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Many of us are familiar with the DeLorean DMC-12 car that appeared in the Back to the Future movies. While it doesn’t offer a time-travel function, there’s now a new DeLorean car, but somehow it’s from a different company with the same name. We explain how that can be and why John Z. DeLorean’s daughter is furious about the new DeLorean Alpha5 EV.

A brief history of the two DeLorean Motor Companies

John Z. DeLorean built his automotive career over several decades of working for the Packard Motor Car Company and General Motors, in the Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions, says Forbes. In 1975, he founded his car company, the DeLorean Motor Company, which built about 9,000 DMC-12s in its Northern Ireland factory before filing for bankruptcy in 1982. 

In 1983, a company in Columbus, Ohio, acquired the remaining parts, company records, engineering drawings, and tooling from the closed DeLorean factory in Northern Ireland, according to Classic DMC. Then, in 1985, Stephen Wynne, in partnership with a DeLorean owner, created DeLorean One, a repair location in California and a mail order parts business for DeLorean vehicles.

A second location opened in Houston, Texas, in 1988. When DeLorean One dissolved in 1995, Wynne changed the name of the Houston location to the DeLorean Motor Company. In 1997, the DeLorean Motor Company in Texas acquired the remains of the Columbus, Ohio, company, taking control of its inventory and exclusive distribution rights. The DeLorean Motor Company recently collaborated with Italdesign to design the Alpha5, an electric vehicle, reports The Autopian. This marks a change in direction for the Texas DeLorean Motor Company, making it a new vehicle manufacturer.

Kat DeLorean Seymour’s reaction to the Alpha5

A promotional photo of the new The DeLorean Alpha5 EV
The DeLorean Alpha5 | DeLorean Motor Company

The new DeLorean Alpha5 has gotten a thumbs down from Kat DeLorean Seymour, daughter of John Z. DeLorean. She posted a scathing response on her Instagram, saying, “@deloreanmotorcompany Is not John DeLorean’s Company. DMC is not 40 years old, and not associated with the DeLorean Family, or my father’s ongoing legacy. Please stop lying and stop speaking about John now, he despised you.” The post included a rendering of a car that isn’t the Alpha5 but is a concept designed by Angel Guerra and Allan Portilho for the website DeLorean Legacy. The website is a collaboration between DeLorean fans and the DeLorean family to honor the late John DeLorean and the positive impact he and his cars have had.

While the two DeLorean companies are entirely separate, as DeLorean Seymour pointed out, the DeLorean Motor Company in Texas does hold the rights to the company’s name and trademarks, following a 2014 suit between the company and DeLorean’s widow, Sally. The family was paid a settlement, but the company received the rights. The family does still retain all rights surrounding John Z. DeLorean, the person, who died in 2005.

What we know so far about the DeLorean Alpha5

The DeLorean Alpha5 is a new EV coupe. Designed by Italdesign, the Alpha5 is a design descendant of the DMC-12, says Motor1. The original DMC-12 was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the founder of Italdesign. Like the DMC-12, the Alpha5 has gull-wing doors, but it seats four instead of two. The new car also has a rounder shape than the angular 1980s car.

The DeLorean Alpha5 is estimated to go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.99 seconds, have a top speed of 155 mph, and have a range of more than 300 miles with its 100-kWh battery pack. The Alpha5 is scheduled to premiere at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Award ramp on August 18 and the Concept Lawn on August 21, 2022.

The DeLorean Alpha5 hasn’t reached production yet, so it remains to be seen whether buyers are willing to connect this new EV with the history of John Z. DeLorean and the DMC-12 or if, like his daughter, they reject it entirely.