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Live the dream.

Although Camaros are the main car I’m interested in having later in life, there’s one car in particular that I’d like as soon as possible. That car is a DeLorean.

Some of you may know what this car is. Others might not. Some might be thinking of Back to the Future. Others might be thinking: “Why would he want such a failure of a car!?” Please, sit back and allow me to explain the history of the DeLorean and why I feel the way I do about this car.

John Zachary DeLorean was an Austrian/Romanian man of many talents. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he grew up to become an executive with General Motors. DeLorean was responsible for developing some of the first historic muscle cars cars like the Pontiac GTO, Firebird and Grand Prix. After holding just about every position in the automotive industry, DeLorean left GM and founded the DeLorean Motor Company in 1975 (it was originally called DeLorean Motor Cars, but was later changed).

DeLorean began searching for a location to construct the DMC manufacturing facilities. Among the candidates were the Republic of Ireland, Puerto Rico and Northern Ireland. The British government gave DeLorean a last minute offer to build in Northern Ireland, and DeLorean took it. The government believed that this would reduce violence and protests by reducing unemployment (providing people with jobs).

This is where the actual car comes into play. DeLorean started production of his car with the same name (originally named the DMC-12 because it was supposed to cost $12,000) in 1981. In 1982, the company began having a multitude of financial problems. Due to problems ranging from the $25,000 price tag (equivalent to over $60,000 today) and the small storage space to the limited visibility and mechanical failures, DeLoreans weren’t selling well. Many people bought them, but not enough to keep the company profitable.

On top of that, DeLorean got tangled up in a drug-traffiking scandal in July 1982. It was an attempt to gain the money to save DMC, but undercover FBI informants revealed his dealings. He was tried for drug trafficking in the United States, but was found nout guilty due to entrapment by the FBI. His attorneys said: “Without the government, there would be no crime” (Wikipedia, Arrest and Trial). DMC went bankrupt later that year, and the production facilities were closed. John DeLorean retired in New Jersey and died from a stroke in 2005, when he was 80-years old.

A DeLorean with its famous gull wing doors fully opened.

 

As for the DeLorean cars, they were purchased (along with the thousands of parts and blueprints) by the new DeLorean Motor Company of Texas (based in Humble). This company acquired the distribution rights to all the parts and had them shipped in from Columbus, Ohio (the place where they resided since the factory closed). Today, this company specializes in restoring old DeLoreans, building NOS (New Old Stock) models and modernizing the car for the always-changing 21st century.

Technically speaking, all of the parts the company owns are brand new, but they were built in the early 80s. This makes them New Old Stock.  A New-Build Program is in the works for interested buyers to order a custom DeLorean built to their specifications. The pricing for a “new” DeLorean starts at around $57,500. However, pre-owned DeLoreans can be purchased all over the country and on auction websites like eBay. Depending on the quality, mileage and stability, they can range anywhere from $12,000 to $40,000.

What makes the car so special, in my opinion, is the overall look (on the inside and outside). The stainless steel body plates (the car only has stainless steel plates, not a stainless steel frame) and gull wing doors are definitely its most notable external features. New DeLoreans have been built with surround sound audio systems, touch screen navigation panels and iPod hookups on the inside.

A lot of people feel it looks dated and ugly, but I think it’s about as futuristic as it gets. And the main reason I’d like to own one while I’m in college is because it’s not a very practical car for use in later life. It has a very limited trunk space under the front hood of the car, it only seats two people and it gets anywhere from 19-22 highway miles per gallon. This makes it a car to have while you’re young, free and not restricted by a family (unless of course you’re a rich collector).

This past October, the DeLorean Motor Company announced their intent to produce electric-powered DeLoreans in 2013, with a base price starting at around $90,000 to $100,000. Obviously, that’s an expensive car, so it would take a lot of time and money for me to be able to buy one.

In the end, my main goal is to own one in my early 20s. To see people’s reactions to the car would be worth it alone. So one day, I hope to “live the dream,” just like the tagline of the original DeLorean commercials said. To have a car that’s like me, something that’s old-fashioned and very retro with a strange history that really turns heads, would be amazing. So here’s to you, Mr. DeLorean. I’ll see you in another life, brother.

And yes, I plan on hitting 88 MPH with the car one day. When I do, “you’re gonna see some serious shit.”