The reputation of John DeLorean’s famous sports car, the Delorean DMC-12 (colloquially referred to as “The DeLorean” in much of popular culture) was rescued from pop-infamy and elevated into iconic stature by its use as Doc Brown’s time machine in the Back to The Future movies. But it came too late to actually help The DeLorean Motor Company – which had collapsed under delayed production schedules, a weak public reception of their flagship car and John DeLorean’s arrest for drug-trafficking in 1982 (he was found not guilty). While a retooled incarnation of the company has been refurbishing original DMC-12s for auto collectors and movie buffs for years, they had been legally prohibited from manufacturing new ones.
Until now. Current DeLorean CEO Stephen Wynne has announced that the company has been cleared to begin producing new replica DMC-12s in their Humble, Texas factory.
John DeLorean had been a legendary car designer at Packard, General Motors, Chevrolet and Pontiac before striking out to start his own company in 1973. Unfortunately, a series of production delays, design issues and a troubled U.S. automobile market ultimately led to the company’s first (and only) product not arriving until a decade later; where mixed reviews and a struggling consumer economy led to poor sales and the ultimate failure of the company. Despite this, many collectors praised the DMC-12 for its unique design; including the now-iconic gull-wing doors that made the car a staple of early-1980s pop-culture despite few people actually ever purchasing (or driving) one.
Though its use as the (heavily modified) basis for Doc Brown’s time machine in the Back to The Future movies was intended at the time as a note of parody – a mad scientist’s super-advanced creation built on the chassis of a recently-infamous industrial failure – the popularity of the film’s likely rescued the DMC-12 from total oblivion. Since the release of the films, the remaining original DeLoreans have been a hot-ticket item not only for classic car aficionados but for fans of the movies looking the construct their own replicas of the time machine; examples of which have become ubiquitous at fan conventions, car shows and parades across the United States and beyond. For a time, this has also been the main source of profit for the “new” (as of 1987) DeLorean company, which has only been able to sell refurbished original models until this new policy change.
Operating under a green light from a low volume manufacturing bill approved by the U.S. Government, Wynne estimates that about 300 new replicas of the car adhering to its original 1982 design can be produced with the materials currently on hand. The goal is to get the first new car completed by 2017, with further hopes to produced as many as one a month to one a week after that. While the new cars will resemble the original overall, Wynne has not ruled out the possibility of “tweaking” some aspects of the internal design. They are also expected to retail for substantially more than the refurbished models: While an original 1982 DMC-12 routinely retails for $45,000 to $55,000, the new replicas are currently aiming for a $100,000 price tag.
New owners will, presumably, have to supply their own Flux Capacitor and/or Mr. Fusion components.