One of the most talked about, mimicked and admired vehicles that has ever made its way across the silver screen is the Time Machine from the Back to the Future series. The car that was used to create this machine that allowed Marty McFly and Doc Brown to have their adventures was a DeLorean DMC-12. This car has its own incredible story as does the man who created the car that would eventually make its way into our imaginations over the three movies that featured this sports car as the way to transport the characters through time.
John DeLorean was one of the most successful and the youngest person to ever lead a department at General Motors. At GM, it seemed that everything he touched turned to gold as he helped to make the Bonneville a luxury car, turned the Catalina into a best-seller, helped create the Pontiac Tempest and the GTO which was the first muscle car in America and assisted in the revitalization of Chevrolet. He seemed to be on his way up the market and was featured prominently in a variety of ways as he enjoyed the fast-paced lifestyle and incredible success at GM.
As many automotive execs of the time had done before him, DeLorean chose to break off from GM in order to make a sports car that he considered ethical. The DMC-12 was created with the “12” represented the target price of $12,000 per unit, which was a steep price at the time, but also reflective of what the market would call for. Unfortunately, the rosy life that DeLorean had enjoyed came suddenly crashing down with many oversights that took place and the price that ran up to more than double the original thought.
Out of Bankruptcy and Moving Forward
Many of us are familiar with the fact that DeLorean Motors had to shut down when the British government not only denied a request for a bailout but the FBI arrested DeLorean on drug charges. There were many DMC-12 models left on the lot at the plant in Ireland as the man in charged faced his trial in court, which he eventually was found not guilty on all charges, but not soon enough for the damage to his reputation being done. The car he had dreamed of never completely came to fruition, but it did make its way to movie notoriety.
Today, the DeLorean Motor Company is working on mobility solutions by focusing efforts on small single person aircraft that can fit on the roads and make the move from one place to another easier. There’s also a rumor that we’ll see a resurgence of the DMC-12 to allow us to own this classic car if we want to, giving us a look and a dive into the past to make this the car we continue to admire. The history and the story of John DeLorean, the DMC-12, and the company that continues to work toward the future, make for a story that feels as if it’s stuck in time and is able to give us a look forward and back while remaining in the present.