On this episode of The Downshift, they take a look back at one of the most interesting chapters in automotive history: the birth and death of the DeLorean Motor Company. When John DeLorean left GM to start his own line of eponymous cars no one had any idea the real-life Hollywood story that would play out over the upcoming years to turn the DeLorean DMC-12 into the icon of a generation! The Downshift appears every fourth Tuesday on the Motor Trend Channel.
John DeLorean started his career as an engineer with general motors. From that point he rose very quickly through GM to be the youngest vice president and by the early ’70s he was in charge of Chevrolet.
He wanted to build a car the way he thought they should be built, and that would last beyond the regular model cycle of cars lasting 2-3 years and then rusting away. Stainless provided a unique solution to that by obviously not rusting. John intended the car would be an extremely safe car. They got a lot right the first time around. While they were looking for a place to build the car, and they knew they would add 2,000+ jobs, lots of governments started coming to them.
They landed on Northern Ireland. The first cars were built in the summer of 1981. It was a spaceship on wheels. It was a show stopper. Everybody would be clambering to see one or touch one.
When the factory closed in 1982 amidst lots of controversy, there were plenty of DeLorean parts remaining and they now are being used to rebuild the DeLorean today.
You can’t talk about DeLorean cars without talking about “Back to the Future”. Since the company went out of business, it was the greatest thing that happened to the car. Because they didn’t go through a natural process of new models being introduced, the DeLorean has been frozen in time. It’s now an iconic part of the 80’s.