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Car Tales: Delorean, Back From The Future

“‘If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious sh*t!'”
‘The immortal words of Dr Emmett Brown, played by the terrific Christopher Lloyd, to Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly in Back to the Future embody the entire premise of the time-travel classic and its employment of a DeLorean sports-car for this purpose.
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‘I saw all three of the wildly entertaining films in this science-fiction franchise a few times growing up. I didn’t really understand the scientific premises floated about, but the plot presents our hero Marty McFly, who inadvertently travels back in time to the year 1955 and must enlist the help of an eccentric scientist named ‘Doc’ Brown in order to return back, to the future. To do this he designs and creates the flux capacitor, attaches it to the DMC-12, in so doing creating one practical yet stylish time machine!
‘As it ages, the DeLorean car only increases in desirability. At Beverly Hills Car Club each model we buy and sell assumes immediate cult status: in total we have sold 180 DeLoreans, so it is a really hot sales item.
silver delorean
‘In 1985, the year the first Back to the Future film came out, the famously gull-winged car had been on sale for four years. By then, however, it was three years since John DeLorean‘s car company had gone into liquidation, a consequence of a series of crises that had resulted when the celebrated automotive boss was accused of unorthodox efforts at financing. On August 16 1984 he had been found not guilty of this but by then – his attention understandably fragmented – the company’s fiscal problems had overwhelmed it.
‘It was a long way from the time when John Zachary DeLorean had been earning $600,000 a year – a phenomenal sum for those days – as head of first Pontiac and then Chevrolet for General Motors. And not bad going for a son of Romanian immigrant parents, with a labourer father who was also, by all accounts, a drunk. At least he had the foresight for his son to be born in 1925 in Detroit, the boomtown heart of US car manufacturing – the silicone valley of its age.
‘Reputedly a deep thinker, DeLorean loved cars and his dream always was to have his own car company. He set himself up as the personification of the new, thinking man. ‘I’m going to create a company as big as Ford,’ he declared.But was he was dazzled by his own idea? The phrase was that ‘he went Hollywood,’ surrounding himself with glamorous friends, like the legendary TV show host Johnny Carson.
red delorean
‘In his pursuit of such a lifestyle, DeLorean underwent plastic surgery, building out his jaws, transforming himself, as though he was the next model of an automobile. He also took on a model wife, half his age.
‘But he understood pop culture, and the glamour of the West Coast. When the DeLoreans started rolling off the production line, at least 45 per cent were sold in California.
Delorean transport
‘To do this, John DeLorean did a deal – accomplished in just eleven days – with the British government, persuading them to cough up $100 million to build him a factory in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, a city blighted by endemic unemployment; at the time Belfast was torn apart by the ‘Troubles’, a euphemism for a full-scale civil war between Catholics and Protestants. DeLorean’s factory was built in the no man’s land between areas controlled by these two religious factions, obliging them to work together, a successful effort at integration.
‘It was a very big deal that there were Roman Catholics and Protestants working together: schools were not even integrated in Northern Ireland, where the DeLorean factory was an oasis of peace.
‘Accordingly, John DeLorean was seen as the savior of the jobless in West Belfast, giving a great sense of confidence, self-esteem and euphoria to the locals. He was a true local hero.
‘Unfortunately it was not to last. The company turned out to be too underfunded to fulfill its ambitions. But its achievements were nonetheless impressive. The DeLorean car that emerged from the Belfast factory had taken only 27 months from its first design to a completed model appearing in dealerships: the time arc for a similar development of a new Porsche model in that age was nine years. To achieve this, however, money was spent as though it was pouring out of an open tap. By 1982 John DeLorean was forced to file for bankruptcy. And all the people working in the DeLorean factory lost their jobs.
‘DeLorean, a name that remains synonymous with 1980’s automobiles. His life was another amazing example of this American Dream, and his hard work and perseverance is embedded into the very notion of the ever distinctive DeLorean car.
-Alex Manos, Owner


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