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Industry Automotive

Founded October 24, 1975


Headquarters Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Dunmurry, Northern Ireland
Key people John DeLorean, Founder &
Chairman; Stephen Wynne
Products DeLorean DMC-12
DeLorean Motor Company
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The original Delorean Motor Company (DMC) is an
automobile manufacturer formed by automobile industry
executive John DeLorean in 1975.
[1]
It is remembered for the
one model it produced the distinctive stainless steel
DeLorean DMC-12 sports car featuring gull-wing
doorsand for its brief and turbulent history, ending in
receivership and bankruptcy in 1982. Near the end, in a
desperate attempt to raise the funds his company needed to
survive, John DeLorean was filmed appearing to accept
money to take part in drug trafficking, but was subsequently
acquitted of charges brought against him on the basis of
entrapment.
[2]
The DeLorean DMC-12 featured memorably in the Back to
the Future movie trilogy, as the model of car made into a
time machine by eccentric scientist Doc Brown, although the
company had ceased to exist before the first movie was
made.
In 1995, Liverpool-born mechanic Stephen Wynne
[3]
started
a separate company using the "DeLorean Motor Company" name and shortly thereafter acquired the remaining
parts inventory
[4]
and the stylized "DMC" logo trademark of DeLorean Motor Company.
[5]
The current
DeLorean Motor Company located near Houston is not, and has never been, associated with the original
company but supports owners of DeLorean cars. DMC (Texas), as they are known, has an additional five
authorized, franchised dealers in Bonita Springs, Florida; Crystal Lake, Illinois; Huntington Beach, California;
Bellevue, Washington and Hem, The Netherlands.
1 History
1.1 Beginning
1.2 Manufacturing facility
2 Vehicles
2.1 DMC-12
3 Downturn
4 Today
5 See also
6 References
7 Further reading
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8 External links
Beginning
John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1975. He was
already well known in the automobile industry as a capable engineer, business innovator, and youngest person
to become a General Motors (GM) executive. Investment capital came primarily in the form of business loans
from the Bank of America and from the formation of partnerships and private investment from select parties,
including The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson and entertainers Roy Clark and Sammy Davis, Jr.. Money was
also gained later through a dealer investment program in which those dealerships offering DeLorean's cars for
sale were made shareholders in the company.
DeLorean also sought lucrative incentives from various government and economic organizations to pay for
constructing the company's automobile manufacturing facilities. To gain these, he looked to build his first
factory in a country or area where unemployment was particularly high. One candidate was the Republic of
Ireland, although the country's then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Desmond O'Malley, decided not to
support the project. A deal in Puerto Rico was about to be agreed when DeLorean took up a last-minute offer
from the UK Northern Ireland's Industrial Development Board. Besides taking some early seed capital from
Hollywood stars Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Carson, DeLorean Motor Company relied on the British
government for about $120 million of its $200 million startup costs according to the newspaper The Times. The
British government was very keen to create jobs in Northern Ireland to reduce sectarian violence by reducing
unemployment. As part of this offer, DeLorean was apparently under the impression that the British government
would provide his company with Export Credit financing. This would provide a loan of 80% of the wholesale
cost of the vehicles (US$20,000) upon completion and delivery for shipping.
Manufacturing facility
In October 1978, construction of the six-building, 660,000 ft (61,000 m) manufacturing plant began in
Northern Ireland and was completed in 16 months by Farrans McLaughlin & Harvey. Officially known as
DMCL (DeLorean Motor Cars, Ltd.), the facility was located in Dunmurry, a suburb of Belfast. It was situated
on an interface between two communities with differing religious predominations: Catholic Twinbrook and
Protestant Dunmurry (coordinates: ). The facility had separate entrances for each side, but
this was more of a geographic convenience than it was for religious segregation.
Unit production was scheduled to begin in 1979, but engineering delays and budget overruns caused the
assembly lines to start only in early 1981. Workers at the factory were generally inexperienced; many never had
jobs before joining DMC. This may have contributed to the reported quality issues attributed to the early
production vehicles and the subsequent establishment of Quality Assurance Centers (QAC) located at various
delivery locations. QACs were set up in California, New Jersey and Michigan where some of the quality issues
were to be addressed and resolved before delivery to dealerships. Some of the issues related to the fitting of
body panels, higher-output alternators, and gullwing door adjustments.
The combined efforts of quality assurance improvements at the factory and the post-production quality
assurance done at the QACs were generally successful, although workmanship complaints would still
occasionally arise; the 1981 DeLoreans were delivered with a 12-month, 12,000 mi (19,000 km) warranty. By
543246N 613W
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DeLorean DMC-12 with gull-wing
doors open.
1982, improvements in components and the more experienced workforce meant that production quality was
vastly improved. Disputes between dealerships and customers arose later because many dealerships refused to
do warranty work because they were not reimbursed.
DMC-12
Reception by the car-buying public and automotive magazines was
mixed. Although the early vehicles had impressive waiting lists of
anxious consumers, the MSRP sticker price of $25,000 ($57,500 in 2008
dollars)
[6]
was cost-prohibitive for the majority of the market
especially for what many considered to be an under-powered and
impractical plaything. "It's not a barn burner," observed Road & Track,
"(with) a 0-60 mph time of 10.5 seconds. Frankly, that's not quick for a
sports/GT car in this price category." The stainless steel body panels
were an attractive design concept and impervious to corrosion, but in
practice the sheen surface tended to show fingerprints. It also meant that
the car could not be easily painted; every factory original DeLorean
looked virtually identical. Some dealerships painted their cars on
delivery to help make theirs more distinctive. DMC was testing the use of translucent paint to help provide
different color options on the cars while also allowing the stainless steel grain to show through, but no cars were
sold with factory painted body panels. The only factory option initially available was an automatic transmission.
A grey interior was offered later in 1981 as an alternative to the standard black interior. Several accessories
including pinstriping and luggage racks helped provide further individuality.
[7]
In 1981, it was reported there were plans to have made a 4-door version of the car (perhaps on a longer
wheelbase) for 1983. It was to have been of stainless steel, and with gullwing doors.
The lack of demand, cost overruns, and unfavorable exchange rates began to take their toll on DMC's cash flow
in late 1981. The company had estimated their break-even point to be between 10,000 and 12,000 units, but
sales were only around 6,000. In response to the income shortfall, a restructuring plan was devised where a new
"DeLorean Motors Holding Company" would be formed, which in turn would have become corporate parent to
DMC and each of its subsidiaries: DeLorean Motor Cars Limited (manufacturer), DeLorean Motor Cars of
America (distributor in the U.S.) and DeLorean Research Partnership (a research and development company).
In January 1982, due to United States Securities and Exchange Commission questions about the company's
viability, the company was forced to cancel the stock issue for the holding company that DeLorean had hoped
would raise about $27 million.
John DeLorean then lobbied the British government for aid, but was refused unless he was able to find a
matching amount from other investors. What followed is a matter of debate between the British government, the
US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, DeLorean, his investors, and the US
court system. At some point in 1982, John DeLorean became the target of an FBI sting operation designed to
arrest drug traffickers. He was arrested in October 1982 and charged with conspiring to smuggle $24 million
worth of cocaine into the US. The key element of evidence for the prosecution was a videotape showing
DeLorean discussing the drugs deal with undercover FBI agents Benedict (Ben) Tisa and West, although
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All-electric model DMCev in Milan
(2012)
DeLorean's attorney Howard Weitzman successfully demonstrated to the court that he was coerced into
participation in the deal by the agents who initially approached him as legitimate investors. He was acquitted of
all charges, but his reputation was forever tarnished. After his trial and subsequent acquittal, DeLorean quipped,
"Would you buy a used car from me?"
In the end, sufficient funds could not be raised to keep the company alive. DMC went bust in 1982, taking with
it 2,500 jobs and over $100 million in investments. The British government attempted to revive some usable
remnants of the manufacturing facility without success, and the Dunmurry factory was closed. DeLorean
himself retired in New Jersey, and the dream with which he had mesmerized Britain's Labour government, of
industry rising out of the ashes of Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict, was shattered. He claimed that the
DMCL was deliberately closed for political reasons, and at the time of closing was a solidly viable company
with millions of dollars in the bank and two years of dealer orders on the books.
Approximately 9,000 cars were made between January 1981 and December 1982, although actual production
figures are unclear and estimates differ. Some of the cars manufactured in 1982, but not shipped to the states (as
the US arm of DMC had no money to 'buy' the cars from the factory in Northern Ireland), with 15XXX and
16XXX Vehicle Identification Numbers are actually 1982 models that were given later VINs, dated 1983, by
Consolidated International (now known as Big Lots), a company that had a buyback program with DMC and
had bought out the remaining unsold cars and also the inventory of unused parts left in the factory after the
bankruptcy.
A large number of the original cars are still on the road after over 30
years; most estimates put it at 6,500 cars surviving out of just over 9,000
built. There is an active enthusiast community around the cars, with
strong owners' clubs. A number of businesses were set up after the
demise of DMC to provide parts and service, and most of those are still
in existence. In particular, DMC
[5]
(based in Humble, Texas), operates
under entirely new ownership and with no direct ties to the original
DeLorean Motor Company. It purchased the parts surplus from
Consolidated International and offers many aftermarket parts solutions
to replace exhausted stock.
Many aftermarket improvements have been offered over time to address
some of the flaws in the original production cars, and to improve
performance. A common opinion of the car is that in stock form it is somewhat underpowered, and a variety of
solutions have been implemented, from complete engine swaps (either to a larger PRV engine, or to completely
different engines such as the Cadillac Northstar engine), turbocharger kits (single or twin-turbo), down to
simpler solutions such as improved exhausts and other normal engine tuning work.
Despite being cleared of all drug trafficking charges, DeLorean still had to battle many legal cases (stemming
from the company's bankruptcy) well into the 1990s. He declared bankruptcy in September 1999 and was
evicted from his 434 acres (1.76 km
2
) New Jersey estate in March 2000. He died of stroke complications at 80
years of age on March 19, 2005.
In August 2007, it emerged that due to demand for the DeLorean DMC-12, DMCH would start selling
refurbished cars.
[8]
Businessman Stephen Wynne has purchased all the remaining parts for the car and builds
them in Houston.
[9]
Currently, a DeLorean can be assembled from the ground up using a combination of new,
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original and reproduction parts for US$57,500 and still carry a 1980s title, while unrestored but good condition
vehicles run from about US$25,000 upwards.
On December 3, 2009, DMC released a collection of t-shirts and hats in collaboration with streetwear brand The
Hundreds, featuring modernized images of the DMC-12 in Los Angeles culture based graphic designs. The
collaboration project also includes a special edition DMC-12 painted in The Hundreds recognizable JAGS
pattern in black and flat black which will be also for sale on December 3, 2009 and displayed at The Hundreds
flagship store in Los Angeles the entire day.
In November, 2010, in collaboration with DMC, Nike released a limited edition DeLorean Dunk shoe with an
estimated production of 1,000 pairs at a suggested retail price of $90.
In October, 2011, the DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas, announced intentions to sell custom-made
electric DeLoreans by 2013.
[10]
List of defunct United States automobile manufacturers
Logan Machine Company, the snowcat company owned by John DeLorean
Thiokol sold DeLorean its snowcat division in 1978
List of car manufacturers of the United Kingdom
^ Claire Suddath (April 19, 2012). "The DeLorean's Time Leap" (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-19
/the-deloreans-time-leap). Bloomberg Businessweek.
1.
^ Times Wire Services (December 17, 1986). "DeLorean Acquitted of All Criminal Finance Charges"
(http://articles.latimes.com/1986-12-17/news/mn-3343_1_john-z-delorean). Los Angeles Times.
2.
^ "Back to the future as DeLorean goes electric" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17428818). BBC News. April
1, 2012.
3.
^ Marc Noordeloos (November 23, 2008). "Stephen Wynne, CEO of The De Lorean Motor Company"
(http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/0811_de_lorean_motor_company_ceo_stephen_wynne/index.html).
Automobile.
4.
^
a

b
DeLorean Motor Company Home (http://www.delorean.com/). 5.
^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Consumer Price Index Calculator (http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research
/data/us/calc/).
6.
^ Misc. Information / Pictures (http://www.babbtechnology.com/thecar/misc.htm). 7.
^ BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6925533.stm). 8.
^ "DeLorean cars to be reborn". Belfast Telegraph. 2007-08-21. p. 4. 9.
^ http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/back-future-delorean-plans-electric-car/story?id=14761822 10.
DeLorean Motor Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeLorean_Motor_Company
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John Z. DeLorean, Ted Schwarz, Delorean, Zondervan (September, 1985), ISBN 0-310-37940-7
Ivan Fallon, James Srodes, Dream Maker: The Rise and Fall of John Z Delorean (November, 1985),
ISBN 0-399-12821-2
William Haddad, Hard Driving : My Years with John DeLorean (August 12, 1985), ISBN 0-394-53410-7
J Lamm, DeLorean Stainless Steel Illusion, 2nd edition (2003), ISBN 0-9744141-0-7
R. M. Clarke, Delorean 1977-1995 Gold Portfolio (December 28, 1995), ISBN 1-85520-331-6
DeLorean Motor Company (http://delorean.com/)
DeLorean Motor Company (http://www.dmoz.org/Recreation/Autos/Makes_and_Models/DeLorean) at
DMOZ
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Categories: Sports car manufacturers Corporate scandals Motor vehicle manufacturers based in Michigan
Companies established in 1975 American companies established in 2007
Companies based in Detroit, Michigan Companies disestablished in 1982 American brands
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