By on January 28, 2016

delorean-erstbesitz-mr-delorean-baujahr-1982-1

For the “Back To The Future” fan keen on winning the parking lot at the next confab, DeLorean announced this week that it’ll make “new” cars again in Texas.

Thanks to a change in the small volume manufacturing law, DeLorean Motor Company said it could build around 300 new cars from parts it purchased when the original DeLorean went under.

The Texas outfit said they’ll bin the puny Renault-Volvo V-6 that made 130 horsepower in favor of a crate engine sourced from somewhere that’ll make 300 to 400 horsepower. Electronics, brakes and other drivetrain goodies will be similarly updated on the car, according to Jalopnik.

While this is all very exciting for DeLorean and BTTF fans, the law’s reach is fairly limited — only “replicas” of cars 25 years old or older can qualify for the small volume manufacturing exemption. And only crate engines installed to manufacturers’ specifications will be allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

For the best of 1980s moviemaking and the worst of 1980s Irish car building, you’ll pay $80,000 to $100,000 for a shining example.

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54 Comments on “DeLorean is Coming Back – Not from The Future, But from Texas...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    Wait. So they have that many parts, and have had them how long???

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I read that they have enough parts to build about 300 cars. One of the limiting factors is probably the (stainless) sheetmetal body panels because the dies no longer exist to stamp more.

      Up to this point, the company has been in the business of restoring existing DeLoreans. They own the remaining parts inventory of NOS parts from the original DeLorean company. Where practical to do so, they have also had new replacement parts manufactured.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        I think fenders for one side were out of supply but as you noted they were also having new pieces produced. I want to say that I heard somewhere that the tooling still exists to put many of the parts back into production.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        The dies still exist, you just have to do a little diving to get them.

        http://www.dmcnews.com/Resource/bodydies/bodydies.html

        • 0 avatar
          notapreppie

          I have to expect that with modern 3D scanning and 3D printing, making up new dies wouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.

          Shoot, you could use DMLS to print up positive molds to build the negative dies.

          Of course, I know nothing about this kind of manufacturing so maybe I’m wrong.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m pretty sure body panels are usually made with a big press and a big die. The expensive part isn’t getting the dimensions of the part, the expensive part is making the stamping die itself and the hella big press.

            It’s a classic economy-of-scale operation: you need $even figures to make the first door, but you can make 100,000 doors for the cost of materials after that.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      I had an interview with Big Lots a few years back – while researching the company in preparation, I read that they purchased all the parts when DeLorean went belly up. Apparently they held them in a warehouse and sold them at a profit to that outfit in Texas years later. Can’t remember the source and can’t verify the accuracy. Certainly another odd twist on the journey these parts have made.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    A “new” car built with decades old parts? No thanks. You gotta be kidding!

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Haha. I was just coming back to say the exact same thing. I’m curious as to what 30 year old parts are being used, and what will be new.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      They are stainless steel body panels, they could be 100 years old and it wouldn’t make a difference. With a new engine, brakes and gear box the car might actually live up to its looks. Because the original was dreadfully under powered, a Civic from the late 90s could out run it.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I doubt you have to worry about these new cars being assembled with 30+ year old wiring harnesses, rubber seals and such. This is the go-to company for ground-up DeLorean restorations, so they ought to know what they’re doing. These new cars will probably be built better than the originals.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I bet the only parts which get used will be body panels/overall assembly, perhaps bumpers, grilles, and some interior bits.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Googling confirmed my conviction that nobody could enter that pancake of a car without gull-wing doors.

    So I want gull-wings on any vehicle with a roof height under, say, 60″.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I just don’t see the car as presenting enough value at the price point that is being suggested to sell in any sort of volume. To my eye it was never particularly pretty and it struggled to even be attractive to behold. Sure in the absence of anything more interesting than a base model Taurus it may shine well, as brightly as a scotch-brite finish will allow. Put it next to a Piazza or a Scirocco and I’d be looking elsewhere for my wedge fix.

    I believe that the car was only ever interesting because of the film and the odd inconsistent appearance that comes with having partly stainless steel body, partly because the nose and bumper are not stainless so it looks eh, not quite right.

    I can not see this thing selling on anything other than looks. Adding more power than the PRV afforded will simply make it slightly less of a laughable anachronism on the road today. In most ways this car is not relevant to current production cars. I think a modern hot hatch would deliver better performance in most if not all metrics, plus in a crash you would probably have much better chances of survival.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Any sort of volume? You read the part about them only being able to make 300 of them, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      I feel the opposite about the film connection: it’s a liability. Otherwise, the DeLorean is a hugely interesting, if failed, car venture. I’ve always felt that the design is a bit nose-high, thanks to the fixed headlights, but otherwise is a very good looking car; these do look really good in person. Given the period, they should sloped the nose, and gone for something a few steps closer to the Esprit, with pop up headlights.

      All that said – a very interesting car that is plagued by the connection to the film. Otherwise it would probably be a bit like the Saab Sonnet or Opel GT – a cool curiosity with a loyal following.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m pretty sure that DeLoreans have more collector demand than Opel GTs, though you can make an argument about the supply side of the equation.

        The Delorean is a fascinating failure: neat body, exotic doors, but otherwise indifferent as a car, and not a commercial success.

        Even before the movie came out it was a cool curiosity, which is why it was in the movie. But that film made it a dream car for kids my age.

        Or to put it another way, I’d pick a DMC over the Opel or the Saab for my Lenogarage in a second. A 300 hp restomod Delorean? Even more so.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Will they be using Chinese steel? If so, it will come apart in a few years and rust out as well.

  • avatar

    Make a Delorean out of a P90DL coupe and give it Model X gull wing doors.

    Everything I say makes 100% sense.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    The front end reminds me of a baby croc snout but the ground clearance is nice.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “only “replicas” of cars 25 years old or older can qualify for the small volume manufacturing exemption.”

    If someone wants to do a replica of a 1989 Cadillac Brougham with an LT1/8A then they can have lots of my money.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …“only “replicas” of cars 25 years old or older can qualify for the small volume manufacturing exemption.”…

      Someone build a Honda CRX replica with ABS and the current gen VTEC engine. Shut up and take my money!

      Or – someone build a replica Fiero (1988 chassis) with the GM LS4 behind the rear seats. Also – SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    There is nothing like a DeLorean, so it would be a tough call for me.

    Used ‘originals’ are going for about $30k, but they’ll have all the problems and out-of-the-box shortcomings of this ancient design.

    The original MSRP of $26k is like $68k today, so in a sense getting a ‘new’ improved one for $80-100k would be worth it to the right buyer.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Dammit, I already couldn’t afford a $40k Delorean.

  • avatar
    wmba

    From a C/D comparison review from Dec 1981:

    “One of the first things De Lorean’s technical leprechauns should address themselves to is his car’s tendency to get very antsy indeed at hyperspeed over bad pavement. Hopping, darting, and corkscrewing motions are not the stuff of confidence (we suspect that a distinct lack of torsional stiffness between the backbone and the body is the problem), especially when the car cuts into one’s outward vision as severely as the De Lorean does.”

    Hey it’s 2016, let’s add another 200 horses to this whip and see how she goes!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “especially when the car cuts into one’s outward vision as severely as the De Lorean does.”

      Visibility is a thing of the past! Party on with another 400bhp!

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      They will be manufacturing new “backbone” chassis (frame) for these cars for sure. It may add weight, but they could stiffen them up to increase torsional rigidity to reduce body flex.

      At one time, there as a shop manufacturing replacement chassis for DeLoreans from stainless steel. I suspect the company in Texas that is manufacturing the “new” DMC-12 was a customer of theirs, because they were offering a replacement stainless chassis under their fully restored DMC-12’s.

      If the “new” DMC-12s have a stainless chassis, then they are definitely improved over the originals.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Assuming the brakes are getting an upgrade, what about other safety systems? Airbags? Crumple zones? This has to be the worst deathtrap you can buy for 6-figures.

    Although it’s certainly cool.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Nope – no air bags – that’s part of the waiver. Modern safety equipment not required.

      I find it ironic (not directed at you personal) that the B&B that laments the weight, cost, and crushing of the fun factor by “nanny equipment mandated by government,” is now lamenting a car being built without said nanny equipment.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Excellent observation.

        I thought I read somewhere if one gets into a collision over 70mph the chances of survival are already near zero in any vehicle due to physics and whatnot. Anyone can feel free to educate me otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          28-Cars-Later, Charqual McMath survived a 63 foot drop off the side of the President George Bush Turnpike onto a concrete parking lot below. The 3 passengers died. The speed limit on the Bush turnpike is 70 mph with actual traffic flowing at >80 mph during my commute to work this morning.

          http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2016/01/3-dead-1-injured-after-vehicle-falls-more-than-60-feet-off-president-george-bush-turnpike.html/

          http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Survivor-of-Bush-Turnpike-Crash-Shares-Her-Story-to-NBC-5-365818471.html

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I was just thinking that the Delorean wasn’t known as a great driving car even when it was seriously underpowered in its original iteration. Now they’re talking about adding 400hp to a car that struggled with 130.

        It would take a pretty brave person to push that kind of car to the limits.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “And only crate engines installed to manufacturers’ specifications will be allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

    So, not tuned? No biggie. I expect the factory to issue product to “factory” type specs which simply gets modified later.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    LSX FTW

    Oh dream of dreams – a LS2 or LS3 powered Delorean with a TR6060 manual. Would run like a feckin’ raped ape.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      These were made with a plastic-composite frame with the SS panels basically “glued” over top. There was a small steel cradle rear sub-frame with held the engine, tranny and rear suspension, but anything over 200bhp would probably twist the car like a pretzel.

      That said, I remember sitting in a Bricklin, and noting that closing the door would crush the top of my head, and I imagine that the DL would be the same.

      • 0 avatar
        BigOldChryslers

        It’s rear engine and RWD. Without a driveshaft running from front to rear, where is the torque coming from that will “twist the car like a pretzel”?

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          Good point – I was just thinking about the general torsional rigidity of the composite frame, and the natural unloading that the front end would experience under hard-throttle conditions – I certainly didn’t phrase it properly.

          • 0 avatar
            BigOldChryslers

            Actually the car is BOF. It has a steel “spine” chassis/frame, much like a Lotus Esprit. The engine cradle is attached to this, as are the front and rear suspension components. The body is fiberglass and made in two pieces which are attached together. Then the exterior stainless body panels are attached. Many of them are glued onto the fiberglass.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Very interesting. I know I would like to see a more in depth technical piece on the DMC 12.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I guess I’ve learned something today – having the flu make me too lazy to skim the Wikipedia article on the DMC-12 – my memory just isn’t as good as it once was.

            So, the front end was plenty stiff enough to maintain suspension geometry when unloaded.

            Thanks for the schoolin’ :-)

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Although the version of the PRV engine that DeLorean used was indeed puny, there were other production variants, some turbocharged, with much higher output. The Renault Alpine A610, also a rear engined car, was sold with both 250 and 280 hp PRV engines.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      This would be a good avenue to explore if you were talking about adding more power to an original DMC-12, but not when building a new car, given the rarity of the parts and the requirement to update the engine to meet 2016 emissions requirements.

      Then you still have to find a suitable transaxle. In both manual and automatic versions, I believe the DMC-12 was the only car sold in the US with that particular transaxle. Given their rarity, it makes sense to adapt a different transaxle to the purpose. Now you’re forced to modify the chassis and make an engine adapter plate either way, so keeping the PRV makes even less sense.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Hmm. GM 3.6 DOHC V6 would be a fine choice. Even though it may be sacrilege to use a GM engine in this car. I wonder if ol’ John would have liked that idea or not.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    From what I have heard from the company there will be a number of engine options. Someone on another site mentioned there would be a 3.7L V6, so that is either Nissan or Ford. The Ford engine is probably cheaper, is in mid-engine vehicles already, and has better support.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    By the by, The Delorean Story documentary from BBC is pretty good, and chronicles the whole affair from inception to his arrest. Well worth a watch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMUXZaROJKM

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I wonder what the VIN will look like…will it reflect DeLorean somehow or just a 17 digit code assigned by the state like they would if you built a ’32 Ford kit.

    I have never found this car compelling but perhaps there is a market for a dribble of new ones. If the guys in TX do restorations anyway and have parts laying around, they could just sit back and build them as ordered, not like it would incur a bunch of new overhead for the company.

    I think it would be interesting to build a fiberglass,or even carbon steel body skin that would accept paint more readily, and could be restyled in some fashion…like adding wheel flares, like the 70s era Pantera. In my opinion the stainless skin was a novelty anyway…

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