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A Reborn DeLorean Motor Company Might Find Success as a New Performance Electric Car Brand

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【Summary】The timing seems right for DeLorean to be reborn as a performance-electric car company, with an air of mystery surrounding it. On Monday, the reborn Delorean Motor Company shared the first glimpse of its car, sharing a teaser photo of the back of a sleek electric car that was inspired by the original DMC-12 launched in 1981.

Eric Walz    Apr 05, 2022 12:40 PM PT
A Reborn DeLorean Motor Company Might Find Success as a New Performance Electric Car Brand
The reborn DeLorean Motor Company releases this teaser image of its EV inspired by the original DMC-12 from 1981.

The DeLorean Motor Company has an interesting history. It was founded by former General Motors car designer John DeLorean in 1973, who was responsible for designing some of the most iconic GM muscle cars of the 1960's, including the Pontiac GTO, Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix.  

DeLorean Motor Company delivered its first and only vehicle in January 1981, the stainless steel bodied DeLorean (DMC-12), complete with gull wing doors. These unique doors would appear again decades later in the Tesla Model X SUV.

In a way, company founder John DeLorean was a lot like Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk. With big ambitions, he was the youngest division head (Pontiac) in General Motors history, but left the automaker to start the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC). Against all odds, DMC set out to take on the big three U.S. automakers, Ford, GM and Chrysler with its uniquely designed car.

Although DeLorean's first vehicle was built with parts sourced from other suppliers, the futuristic look of the car made it widely recognizable. It also made its creator and company namesake John DeLorean world famous for his jet-setting lifestyle.

But the DeLorean story was short-lived. Problems with the cars were many, including the lack of power and refinement. In addition, the DMC-12 failed to generate enough interest from buyers. At the same time, the automaker's money troubles were mounting. 

But things went downhill after founder John DeLorean was caught up in a bizarre FBI sting operation and arrested for trying to sell 200 lbs of cocaine to undercover agents. Although Mr DeLorean was eventually found not guilty of drug trafficking, the company soon failed like many automotive startups before it, blowing through roughly $175 million in development costs along the way.  

DeLorean as a company was officially defunct by Oct 1982, less than a decade after its founding. The high-profile trial and legal fees bankrupted Mr DeLorean. He was forced to sell his spwarling 434-acre estate in Bedminster, NJ in 2000, which former President Donald Trump eventually bought and converted into a golf course.

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The Original DeLorean was launched in Jan 1981.

DeLorean Finds Itself a Part of Pop Culture

Although the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) largely disappeared, The brushed stainless steel-bodied DeLorean DMC-12 would eventually find itself a part of pop culture after it was featured in the 1985 Hollywood blockbuster "Back to the Future". The DMC-12 played a significant role in the film, as it was famously converted into a time machine to whisk starring actor Micheal J Fox back to 1955 one it reached 88 mph.

The success of Back to the Future led to a renewed interest in the story of the DeLorean Motor Company. 

A decade later in 1995, a new DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was established in Humble, Texas.

It was formed by Liverpool-born mechanic Stephen Wynne as a separate company using the "DeLorean Motor Company" name. Shortly afterwards, the new company acquired the defunct company's remaining parts inventory, as well as securing the original trademarked DMC logo featured prominently on the front grill of the DMC-12.

It is important to note that the Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company (DMC Texas) is not associated with the original company. But over the years, DMC Texas found a niche market servicing and restoring the few remaining DeLoreans DMC-12's that are out there. The company supports owners of original DeLoreans through sales, service and restoration services using new stock, OEM and aftermarket replacement parts for the DMC-12. 

Production of the DMC-12 ended in Dec 1982 after a 9,000 vehicle run and there are an estimated 6,500 vehicles still in owners hands.

The story of the original DeLorean Motor Company found renewed interest again after the 2019 American documentary film "Framing John DeLorean '' starring actor Alec Baldwin. Then a popular Netflix series followed in 2021 called "Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean", which also helped bring renewed interest in the story.

Now the timing seems right for DeLorean to be reborn as a performance-electric car company, with an air of mystery surrounding it.

A newly formed company has registered the name "DeLorean Motors Reimagined LLC" and its headquarters are listed in a nondescript building in Houston, TX next to a library.  

On Monday, the reborn Delorean Motor Company shared the first glimpse of its electric car, sharing a teaser photo of the back of a sleek car that was inspired by the original DMC-12 over 40 years ago. 

The concept car is slated to premiere Thursday, August 18 at the prestigious Awards Ramp at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California.

Details about the rebirth of DeLorean Motors are still unclear, including how many vehicles its plans to build. It's also not clear if any high-profile investors are backing the new venture. 

But with renewed interest in performance fully-electric vehicles like the Lucid Air, Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S Plaid, the new DeLorean may finally find success in the niche electric vehicle segment if it can successfully launch an electric sports car under the storied DeLorean nameplate.

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