Back To The Future: A Modern Look At The Iconic DeLorean DMC-12


In the world of automotive classics, few cars have enjoyed the longevity and cross-generational appeal of the DeLorean DMC-12. This gull-winged, stainless steel marvel, immortalized in the timeless “Back to the Future” trilogy, remains as alluring today as it was in the 1980s. This article will delve into the enduring charm of the DeLorean, its production history, and tips for the aspiring DeLorean owner. We will also explore its special place in pop culture and speculate about its potential future.

The Enduring Appeal of the DeLorean DMC-12

The DeLorean DMC-12 has long held a particular fascination for car enthusiasts and movie buffs alike. With its distinct, angular design and signature gull-wing doors, it’s a car that’s both aesthetically unique and visually arresting. Its stainless steel body, unpainted and left in its original, gleaming state, further amplifies its futuristic allure.

Yet, the DeLorean’s appeal goes beyond mere aesthetics. The car embodies the spirit of innovation and daring that characterized the late 20th century automotive industry. Its creator, John DeLorean, was a maverick who dared to break away from the conventions of his time, choosing to design a car that was utterly distinct from anything else on the road.

Furthermore, the DeLorean is a symbol of the dreams and disappointments of its era. Despite its cutting-edge design, the car was a commercial failure, with the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) filing for bankruptcy just a few years after the DMC-12’s launch. This dichotomy between its innovative design and commercial failure imbues the DeLorean with a sense of tragedy and nostalgia that only adds to its charm.

The DMC-12 also benefits from its iconic status in the “Back to the Future” film series. In these movies, the DeLorean is not just a car; it’s a time machine, a symbol of limitless possibilities and the power of imagination. This association with the beloved trilogy has ensured the DeLorean’s enduring fame and popularity.

Owning a DeLorean is not just about owning a car; it’s about becoming part of a passionate and dedicated community. DeLorean owners are typically enthusiastic advocates for the brand, frequently participating in car shows, meetups, and online forums. This sense of camaraderie and shared passion further enhances the appeal of owning a DeLorean.

The Story Behind the DeLorean: From Concept to Production

The tale of the DeLorean is as fascinating as the car itself. It begins with John DeLorean, a top executive at General Motors, who had a vision for a unique sports car. In 1973, he left GM to form the DeLorean Motor Company. DeLorean’s vision was to create a vehicle that would be “fun to drive, safe to operate, and long-lasting.”

The car’s design was the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design, who penned a futuristic, sleek vehicle with gull-wing doors and a stainless steel body. The vehicle’s construction was unusual as well. Instead of conventional steel, DeLorean opted for a fiberglass underbody, onto which non-corroding, brushed stainless steel panels were affixed.

Producing the DeLorean was an international affair. To fund the enterprise, DeLorean sought investments from around the world. He eventually settled on a factory in Northern Ireland, partly due to significant financial incentives from the UK government. The engines were sourced from Renault, and the manufacturing employed a workforce that had no previous experience in the car industry. Despite these challenges, production of the DeLorean began in 1981.

However, the car’s launch was marred by a series of issues. The global recession of the early 1980s, coupled with critical reviews of the car’s performance and high price tag, led to lackluster sales. Furthermore, John DeLorean’s legal troubles, which included an arrest for drug trafficking in a failed attempt to save his company, cast a shadow over the car’s release.

By late 1982, the DeLorean Motor Company had filed for bankruptcy. Only around 9,000 cars had been produced, and the dream of the DMC-12 becoming a dominant force in the automotive industry was over. However, the DeLorean would have a second act, one that would cement its place in pop culture history.

Car Shopping Tips for Nostalgic DeLorean Fanatics

For those looking to own a piece of automotive and cinematic history, buying a DeLorean can be an exciting prospect. However, it’s essential to keep in mind a few key considerations to ensure that your DeLorean experience is a positive one.

Despite the car’s stainless steel body, it’s still crucial to check for signs of neglect or poor maintenance. While the exterior panels don’t rust, the frame underneath can. Therefore, a thorough inspection is necessary, ideally by a mechanic familiar with the DeLorean.

Bear in mind that the DMC-12 is a unique vehicle with unique parts. Some components can be challenging to source, so it’s wise to consider the availability of spare parts in your area or the feasibility of importing them if necessary. DeLorean-specific clubs and online communities can be invaluable resources for this.

Consider the car’s performance expectations. While the DeLorean’s design suggests high-speed sports car performance, it’s essential to remember that the car’s actual speed and power may not live up to modern standards. Take a test drive to ensure you’re comfortable with the car’s driving dynamics.

Consider insurance costs. Classic car insurance can sometimes be more expensive than standard car insurance, and certain requirements or restrictions may apply. Ensure you fully understand these before committing to a purchase.

Consider the car’s provenance. As with any classic car, a well-documented history of ownership, maintenance, and repairs can add significantly to a DeLorean’s value and desirability. Look for cars with a comprehensive paper trail to ensure you’re getting a well-cared-for vehicle.

If you’ve found your dream DeLorean but it’s located far away, don’t worry. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth shipping process.

You’ll want to start by researching reputable auto transport companies. Look for ones with positive reviews, especially from customers who’ve shipped classic or valuable cars. Make sure the company is licensed and insured, and ask about their damage policy.

The choice between open and enclosed transport is one of preference and neccecity. Open transport is cheaper but exposes your car to the elements. Enclosed transport offers more protection and is recommended for valuable or classic cars like the DeLorean.

There may be other discounts available. Shipping companies often offer significant discounts for bundled shipments. By networking with other car collectors nearby, you may be able to arrange a bulk shipment of vehicles to a nearby location in your community. Other discounts you may want to be aware of include military car shipping, seasonal discounts, and referral discounts.

Thoroughly prepare your car for shipping in order to facilitate the transport process and avoid unexpected fees. Remove any personal belongings and disable the alarm. Check the car’s condition and take pictures for reference in case of any dispute about damages.

Communicate with your car shipping carrier and establish pickup and delivery locations. Some companies may not be able to deliver directly to your door due to their truck size or local regulations. In such cases, you’ll need to arrange a convenient meeting place.

Make sure you inspect the car thoroughly upon delivery. Make sure to check the condition of the car against the photos you took prior to shipping. If there are any discrepancies or damage, report it immediately to the shipping company and ensure it’s documented for insurance purposes.

The Appeal of the DeLorean to the “Back To The Future” Creators

The DeLorean DMC-12 is as integral to the “Back to the Future” trilogy as Marty McFly or Doc Brown. But how did this underdog of the automotive world find its way into one of the most beloved film series of all time?

The story goes that co-writers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale were looking for a unique and memorable vehicle for their time machine. They wanted something futuristic and distinctive, and the DeLorean, with its gull-wing doors and stainless steel body, fit the bill perfectly.

Moreover, the DeLorean’s reputation as a commercial failure added an extra layer of irony to its use in the film. Here was a car that had failed to make its mark in the present, being used to travel to the future and the past. This added an element of humor and whimsy that perfectly complemented the film’s tone.

The choice was also a practical one. The DeLorean’s wide, flat hood provided ample space for the time machine components, and its steel body was a good conductor for the “flux dispersal” necessary for time travel, according to the film’s lore.

The use of the DeLorean in the “Back to the Future” films gave the car a new lease on life. The films’ success ensured that the DeLorean would be remembered and sought after by fans worldwide, transforming what had been a commercial failure into a pop culture icon.

The DeLorean’s unique look and connection to the films have also made it a favorite at car shows and conventions. Fans enjoy replicating the time machine modifications, complete with flux capacitors and time circuit displays, further enhancing the DeLorean’s appeal and mystique.

Future Developments: Could There Ever Be a Modern Version of the DeLorean?

The question of a modern DeLorean has tantalized fans and car enthusiasts for years. Several factors could contribute to a resurgence of this iconic car. The ongoing appeal of the DeLorean, fuelled by its connection to the “Back to the Future” films, means there’s a ready-made fan base for a modern version. Many fans would jump at the chance to own a new DeLorean, particularly if it retained the original’s distinctive design elements.

Advancements in automotive technology could address some of the original DeLorean’s shortcomings. Modern engines could provide the power and performance that the original lacked, while advancements in materials and construction techniques could improve the car’s build quality and durability.

Furthermore, the rise of electric vehicles presents an intriguing possibility. An electric DeLorean would be a nod to the car’s futuristic image and could appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

However, there are considerable challenges to resurrecting the DeLorean. The rights to the DeLorean name and design are closely held, and any new production would require significant investment. Additionally, it would be a challenge to replicate the original’s distinctive stainless steel body while meeting modern safety standards.

Despite these challenges, the idea of a modern DeLorean remains compelling. Whether or not it becomes a reality, the DeLorean DMC-12 will continue to captivate fans and car enthusiasts with its unique design and storied history.

The DeLorean DMC-12’s journey from ambitious sports car to commercial failure, and then to cinema icon, is a captivating tale of innovation, dreams, and redemption. While its future remains uncertain, one thing is clear: the DeLorean’s unique blend of design, history, and pop culture connection ensures its place in the annals of automotive lore.

Whether you’re a car enthusiast, a film fan, or simply someone who appreciates unique design, the DeLorean DMC-12 invites us all to dream of a future where style, innovation, and a dash of time-traveling whimsy come together in one unforgettable package. As we look forward, we can’t help but wonder what’s next for this enduring symbol of the past. Perhaps, just like in the movies, the DeLorean DMC-12 will find its way back to the future.