentiation, the ambitious goals of the ‘ethical’ sports car were not met.
Due to the reality of the automotive industry, the costs of production and the constraints of legislation and engineering, the DMC dream slowly fell apart. What was initially set out to be a mid-engine, fibreglass, rotary-powered sports car ended up being an underpowered, overweight V6 sports car with leaky gullwing doors.
Producing just 130 bhp thanks to US anti-smog equipment and weighing 1,233 kg, the DeLorean ended up being a lot heavier and a lot less powerful than originally expected. The goal was for the car to produce at least 200bhp and to be made from fibreglass using a new and innovative moulding process to give the car fantastic structural strength.
So, sure it was a bit more sluggish than expected but what about the rest? Well, another huge problem was the quality control. The original plan was to produce 30,000 cars per year but in reality, only 9,200 were made in total made by employees that were poorly trained in the assembling of cars, which led to the well-known quality control issues of the famous car.
Failing electrical systems, sticking throttles, suspension issues, instruments playing up, batteries dying prematurely, leaky doors as mentioned before, incorrect wheel alignments. The automotive industry has one of the highest barriers to entry and unless you have a lot of money to burn setting up, a new auto manufacturer is very likely to fail, which is exactly what happened to DMC.
Furthermore, the DeLorean’s price was a hefty $25,000 (roughly $70,000 today) when it was originally planned to be sold for a much more affordable $12,000. Back then, for a couple more thousand dollars, one could buy a Porsche 911 instead which was objectively a much better sports car.
After a couple of years of production, the faults were mostly ironed out and cars were finally leaving the production line in acceptable conditions. Unfortunately, by then it was too late as the DMC factory was placed into receivership in 1983 and John DeLorean was also hit with money laundering and drug trafficking charges.
Of course, as we know, that wasn’t the end of the DeLorean thanks to resurgence brought upon Back To The Future. Stephen Wynne resurrected the DeLorean Motor Company in 1995 and bought DeLorean inventory. Now, this new ‘DMC’ which is technically a separate company to the old DMC, is selling DeLoreans and official DeLorean parts to owners, keeping the legendary steel-body time-travelling cars on the road.
Despite it’s fading plastic bumpers, totally unengaging performance, failing alternator and unappealing price tag, the DeLorean lives on as one of the most iconic cars in history.
Who knows what would have happened if it didn’t have those cool gullwing doors?
Let us know what you think of the DeLorean in the comments!
If you enjoyed this, you may also like: Everything Wrong With The Lamborghini Countach
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