When I was growing up in the 1980s, the sight of the gullwing DeLorean sports car just summed up the whole world of possibilities waiting for me...
Finished in stainless steel and as low as a car could go, this set of wheels really was automatic, hydromatic, indeed greased lightin'! Unsurprisingly, the DeLorean regularly features in lists of favourite dream cars. With its gull-wing-style doors, it sets itself apart from other sporty numbers of that time, and really does look the part of a time machine (more on that later).
It was built over 18 months in the early 1980s in Dunmurry, a suburb west of Belfast, Northern Ireland by John DeLorean Motor Company, which has acquired funding from a number of Hollywood celebrities to be able to do this, including Sammy Davis Jnr.. The first prototype was developed in 1976 and production officially began on the car in 1981. It came to epitomise the Thatcher dream. Today, it is still one of the most famous cars in history. Immortalised by the Back To The Future films. In the trilogy, the DeLorean is used as a time machine, built by Dr Emmett "Doc" Brown and now on show at Universal Studios, Hollywood. The car was driven by both Marty (Michael J Fox) and the Doc until they reached 88mph when the flux capacitor was activated and time travel commenced via the flying car. It even sported the licence plate: "OUTATIME".
The car was also made infamous by its namesake, John DeLorean, who turned from dreamer to alleged drug dealer in less than five years. The company went bankrupt in late 1982 after John's arrest on drug trafficking charges, although he was later found not guilty.
In 1995, Texan entrepreneur Stephen Wynne started another company using the DeLorean Motor Company name and went on to acquire the trademark. They now produce remanufactured originals using parts from the original company.
In an interview with James Espey of the new incarnation of the DeLorean Motor Company of Texas, a drawing surfaced showing that the car was potentially to be called Z Tavio. John DeLorean's middle name and his son's first name were both Zachary while Tavio was his father's name and his son's middle name.
On October 18, 2011, it was announced that an all-electric DeLorean model would be available for sale by 2013. It will have a 200 HP motor, accelerate from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds, and have a range of 100 miles between charges. It is expected to sell for $90,000. A press release issued by the DeLorean Motor Company October 14, 2011 states the Electric DeLorean (DMC EV) will sport a 400 volt AC induction liquid cooled electric motor producing 260 hp and 360 lb. ft. of torque providing 0-60 mph acceleration of 4.9 seconds. Wowee!
Few of us would have put someone with white fluffy hair and a lab coat down as a typical DeLorean owner, but Doc Brown (AKA Christopher Lloyd) sure made us want to be him as soon as we clapped eyes on his futuristic car and its famous flux capacitor.
Did you know that nowadays anyone can have their own futuristic experience? Out of the 9,000 DeLoreans thought to have been produced, around 6,500 exist today. The DeLorean is available to hire and has become a hit with grooms as their car of choice to arrive at the church in. You'd better watch the speedo though, as you wouldn't want to disappear into thin air on your big day!