The History of the DMC-12


Heep
04-13-2001, 08:02 AM
Most people recognize the Delorean DMC-12 as nothing but a complete flop. True, it was unsuccessful in terms of production numbers and how long the company lasted, but the car has managed to gain a large cult following since it's demise in 1983. With futuristic details such as an unpainted stainless steel body and gullwing doors that hinged at the top instead of the side, it was THE car to be seen in during the early 80's. Even Doc Brown from "Back To the Future" would agree.

John Z. Delorean turned away from his high position in General Motors, where he created such cars as the Pontiac GTO, to try to start his own company. Trying to find funds for his new auto plant, he was eventually offered the most by the UK if he would set up shop in economically challenged Northern Ireland. He accepted this offer and began to design and engineer his new car. He wanted to make an "ethical" sports car, one that would be "fun to drive, safe to operate, and long lasting." He succeeded; parts and maintenance are still available to this day.

The specs of this car alone should have made it a sucess: a Lotus engineered chassis, styling by Giugiaro, and a mid mounted Peugeot/Renault V6 engine. The projected price of $25,000 US was also an appealing factor.

http://www.dentalartstudio.com/autopictures/delorean/pictures/pic1.jpg

The car was not without its problems, though. The beautiful stainless steel body looked great, but it attracted dirt and scratches. The dramatic gullwing doors could often leak, and it was rumored that they could trap the car's occupants in a roll over because of the inability to open the doors. Also, the quality of the early 1981 cars was so poor that a second factory had to be opened in Los Angeles to rebuild them. All this contributed to the small production numbers of only 8,583 units being built before the companies demise.

The company fell into financial troubles, and rumors of drug trafficking by John Z. were floating around. James Hoffman contacted the company, with hopes of finacing the company. John Z. thought he was just like all the other interested investors, and that he would be turned away at the large sums required to keep the business going. He was not, however, and John Z. proceeded to talk with him. Unbeknownst to John Z., Hoffman was an agent looking for a big break and trying to pull in a big name for drug charges. He offered to fund John Z. if only he could get him some drugs. John Z. continually declined, but only until Hoffman started to threaten his daughter's life. John Z.'s son and daughter were his only weaknesses, and he offered to supply Hoffman with drugs only to save his family, not his company. Hoffman then busted Delorean for drug trafficking. John Z. spent only ten days in jail, but his arrest had a lasting effect on his reputation and business.

John Z. has now announced that he will be producing a new car in the near future, currently called the DMC-2. It is expected to be plastic bodied, like the original was planned to be, and John Z. is shooting for a base price of $20-30K US.

http://www.dentalartstudio.com/autopictures/delorean/pictures/pic2.jpg
http://www.dentalartstudio.com/autopictures/delorean/pictures/pic4.jpg
http://www.dentalartstudio.com/autopictures/delorean/pictures/pic24.jpg

Chris
04-18-2001, 09:40 AM
Nice bit of info, you must really like deloreans.
I like the idea, but the originals were underpowered.
ANd since he's bankrupt and had his house taken away, don't expect the DMC 2 to see the light of day.
Too bad, he had so cool ideas:rolleyes:

Heep
04-18-2001, 11:11 AM
Yeah, I really like 'em :)

Delorean Motor Company in Texas refurbishes old Deloreans, and, according tou your choice and budget, will either rebuild or replace the engine. They also offer a 190 hp engine, which is what John Z. originally intended. So you can get a 190hp Delorean with 0 miles for about $30000. They also offer all the options that were originally on the options list, such as pinstripe and luggage rack. They offer a suspension that lowers the front to what John Z. wanted, but couldn't do because of US federalization restrictions at the time. Check it out: www.usadmc.com

The DMC 2 is already in development, whether it will make it or not is still to be seen.

RoadRover
04-20-2001, 12:02 AM
There was no factory in LA, the cars were shipped into the US via long beach harbor, and the US office was in Irvine, CA. I can't remember what that place is these days, but the building is still there.

apart from that, your history is pretty accurate. I used to own a DMC-12, back in the day. They're basicly sound cars, but like you said, they're underpowered. There is a place in Colorado that will install the Cadillac Northstar v-8 into a 'D', but the conversion costs $20k. That solves the power problem quite nicely. :)

Chris
04-20-2001, 08:37 AM
Yeah, I read somewhere that caddie engines were making it to the DeLorean, it makes sense, they're powerful, and fairly compact:D

Heep
04-20-2001, 06:54 PM
Originally posted by RoadRover
There was no factory in LA, the cars were shipped into the US via long beach harbor, and the US office was in Irvine, CA. I can't remember what that place is these days, but the building is still there.

Close enough :D

You said you had one...that's awesome. What else have you had......

RoadRover
04-20-2001, 08:09 PM
I've not had all that many cars. I tend to keep them until I either drive them into the ground, or someone makes an offer on it that I can't refuse.

My first car was a plymouth horizon P.O.S. Nothing to report there.

I bought a '94 Escort GT next and had it for about 6 years. I ended up putting over $12k into it, including a J-spec Mazda engine with a turbo, and a complete custom bodykit, and the rear wing from an Escort Cosworth. It was a very respectable car. Used to run 13's at the strip, but it's strong point was on the track. I eventualy sold it and bought an '81 DeLorean DMC-12. It was a good car, but it was underpowered and needed quite a lot of fixing-up. It seemed like every other day something else would come loose or need to be fixed. the car had sat for a number of years prior to my owning it. I was young and dumb, and just wanted to drive the car NOW, instead of restoring it first.

Eventualy I sold that and bought a Ford SVT Lightning, whch I now drive. I haven't really put too much money into it yet, but I'm thinking about putting twin turbos on the 351 it has under the hood. I think that should be enough power for me. (I'm not a supercharger fan. I like turbo'd cars. Thats why I'm not putting a blower on the Lightning)

Heep
04-20-2001, 08:18 PM
Whoa, you had an Escort there....I have a '91 LX

I think if money keeps coming in slowly, I'll just mod the Escort, if it comes in quick I'll get a new car. But I don't see any signs of it coming anytime soon :D

So...you must know some good mods and/or websites...i don't suppose you could help me out...I can't find many parts. BTW, how'd you get the Cossie wing on there? Don't they have different trunks in Europe? I think I may have seen your car on an Escort webpage.

RoadRover
04-21-2001, 01:45 AM
there are a number of places you can go to for info on tuning an escort. You have an LX, which is the 1.9L engine, it's different from the GT's 1.8L, but still a sound engine. You could try www.escortracing.com for info on where to start with your car. Another good place to look for advice and hints is any of the Yahoo clubs. Just go to the www.clubs.yahoo.com page and type in 'Ford Escort' into the search box.

The cossie wing takes a lot of work to get it to fit the US escorts. on the UK escort, the C pillars at the sides of the rear glass are easily avaliable for you to mount the wing to. If you've noticed on your car, the glass is mounted 'over' those pillars. you need to make a bracket that will attatch to the side of the pillar and 'wrap around' the edge of the glass for you to mount the wing to. Also, there is an upper and lower part to the cossie wing, I'd reccomend buying both.

I doubt you saw my car on any websites, but I'd like to see a link to the picture that you think might be of my car. maybe someone snapped a pic of it and I didnt know...

If you want to discuss this further, maybe there is an escort forum here we can go to?

Heep
04-21-2001, 02:23 PM
Yeah, I requested an Escort forum be made (it was) a while ago. Nobody but me has posted there yet, it's under Ford...I'll reply to this message there.

Chris
04-22-2001, 06:57 PM
Why would you TT a SVT Lightning??
It already has a blower, and is nicely tuned to the engine (re, civilized, with a nice power curve)
I need some more explaining.

vectorclub
10-30-2001, 11:24 PM
Kudos on the history posting, but I have read a book called Hard Driving written by a journalist who was a friend of JZD and worked for DMC. Delorean was forced out of GM. JZD used Birtish money on projects other then DMC-12. JZD also had some realy off the wall ideas about politics and used blackmail to get his way. That is if everything in this book is true. If you read it I think you find the author is not trying to rip JZD apart, but he reports some of JZD behaviors and quirks. I would not trust JZD with any investment money. If you look at the money he took form DMC you would see he is bit crooked.

According to the same book a second factory was set up next to the main factory to make repairs to cars from the main afctory. Then they had to have another repair place in Southern Cal to fix more issues.

Deloreans history is what makes the car. The car itself is so-so. That is just my opinion. I think Delorean Motors and Vector Aeromotive share some the same kind of crazy history. Wiegert thinks Delorean is a good guy.

Chris
11-01-2001, 01:17 PM
They did have a second factroy in California. The drunken Irish couldnt put the cars together well, and they needed some re-assembly.

YogsVR4
11-10-2001, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by Chris
They did have a second factroy in California. The drunken Irish couldnt put the cars together well, and they needed some re-assembly.

I'd resent that if I were drunk! or if i was irish :D













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Chris
11-11-2001, 09:18 AM
I'm part Irish, so I get to make fun of them!

Marc-OS
12-13-2001, 06:44 PM
I've noticed that my Delorean is rather underpowered, but one company has a way to solve that and retain the stock engine.>USA DMC< (http://www.usadmc.com/performance.asp) They had a professional motor tuning company tweak the engine, and get the most HP out of the car. They have a stage one program with just Intake/camshafts/exaust etc.. has brought it from 130HP to nearly 200HP! and Stage 2 and 3 are still being worked on. I would imagine with all 3 stages that car would be a beast compared to most of the cars on the street in its price range. My delorean seen>here< (http://www.geocities.com/reagan_for_president/Deloreans_0wn_me.html) I hope will have these mod's done, and will be king of the streets.

vectorclub
12-13-2001, 07:17 PM
I would imagine with all 3 stages that car would be a beast compared to most of the cars on the street in its price range
Which price range are you comparing with. Mods take money so it would not be right to compare with other cars using a stock price on modified car. I have seen some modified Hondas beat higher priced cars, but when you added the costs of mods the Honda cost more then car it just beat. The Delorean body is heavy. Peel away the stainless steel body and use a thin fiberglass body and you will have a much better performance car. If money is no object go for a F1 style composite body. Delorean's are more famous for style then performance. I don't blame you for trying to up the power of the Delorean. Pure stock Delorean's are real dogs.

fearless_simian
01-01-2002, 07:10 PM
It looked like that delorean was painted. Seems sad to me. I thought the coolest thing about them was the Polished steel. Sort of seems a waste to paint it.

DMC12
02-15-2002, 12:12 PM
My car was painted when I bought it. I think of paint as temporary. It can be removed it the future. What counts is that the Stainless Steel underneath will never rust!

To give some perspective to the whole performance issue, look at this magazine from that time:
http://www.specialtauto.com/images/roadtest.jpg

327belair
02-16-2002, 08:20 PM
yeah, back in 77 every car was slow as hell, corvettes were as fast or faster than any other new car, and they only had 180 or 205 horses

DMC12
03-05-2002, 09:42 PM
Looking at 0-60 & quarter mile times for cars from 1980 to 2002, I've noticed a statistically significant shift. Every car made today is sooooo much faster. 20 years ago, your average Honda did 0-60 in about 20 seconds. Now the base models do it in about 8...

longlivetheZ
05-25-2002, 12:58 PM
Wow....Vector Aeromotive....been a looooooooooong time since I heard that name. I remember when I was really really young, probably 6 or so, I went to a car show with my parents in San Diego (I think) and saw the Vector there. I got to meet the designer (or something) of the car and even got a signed poster of the Vector signed by him. What the hell's the deal with these cars? Any one know anything about them or where they went? Also, what are some specs on the DMC-12? Just curious. Damn...I wanna go find that poster now....this is like De Ja Vous...

Oh yea....I don't like superchargers either. :p Turbos rule

Jay!
05-25-2002, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by longlivetheZ
Wow....Vector Aeromotive....been a looooooooooong time since I heard that name. I remember when I was really really young, probably 6 or so, I went to a car show with my parents in San Diego (I think) and saw the Vector there. I got to meet the designer (or something) of the car and even got a signed poster of the Vector signed by him. What the hell's the deal with these cars? Any one know anything about them or where they went?Sounds like you'd be interested in out Vector (http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/f841/) forum... ;)

longlivetheZ
05-25-2002, 01:55 PM
Oh wow...didn't know there was a Vector forum. Sweet.

DMC12
06-06-2002, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by longlivetheZ
Oh wow...didn't know there was a Vector forum. Sweet.

How did you get Vector confused with DMC?

Fliquer
06-06-2002, 09:24 PM
Now the base models do it in about 8...

Heh, that would be impressive. BUT no, the base civic will do it in about 10 and the base accord will go to 60 in 12

DMC12
06-14-2002, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Fliquer
the base accord will go to 60 in 12

I must have got my data from a Honda owner that was B.S.'ing:rolleyes: Oh well.

harryglorydays
03-08-2008, 03:11 PM
They did have a second factroy in California. The drunken Irish couldnt put the cars together well, and they needed some re-assembly.

Actually, they had two ports of entry in the US : Long Beach for the West Coast and Wilmington. DE for the East Coast. Some cars may have been sent to Jacksonville for the South - I don't remember.

I was a Tech Rep for the East Coast and worked out of the Bridgewater NJ Tech Center. Essentially, this was to have been a place for the cars to come to be prepped before being shipped to the dealers. However, we ended up having to rebuild them quite a bit more than what anyone had imagined! the worst part was getting the doors to align and open properly. They were extremely temperature sensitive - the gas struts and torsion bars would open the doors at different speeds depending on the temp. But there were many other problems as well.

At the height, I'd say there were at least 100 mechanics and bodymen working at Bridgewater. the facility was a former Ford dealership at the intersection of Rt. 202 and I-286. Currently there is a Home Depot on the site.

I believe there was a similar shop in California, but I never went out there.

'97ventureowner
03-08-2008, 03:50 PM
Please do not resurrect old threads longer than 3 months since th elast post date. This one has been idle nearly 6 years. Start a new thread and link to the old one if you wish to add to the conversation.
Closed.

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