DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12 1980s British sports car

On paper, the DeLorean DMC-12 had a heck of a lot going for it. V6 motor by Peugeot/Renault, chassis by Lotus, bodywork by Giugiaro. It does not get too much better than that, in terms of styling and functionality. But, of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And, sadly, the DeLorean automotive ingredients just did not mix. It did not help that the DMC was rear-engined. For all of its expertise, Lotus struggled to make the car handle. Saying that, in a straight line, things were A-okay. A top speed of 130mph testified to that. Another suspect part of the DMC package was the gull-wing doors. Sure, they looked cool. But, when a car sets you back $25,000 - and this was in the early Eighties - you expect it to be watertight! Deficiencies in the DMC door department meant that was not always so. And, from an emergency services point of view, getting gull-wing doors open - in the event of an accident - could be a problem! All in all, it was not long before the first signs were seen that the DeLorean dream might be about to unravel.

It all started so swimmingly. John Z. DeLorean was a bit of a whizz-kid, during his time at GM. Having conceived the DMC - as a high-impact, big-production supercar - DeLorean sought funding. The UK looked like his best bet. He was strongly encouraged to start up in Northern Ireland. The British government badly needed to boost the region. DeLorean seemed the ideal man to help them do it. They did not stint on the incentives. Grants and loans totalled £80m!

DeLorean's legacy lasted just two years. In 1980, the sky was the limit. By '82, the whole shebang had crashed back down to earth. Financial wrongdoings were alleged. DeLorean was arrested - on drug trafficking charges! He was subsequently cleared. The episode has become the stuff of history ... political, as well as automotive. International sagas do not get much more gripping! If nothing else, John Z. DeLorean had certainly made his mark on the world. As for his car, it had fallen dismally short of expectations. Had things been different, though, the DeLorean DMC-12 might now be considered the classic supercar its creator craved.

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