DeLorean DMC 12 Classic Cars for Sale

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DeLorean DMC 12

The instantly recognisable DeLorean DMC 12, or simply DeLorean as it came to be known, was originally manufactured for the American market between 1981-83. With its distinctive gull-wing doors, the somewhat space aged looking DMC 12 began life in 1976 when the prototype was manufactured by William T. Collins, and in years to come would become iconic after featuring in the smash-hit Back to the Future films of the 80s. To many, Delorean has become synonymous with the idea of time travel.

Production of the DMC 12

It would be another 5 years until the DeLorean would officially come to market. The DMC 12 was eventually produced in 1981 in Dunmurry just south west of Belfast. During its relatively short life, the DMC 12 would undergo a number of changes including those made to its hood, wheels and interior. During its 2 years of manufacture, 9,000 of these distinctive stainless steel DeLoreans were produced. Despite high hopes, sales just didn't meet expectations as the US market was at the time experiencing the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 30s.

Alterations to the DMC 12

The DeLorean was originally designed to have a Wankel rotary engine but this was altered to Ford's Cologne V6. This was altered yet again with French/Swedish PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) fuel injected V6 becoming the engine of choice for the DMC 12. The original design seems to have been fraught with various problems, including with the choice of material from which the chassis was to be made. In fact much of the original design of the DMC 12 had to redesigned and re-engineered altogether. This job fell to Lotus' owner Colin Chapman who employed many tried and tested methods already used on Lotus vehicles. One such modification was the use a double-Y frame chassis that was used in the Lotus Esprit.

The distinctive gull-wing doors of the DMC 12 are known to be problematic due to difficulties supporting their own weight, but this was addressed by the use of torsion bars and gas-charged struts. Given the position of the hinge points on the roof, the doors only needed a clearance of about 11 inches, contrary to many jokes about the DMC 12 and the inability of driver's to open the doors in car parks.

Last days of the DeLorean

Although it is well known the DeLorean was manufactured in Ireland, originally it was purposed that the DMC 12 be made in Puerto Rico. Northern Ireland became the preferred location, though, when the company was offered £100 million to have the production take place in Northern Ireland. This may seem a strange investment as experts only gave the the DMC 12 a 1 in 10 chance of success. Still, production went ahead in 1981. There were some early production issues with the DMC 12 as many of the staff were inexperienced and just glad to land any job as unemployment was a real issue in Ireland in the early 80s. These production problems were ironed out within a year, though. Everything came to a grinding halt for DeLorean in 1982 when the company went bankrupt. To make matters worse, John DeLorean was arrested in October for drug trafficking but was later found not guilty. His exoneration came too late for DMC 12 as production had by now ceased.