The DeLorean DMC-12 is a sports car that was originally manufactured in North Ireland for the American market in 1981–1982. It was known simply as the DeLorean, as it was the only model ever produced by the DeLorean company. The DMC-12 featured gull-wing doors with a fiberglass “underbody”, to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels were affixed. A modified version of the car made it an icon for its appearance as a time machine in the Back to the Future film franchise.

Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production stopped in late 1982. Today, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor Cars are believed to still exist. The company and factory stock were acquired privately in 1997 and production of an updated vehicle has begun. The DeLorean private factory is located in Humble, Texas. Dealerships are currently located in Bonita Springs, Florida; Crystal Lake, Illinois; Bellevue, Washington and Garden Grove, California.

John Zachary DeLorean (January 6, 1925 – March 19, 2005) was an American engineer and and founder of the DeLorean Motor Company.

He was most well known for developing the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, and the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, which was later featured in the movie Back to the Future. As if creating this car wasn’t cool enough, DeLorean faced a high profile 1982 arrest on charges of drug trafficking. The drug trafficking was an apparent attempt to raise funds for his struggling company, which declared bankruptcy that same year. He successfully defended himself against the drug trafficking charges, showing that his alleged involvement was a result of entrapment by federal agents.

In the summer of 1982, DeLorean received a phone call from James Hoffman, a former drug smuggler turned FBI informant. He met with Hoffman on July 11, 1982, to discuss an investment opportunity to help save the company. Over the course of the next three months, Hoffman slowly explained his intricate plan involving cocaine smugglers, a bank for laundering money, and the specifics of how much money DeLorean would be required to front to procure the deal. DeLorean went along with these discussions, planning to trade DMC stock for the seed money for any deal that would benefit the company, but leaving the drug-smuggler investors with stock in a company completely controlled by the British government. On October 19, before going to meet the investors to consummate the deal, DeLorean wrote a letter to his attorney and sealed it, with instructions to open it only if he did not return. The letter explained the situation he was in and his fear for his family’s safety if he tried to back out of the deal. On October 19, 1982, DeLorean was charged with trafficking in cocaine by the U.S. government.

DeLorean successfully defended himself, arguing that the FBI had enticed a convicted narcotics smuggler to get him to supply the money to buy the cocaine. His attorney stated in Time Magazine (March 19, 1984), “This [was] a fictitious crime. Without the government, there would be no crime.” The DeLorean defense team did not call any witnesses. DeLorean was found not guilty due to entrapment on August 16, 1984.

The DMC-12 was featured and mentioned in many films and on television, most notably as the time machine designed by Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future Trilogy. Brown’s rationale for choosing the DeLorean was stated in the first film: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” Doc also started to say something about the stainless steel construction being ideal for “flux dispersal”, but he was cut off by the time machine’s arrival. The choice of the DeLorean was actually for the purpose of a gag in the film that occurs when the car arrives in the year 1955 and is mistaken for an alien spacecraft due to its resemblance to the picture on the cover of the farmboy’s comic book, as well as for its gull-wing doors. Six DMC-12s were co-opted for use in the making of the films. The DeLorean time machine has been considered an iconic feature in American film history and American pop culture as a whole. It was that film that prompted the classic Hollywood line said by Marty to Doc. “Doc, are you telling me that you built a time machine…out of a DeLorean????”

Treez Says: The hottest cars in the ’80s could go in any order. Most favorites were Ferraris, Lamborghinis and even Maseratis. I was always into the DeLorean. Maybe it was Back to the Future. Maybe it was the bad publicity I kept seeing John DeLorean getting in the news. Maybe it was just the cool name…DeLorean! But I loved that car and still do. This car will go down in American automobile history as it should. Not only did the the car find its way into the movies, but one of my favorite bands, ’80s throwback electro hop group, HYPER CRUSH, did a whole song on this car!  PRMA