With its funny looking gull-wing doors, stainless steel exterior and infamous appearance in one of the most popular movie series of all time, the DeLorean demands a second look. But do you know the emotional history behind both the car and the man whose name appears on all of 9,000 DeLoreans ever built?
Growing Bolder got exclusive access to the 2012 DeLorean Car Show and Convention in Orlando, Florida, and got the behind-the-scenes scoop on what has made the car such an enduring hit through history.
John DeLorean started in the auto industry as an engineer and executive for General Motors. But he always had big dreams about building a car that wouldn’t warp, rust or break down easily. He launched the first prototype of his namesake car in 1976 and officially began production five years later. But with only a single year of manufacturing, and just one model, DeLorean Motor Company ended in bankruptcy in 1982. In addition, DeLorean himself faced a trial — in which he was acquitted on a successful defense of entrapment — on charges of drug trafficking and eventually declared personal bankruptcy in 1999.
Despite all of the turmoil, the DeLorean model has become one of the most beloved and sought-after cars for collectors and movie buffs alike. Screenwriter Bob Gale tells Growing Bolder, “The Back to the Future time machine was originally a time chamber that Doc Brown drove around on the back of a pick-up truck. While co-writer Bob Zemeckis and I were writing the script, we decided to build the time machine into a car, and we picked the DeLorean because it’s such a cool looking car.” He goes on to say, with pride in his voice, “I would guess that just about anyone today who has a Delorean either has it because of Back to the Future or didn’t get rid of it because of Back to the Future.”
Because only 9,000 cars were produced — 6,500 of which remain in existence today — the cars draw attention everywhere they go, whether they’re in classic condition or have been souped up.
DeLorean’s daughter Kathryn DeLorean Seymour tells Growing Bolder that her father is proof that when you dream big and pursue your passions, anything is possible. “His life’s work represents daring to dream, because my dad had everything — he made it to the top. He walked away from all of that because he had and idea of how to build a better car company. He walked away from all of that so he could follow his dream.”