By on March 17, 2016

DeLorean DMC-12

Listen, we don’t want any trouble.

St. Paddy’s Day is a time for all of us — black and white, Irish and American, Catholic and Protestant and all those other religions — to come together and figure out how much green food coloring can be consumed before it has a laxative effect.

But, as we think of the Emerald Isle today, our minds can’t help but be reminded of a famous and totally ballin’ export from the troubled north — the DeLorean DMC-12.

John DeLorean’s fever dream of the ’80s was briefly realized in a factory in a suburb of Belfast, Northern Ireland, after the British government lobbed a mountain of cash in his direction in 1978. Ireland turned down the chance to host production for the DeLorean Motor Company, apparently not sure of their luck.

(Corporate welfare is still a thrilling pastime for governments on both sides of the pond, but in the 1970s Britain would have nationalized a lemonade stand. Actually, it sort of did.)

We can remember the DMC-12 for a lot of things — cost overruns, slow production, a tepid Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6, bankruptcy, its founder’s coke arrest — but instead of that, let’s remember the dream of stainless, gull-winged motoring.

As we raise a glass to both Ireland and the DeLorean, don’t forget that if you can scrounge together enough dough, the dream of the ’80s can stay alive in your driveway.

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34 Comments on “It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, Meaning it’s Also DeLorean DMC-12 Day...”

  • avatar

    “Nationalized a lemonade stand” — good one!

  • avatar

    Kind of the FRS/BRZ of it’s day – a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I love the DeLorean from a distance, but I haven’t had to keep one running.

    There are EV versions on the road; that would interest me, especially if they have the optional flux capacitor.

    • 0 avatar

      I should think it’s like an old Triumph or similar British thing. Replace the engine and wires, and you’ll be okay.

      But that PRV – no no. Engine no here.

      • 0 avatar

        LSX FTW!

        A LSX fits John Z. DeLorean better than a Franco-Swedish V6 anyway…

        • 0 avatar

          I agree. A cool guy with a sad end.

          • 0 avatar

            An aluminum LSX motor probably doesn’t weigh that much more than the V6 anyway, like how the Rover V8 didn’t create much of a weight difference compared to the cast-iron tractor-grade inline 4s fitted to MGBs and the like.

            A 400hp DeLorean would hit 88mph faster than you could say 1.21 jiggawatts!

          • 0 avatar


            The PRV V6 chosen for the deLorean was all-aluminum engine for a reason.

          • 0 avatar

            Ah, I had no idea! I thought it was an aluminum head/iron block engine.

          • 0 avatar


            sigh….GW like MW or KW. Long live MKS units

          • 0 avatar

            “jiggawatts… sigh… GW like MW or KW. Long live MKS units”

            People that say “gigawatts” with the soft “g” leads to people spelling it with a “j”.

            English… geez.

            I mean: jeez.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep this one car that looks way cooler then it is. The stainless steel body and gull wing doors are iconic. However on a list of cars to never drive the DMC-12 must be at the top. Since I don’t think you could ever live down the disappointment of how sluggish they must be. I’m pretty sure you have average late 80s Civic was just as fast. The Delorean is the very definition of all show and no go. Its begging for a V8!

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well, where *is* it, Consuela? Did it go on vacation?

  • avatar

    The SVX did it better. :P

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Delorean, heck a Bricklin did it just as badly. And you can get a Bricklin with just over 16k for $21k. Or one with 51k for$12k.

    And for those who believe in government consipiracies, what the U.S. feds did to Delorean should keep you awake at night.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know much about the story, why did they target him?

      • 0 avatar

        The whole thing was set up by DeLorean’s former neighbor who was convicted of coke trafficking and trying to reduce his sentence by turning informant. He knew John D was hurting for cash so he arranged the deal and then told the FBI that DeLorean approached HIM instead of the other way around. The truth came out in court and DeLorean WAS acquitted of all charges but by then the media had already dragged him through the mud. I’ve met a lot of people who still believe he really was selling coke to finance the factory.

  • avatar

    I guess now is a good time as any.

    Steph, I don’t think we’ve all been introduced to you; I know I haven’t. How did you find yourself here? Where did you come from? Can we read your work elsewhere?

  • avatar

    DeLorean’s original factory was supposed to be in Puerto Rico – I wonder how that would have worked out.

  • avatar
    Steph Willems

    Hey Cameron –
    I’ll take off my cloak of secrecy now – it’s been on for too long. I emerged from the wild and wooly world of the Canadian news media into this hallowed ground, because the news media, well, that’s not where it’s at these days. And this is where my passion lies. I’ve done some odd stuff here and there but my focus is now solely on TTAC.

  • avatar

    Most people don’t realize that the DeLorean was a true rear-engine car, not a mid-engine car. My toy is a ’66 Corvair, so I have a fascination with rear-engine cars, but I must admit, by the 1970s, rear engine cars had a well-known reputation for tricky handling when driven at the limit. This tendency can be mitigated by using wider rear tires and suspension geometry tricks, as proven by hundreds of track wins racked-up over many years by rear-engine Porsches. But I still don’t understand why John DeLorean selected a rear-engine design for the DMC-12, given that he highly criticized GM’s decision to build the rear-engine Corvair in his book, “On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors”. Why not a mid-engine design, like the contemporary Pantera, or a front-engine design? Was it simply to get the engine out of the way to improve interior space without increasing the wheelbase?

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