DeLorean -- an iconic classic car

by tealmermaid

Feel a sudden urge to drive a Delorean? Come ride along to learn about the history of this classic car.

If you have spent far too much time watching the Back to the Future Trilogy solely to catch sight of the DeLorean, you are probably a DeLorean enthusiast.

Do you already own a DeLorean? Or wish you did? How about that tough decision whether to keep it stock or Future-ize it with a Flux Capacitor and Mr Fusion? If you are looking for yet another DeLorean goody to your already-huge collection, look no further. You may find even something you don't already have.

Come ride along with DeLorean's history

After 2 decades of ugly box shaped cars, John DeLorean jazzed up car fans with an incredible new vision. We were with him, so excited and eager, all ready to look and buy, all of us who missed the wonderful cars that had been such an important part of our lives.

His visions inspired us, and he dared to try the new exciting. His plans to gold-plate 100 Deloreans are a prime example of this. John DeLorean touched on what the promise of personal transportation could and should be, the promise we have all waited for, but after the treatment he received, despaired of ever happening in the future.

Delorean headquarters
Delorean headquarters

DeLorean milestones

In 1974 John DeLorean left his position as Pontiac’s chief engineer to found the John Z. DeLorean Company as the first step in developing his own vehicle. By 1976, his prototype DMC12 has been assembled, and with the help of British Government loans, he is able to build a factory in Northern Ireland to manufacture his DeLorean. Production begins in 1981, yet a scant year later over 2000 DeLoreans from the first run remain unsold.

DMC-12 -- current and history

Delorean specs

The DeLorean itself is highly influenced by the design of the Lotus. The chassis is unmistakably based on that of the Lotus with the V6 engine mounted between the chassis arms at the rear. This is balanced by the fuel tank and radiator at the front.

Basic stats

  • Top speed: 125 mph

  • 0-60 mph: 9.6 sec

  • Gas mileage: 16.8 mpg

  • Original price: US$25600


  • Length: 168 inches
  • Width: 78.3 inches
  • Height: 44.9 inches
  • Wheelbase: 94.89 inches
  • Track: 62.6 inches (front), 62.5 inches (rear)
  • Weight: 2840 lbs
Delorean pamphlet cover
Delorean pamphlet cover


Renault five-speed manual (optional automatic transmission)

Body and chassis

Sheet-steel backbone chassis with fiberglass coupe body covered with stainless steel.


  • Type: V6
  • Construction: alloy block and heads
  • Valve gear: two inclined valves per cylinder operated by single chain-driven overhead cam per bank of cylinders
  • Bore and stroke: 3.58 inches x 2.87 inches
  • Displacement: 2849 cc
  • Compression ratio: 8:8:1
  • Induction system: Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection
  • Maximum power: 145 bhp at 5500 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 165 lb-ft at 2750 rpm

Its engine is a V6 developed by Peugeot, all-alloy with a single overhead camshaft for each bank of cylinders. Unfortunately, the engine failed to provide adequate power to back the performance suggested in its sleek appearance.

Running gear

  • Steering: rack-and-pinion
  • Front suspension: double wishbones with coil springs, telescopic shocks, and anti-roll bar
  • Rear suspension: semi-trailing arm, coil springs, and telescopic shocks
  • Brakes: discs all around, 10.5-inch diameter (front), 10-inch diameter (rear)
  • Wheels: ally 6-ich x 14-inch (front), 8-inch x 15-inch (rear)
  • Tires: Goodyear NCT 195/60HR14 (front), 235/60HR15 (rear)

Special features

  • Small opening electric windows are set in the doors.
  • Low power and low weight means that the rear-mounted engine doesn’t cause poor handling.
  • Leather seats (standard)
  • Air-conditioning (standard)
  • Gullwing doors (standard)

Delorean owners clubs and associations

  • Delorean owners: The oldest and largest international Association for DeLorean owners and enthusiasts all over the world.
  • DMC forum: An open forum dedicated to the discussion and debate about our beloved sports car the DeLorean.
  • Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club: The Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club is one of the oldest and most established DeLorean club in the country and world. Keeping the DeLorean running and constantly in the public's eye is one of the prime directives of the club.
  • Ohio Deloreans: The DCO was formed August 8, 1997 to give DeLorean enthusiasts in the Ohio Valley and Lake Erie region an organization in which to interact and socialize.
  • Midwest Deloreans: Midwest US Delorean club.
  • Florida Deloreans: The De Lorean DMC-12 is a sports car which was manufactured by the De Lorean Motor Company from 1981 through 1983.
  • UK Deloreans: The Official DeLorean Club UK Site - FREE club and forum helping UK and European DeLorean owners, club members and enthusiasts since 1885! - home of the De Lorean EuroTec event in the UK.
Iconic gullwing doors
Iconic gullwing doors

Delorean owner sites

Delorean restoration

Looking to restore your DeLorean?

Some may be lucky enough to find a mint-condition, garage-kept vintage DeLorean. Most of us are not so lucky however. Probably the most challenging thing about owning a vintage DeLorean is restoring it. Parts are difficult to find and can be expensive.

Keep this firmly in mind when DeLorean shopping, and buy the best one you can afford. It may cost more up front, but the time and money saved by not buying parts for restoration makes it worthwhile.

Where to find vintage DeLorean parts?

Anywhere you can. Try all the auto shops in your area, search on Craigslist, or ask all the classic car collectors you know. You might be lucky enough to find someone's secret stash of parts.

Also, I highly recommend acquiring the manuals for your vehicle. There will be a parts list inside which can be very helpful when figuring out which part just broke.

But what about the doors?

Ah yes, the iconic Gullwing doors. If your DeLorean is in particularly bad shape (or you just want to make your existing car similar to a DeLorean), you need replace the iconic Gullwing Doors. They define what makes the DeLorean cool and causes it to stand head and shoulders above the automotive crowd.

Don't try to be cheap and replace the doors with standard doors. It's practically blasphemy.

AutoLoc Power Accessories 128651 Automatic Vertical Gullwing 2 Door Conversion Kit

Make your ride’s doors swing up like a Gullwing Mercedes or a DeLorean! Get ahead of the curve. Lift your doors 180 degrees straight up! These will be the next popular custom mo...

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Delorean collectibles

If it exists, you can probably find a DeLorean on it with a little shopping around. Some popular DeLorean-themed items to collect include Christmas ornaments, die-cast cars, and T-shirts! It is quite easy to find something for yourself or for the DeLorean collector in your life.

The Hot Wheels DeLoreans aren't necessarily the most accurate models, but most DeLorean collectors I know have at least one. They're a nice collectible to start your collection due to their small size and low price point.

We don't need roads
We don't need roads

The films that popularized the DeLorean

The Back to the Future Trilogy brought the DeLorean to the attention of the American public and captured the imagination.

If you love DeLoreans or ever had an urge to make a DeLorean into a time machine and drive it 88 mph, you must see these films! The DeLorean appears in all three films in different incarnations from mostly-stock to Mr. Fusion version to "left in a mine shaft for years". (Spoiler: it is sadly destroyed at the end of the third firm.)

Naturally, these films allowed for a huge amount of DeLorean collectibles to hit the market. You could have an entire collection of BTTF-related DeLorean merchandise!

Back to the Future Trilogy

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy [Blu-ray + Digital Copy]

It's a classic. If you love Deloreans, you must see these films.

View on Amazon

Can't get enough of your DeLorean?

If it's not enough to meddle with your actual car, there are always Delorean-themed craft projects for the craft-minded. I would love to see a project sheet for a Lego Delorean, btw!

Delorean craft ideas

Is your dream Delorean stock or Back to the Future inspired?

Updated: 02/11/2018, tealmermaid
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