Whether you’re a fan of American sports coupes, stainless steel or the trilogy Back to the future, today is an important date. Indeed, it’s been exactly 40 years since the first DeLorean DMC-12 left the factory.
After starting at Pontiac, John Zachary DeLorean quickly rose through the ranks within General Motors. Ejected from the company, he founded his own car brand in the mid-1970s and developed a car that would go down in history – and not just for its gull-wing doors.
The first prototype was created in 1976 and the final bodywork design is the work of the Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro of the firm Italdesign. Colin Chapman, founder and manager of Lotus, also played a technical role. Moreover, the DMC-12 was equipped with the suspension and chassis of the Lotus Esprit. As for the engine located at the rear, it was a V6 signed Peugeot-Renault-Volvo.
Photo: Alain Morin
Production officially began in late 1980 in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, and a first DMC-12 was released on January 21, 1981. Unfortunately, the company quickly ran into trouble and went bankrupt in 1982. The factory ceased operations after assembling just under 9,000 copies, the last being completed by the Consolidated International group and sold as 1983 models.
How many are left in circulation today? Some estimate their number at around 6,500. The DMC-12 retains a reputation as a more or less well-built car offering a ride and performance not at all up to its design and price.
What about the future?
Around the same time last year, we learned that the DeLorean Motor Company, the company that bought the assets and inventory of the original manufacturer when it closed, was indeed preparing to manufacture a new limited quantity version of the DMC-12.
Photo: Alain Morin
At that time, however, Vice-President James Espey said production could not begin for at least a year. The Humble, Texas-based company already has 96.7% of the parts needed in its inventory; the others will have to be produced in-house or purchased from partners.
There will be modern headlights, brakes and electronics, safety technologies like traction control and a revamped interior incorporating the connectivity gadgets of the hour – enough to make the new DeLorean a pleasant car for everyday use. and not just a toy for weekend fun.
Espey is of course thinking of an electric motor, promising performance and reliability worthy of the 21st century. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
In video: The DeLorean DMC-12 in Antoine’s 10,001 brochures