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February 28, 2008

Remembering the DeLorean Motor Car

Delorean_dmc12_front2 I had been shopping at the local Fry's Computer store recently, buying a new flat screen computer monitor and various other supplies to assist running some of the day-to-day tasks at I was walking through the parking lot on my way back to my car when I saw something very rare parked among the vehicles there.

Delorean_dmc12_nose It was a gorgeous DeLorean sportscar, in perfect condition. Its stainless steel body was smooth and shiny, the louvers across the back window still retained their black matte finish, and the wheels appeared to be ding free; inside, its two leather seats seemed practically brand new. Sold in America in 1981, 82, and 83, The DMC-12 featured gull-wing doors with a fiberglass "underbody," onto which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed. Many people are familiar with the vehicle thanks to its starring role as the time machine in the "Back to the Future" films, as well as for the high-profile 1982 arrest of company founder John DeLorean, for drug trafficking. (It was told that DeLorean was attempting to raise funds for his struggling company, which declared bankruptcy that same year.) He was able to defeat these charges, proving that his alleged involvement was a result of entrapment by federal agents. John DeLorean died in March 2005 from a stroke at the age 80.

I spent some time admiring this iconic vehicle there in the lot, circling around it as if it were a show car on display, in hope that the owner would come out soon so I could find out more about the car. It certainly appeared to be well cared for, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't read the odometer through the windows to find out how much it had been driven. Unfortunately, though I waited quite some time, the owner never appeared and so I left, but kept thinking about that emblematic vehicle.

More than 9000 of these vehicles were sold in the three years they were produced; the one I saw in the parking lot is one of the 6500 estimated to still exist. Approximately 100 partially assembled DMC's that were on the production line when the company closed were completed by Consolidated International, one of the DMC investors   (now known as Big Lots, ironically, the same company that took over KBToys nationwide as well as many Californian Pic-n-Sav stores).

New DMC-12s had a suggested retail price of about $25,000; this is equivalent to approximately $62,300 in 2007 dollars. The stainless steel body of the DMC-12 was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and was meant to remain uncoated. De Lorean's sale literature stated that the DMC-12 could achieve 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds, a time that would have been respectable for the early 1980s, though Road & Track magazine clocked the car at 10.5 seconds. Top speed was estimated at 140 mph.

Delorean_dmc12_frontAccording to Wikipedia,  as of early 2007, a De Lorean in good to excellent condition sold for $20,000 to $29,000. Mint-condition cars are said to sell for as much as $50,000. Delorean Motor Cars is currently taking orders on their company website for both pre-owned and newly built cars. The "new build" cars are an evolution of the company's previously available "remanufactured" program. These new build cars are made to order, using a combination of original, new-old stock parts from the Ireland factory, original parts sourced from the original suppliers to the factory, as well as some reproduction parts. If you are interested in owning one of these vehicles custom orders begin at $57,500 with a laundry list of options that can easily bring the grand total to $70,000.

Jody_devere_v71_m Jody DeVere

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