DeLorean Factory Tour Is A Trip Back In Time

To those who were small children in the 1980s, the DeLorean sports car will likely conjure up feelings of nostalgia and memories of the Back To The Future films, in which the vehicle played a starring role as a time machine. Those who were a bit older during the late 70s and early 80s might remember DeLorean for entirely different and more controversial reasons.

Despite someone’s particular memories of the DeLorean, it is safe to assume that nearly everyone can recognize the car’s place in pop culture. The DeLorean’s iconic gullwing doors and stainless steel body panels make it memorable in the minds of anyone who saw one in photos, film, or in person. Just one glimpse at the Tesla Cybertruck instantly shows that the DeLorean clearly inspired its designer.

The DeLorean Motor Company history

The DeLorean DMC-12 sports car manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company. Pictured at company offices of Metalrax Holdings Limited, Birmingham, 9th April 1981.
DeLorean at Metalrax Holdings 1981 | Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

The original DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was founded in 1975 by John DeLorean, a former General Motors engineer. John worked on classic GM cars like the Pontiac GTO and the Pontiac Firebird. After a successful career at GM, John left the company in 1973 to start DMC. Unfortunately, things did not go well for the former engineer.

John DeLorean and his wife Cristina Ferrare with the famous DeLorean car.
John DeLorean and his wife Cristina Ferrare with the famous DeLorean car. | Tony Korody/Sygma/Sygma/Getty Images

As is the case with most new businesses, there were early problems within DMC. Those problems led to production delays which meant the company was spending more money than it was making. DMC was far off its production goals and soon fell into deep debt. In a desperate effort to save his company, John DeLorean met with an individual who had promised him a large sum of money if he helped traffic drugs. That man was actually an undercover FBI agent, and John was arrested.

Although John was able to defend himself in court successfully, the damage had been done. DMC was shut down in 1982 after only selling approximately 9,000 cars. That would generally be the end of the story, but a few years later, in 1985, Back To The Future was released in theaters. The filmmaker’s choice to capitalize on the infamy of the DeLorean and use it as the featured time machine in the movie cemented the DeLorean in pop culture. It elevated it to “dream car” status for a generation of 80s kids.

The resurrection of DMC

In 1997 a new company called DeLorean Motor Company of Texas acquired all of the remaining DeLorean parts along with exclusive distribution rights and all DMC trademarks, effectively becoming a “new” DMC. However, they will state that they have “no connection to John DeLorean, the DeLorean estate or the original DeLorean Motor Company.”

With all the original parts and the tooling and technical documentation to reproduce new parts, DMC of Texas is poised to bring back the original DeLorean for sale and continue to service existing owners.

As the facility gears up for production, they gave a factory tour to the Petersen Automotive Museum. As you can imagine, there is a lot of history sitting in the new 40,000 square foot facility. There are even original parts bins and racks dating back to the 80s.

One of the most interesting relics in the new factory is the last gullwing door ever produced in the original DMC factory. The inside of the door is signed by the employees that created it in 1982, along with a message stating, “The end of a dream, or is it?”

For some more interesting tidbits, we highly recommend checking out the factory tour video. There are a few more fun facts on the FAQ page of the new DMC website.

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