Wing lamb: DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The statement "like snow in the sun" seems to have been coined by the story of DeLorean. The brand that could have succeeded for as many reasons as failed. The cause of the fall of the brand, just a year after the first DeLorean DMC-12 rolled off the line, came from unexpected sources. John DeLorean worked for years on the birth of his dream car, "a sports car accessible to the common man". DMC stood for DeLorean Motor Company and 12 for the initial new price of 12.000 dollars. His car would therefore be cheap (a new DeLorean eventually cost double), have a unique design with hinged doors and an unpainted stainless steel body and be made in mass production. Ireland, where the DMC factory was located, was struggling with high unemployment at the time. DeLorean created many new jobs, as a result of which he managed to win over the government as a major investor. 


John DeLorean had his car built by Lotus, an exclusive and small brand. Lotus was short of cash and saw DeLorean as a gift from heaven. However, it did not fully realize what mass production would mean for them. The problems surrounding the production quickly accumulated. The new hired staff was totally inexperienced in building cars and the entire design of the car turned out to be insufficiently adapted to mass production. The "wings", for example, were not only the trademark but also the caretaker's main concern. The doors were complicated to attach and hard to fit into the stainless steel body. The first DeLorean DMC-400 produced 12 had to be completely stripped and rebuilt upon arrival in America.

PRV engine

In terms of chassis, drive and handling, this was thanks to Lotus perhaps The Future, a DeLorean motor was a disillusion. It became a kind of Esprit with an everyday PRV engine. PRV stands for Peugeot-Renault-Volvo. These three partners developed a V70 engine in the 6 in the years that was supplied in a Renault 30, the Volvo 260 and another 20 other fairly average cars. Not exactly a monster so you can imagine. DeLorean saw a reliable and cost-effective engine that got the 1245 kg weighing DeLorean DMC-12 from 9,5 to one hundred in a reasonable 0 second. Buyers, however, were not impressed and disappointed in the performance although that was perhaps not entirely justified given the relatively low new price.

Snow in the sun

The poor quality and the disappointing engine did not help, of course. The fact that the factory incurred too high costs and that the car cost more than twice as much as the planning did not help either. The fact that in December 1981 of the DeLoreans produced 7000 had only been sold 3000 was also worrying. But what ultimately made the DeLorean brand like snow in the sun disappear within a few weeks weather. A lot of snow fell in the Ireland that month. So much that a large part of public life became flat. It was impossible for weeks to continue working and delivering cars. The company was unable to overcome this catastrophe. When John DeLorean was also suspected of drug smuggling a few weeks later, the curtain fell quickly and definitively. Despite the fact that he was acquitted and despite many conversations with potential investors around the world, John couldn't get the wind down.

Back To The Future

The DeLorean DMC-12 achieved cult status in one fell swoop with the release of the movie Back To The Future in 1985. The car plays a prominent role as a time machine. To this day, that is what the car reminds us of. We are going to auction the copy of these photos from a private collection and are quite proud of the assignment. A quirky brand with a story titled "the biggest car crash of all times". Dreams, nightmares, movies, drugs and a disastrous bad weather scenario is what made this car so special in the end. The number 12 after DMC was already outdated upon delivery. We are curious what number we can put behind our DeLorean next week.


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  1. Nice article, I have read the book about the Lorean. Unfortunately left in Tunisia, it would have wanted to read how the power of money (General Motors) is destroying the small business owner.

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