One of the most recognizable vehicles in automotive history is making a comeback. The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) has announced that it'll begin production of replica 1982 DeLoreans, the same car that Doc Brown built into a time machine in Back to the Future, in the not-too-distant future.
The stainless steel DeLorean may be a cultural icon to millions but as a vehicle, it was a total flop.
The DeLorean Motor Company was founded in 1973 by John DeLorean, an accomplished engineer and executive within the automotive industry known for designing several popular Pontiac models including the Firebird, Grand Prix and the GTO. Production delays pushed back the DeLorean MDC-12's release by roughly eight years and by the time it went on sale, the economy had more or less turned cold.
A lackluster reception by critics and the general public didn't help matters, nor did DeLorean's arrest in 1982 on charges of drug trafficking. He was ultimately found not guilty two years later but by that time, the company he founded nearly a decade earlier had gone under. The DeLorean Motor Company ultimately produced fewer than 9,000 vehicles, all of which were DMC-12s.
Today, DMC operates out of Humble, Texas, serving primarily as a restoration shop for DeLorean enthusiasts. Thanks to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, the company can now build up to 325 replica vehicles each year without having to adhere to modern safety standards. "New" vehicles are, however, still subject to EPA emissions standards which means the original motor, the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6, is no longer an option.
Despite sharing the same name, the modern DMC, run by British entrepreneur Stephen Wynne, has no ties to the original company founded by John DeLorean.
DMC plans to build replicas for the 2017 model year featuring a crate engine that puts out between 300 and 400 horsepower – far more than the 130 ponies the original was capable of. DMC, if you recall, created an electric-powered DeLorean a few years back. It's unclear if DMC is planning to offer new DeLoreans with electric motors although if there's enough demand among enthusiasts with deep pockets, I can't see why they wouldn't.
The new cars will also have larger wheels (fitting performance tires on the small original wheels isn't an option) but aside from that, it appears as though everything else will be period-specific... except for the price. Expect to pay between $80,000 and $100,000 for a new DeLorean when they roll off the assembly line early next year.
Car show image courtesy Jack Snell, Flickr