Here’s an iconic car for you: forever associated with the Back to the Future movie franchise, the real 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 is not nearly as cool as the one in the movie. Not by a long shot. In real life, the DeLorean would have needed a lot longer than that parking lot4 to get to 88 miles per hour! The brainchild of John DeLorean, formerly of General Motors, the DMC-12 was built in Northern Ireland in a plant bankrolled in large part by the British government. John DeLorean, silver tongue that he was, convinced them to fund the venture, one in which they would end up losing millions. The problems with the DMC-12 were legion; it was way too heavy and underpowered, used too many custom-built parts, despite being based on the Lotus Esprit platform, and suffered from a car’s greatest weakness: complicated and unreliable electrical circuits and electronics.
Designed by Giugiaro himself, there’s no arguing that the DeLorean DMC-12 was one fine looking car, with its unpainted stainless-steel body, gull-wing doors and superb wheels. Unfortunately, that’s were it stopped. The DMC-12 was as unreliable as they come, and completely under-powered, with only a 2.8-liter, 130 horsepower V6 sources from PVR (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo). I don’t need to remind you, but stainless steel is HEAVY. The car was good for a 110 miles per hour top speed, and a 0-60 time of 10.5 seconds, figures that did not jive with the DeLorean’s sporty appearance.
The end came swiftly for the company, as it closed in 1982 with about 9,000 cars built. John DeLorean himself was arrested for smuggling cocaine, and although he was eventually cleared, no one wanted to touch him with a 10-foot pole. In retrospect, maybe they should have put a real engine in the DeLorean DMC-12 and it might have gone better.