It's Saint Patrick's Day, Meaning It's Also DeLorean DMC-12 Day

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
it s saint patrick s day meaning it s also delorean dmc 12 day

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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11 of 34 comments
  • Cameron Aubernon Cameron Aubernon on Mar 17, 2016

    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?

  • Shaker Shaker on Mar 18, 2016

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

  • Steph Willems Steph Willems on Mar 18, 2016

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Steph Willems Steph Willems on Mar 18, 2016

      @Cameron Aubernon Great to meet you, too. I promise I won't be a stranger!

  • Redbat01 Redbat01 on Mar 18, 2016

    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?