Automaker John DeLorean Dead At 80

RBMaraman

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Jul 25, 2002
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Louisville, KY
John DeLorean, developer of a futuristic sportscar that captured the country's attention in the 1980s, has died. He was 80.

DeLorean died Saturday at the Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey, from complications from a stroke, said Paul Connell, owner of Desmond and Sons funeral home in Michigan.

DeLorean's stainless-steel, gull-winged car, which bore his name, became more engrained in American culture after director Robert Zemeckis used a DeLorean as a time machine in the 1985 film "Back to the Future" and its two sequels.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/03/20/obit.delorean/index.html
 

sushi

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Jul 19, 2002
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RBMaraman said:
John DeLorean, developer of a futuristic sportscar that captured the country's attention in the 1980s, has died. He was 80.

DeLorean died Saturday at the Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey, from complications from a stroke, said Paul Connell, owner of Desmond and Sons funeral home in Michigan.

DeLorean's stainless-steel, gull-winged car, which bore his name, became more engrained in American culture after director Robert Zemeckis used a DeLorean as a time machine in the 1985 film "Back to the Future" and its two sequels.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/03/20/obit.delorean/index.html
Very intersting car. Fun to drive. Very expensive when they were introduced.

Later, the cost was more reasonable. You could even get them in solid enamel colors (Red, Black, Blue) in some places.

Of course the use of his car in the movie Back to the Future got him a lot of exposure.

He was a bit of a maverick at the time. Bucking the traditional car manufacturing mentality and status quo.

May he rest in peace...

Sushi
 

combatcolin

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Oct 24, 2004
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Fantastic styling but the build quality was dreadful and he only built the car in N Ireland because the UK goverment wanted to create jobs, any jobs, in Belfast.

Ireland told him to naff off as they wern't intrested and he's been wanted by the fraud Squad in the UK since the late 80's - if he came back to the UK he would have been arrested.

But, amazing car! If only someone remade it, keep the style but used 2005 standard parts and built it properly - would fly off forecourts!!
 

wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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My prayers go out to his family and friends. Thank you John DeLorean for your invention. May you now rest in peace. :(
 

RBMaraman

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Jul 25, 2002
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Louisville, KY
Lacero said:
Yes. Wasn't he part of some FBI sting operation?
Yes. He was arrested for trafficking cocaine, but the charges were dropped because the judge ruled it was a case of entrapment.

The DeLorean was one of the most interesting cars ever built. Mr. DeLorean was working on a new generation vehicle. Maybe someday it will see the light of day.
 

hob

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Oct 4, 2003
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RBMaraman said:
The DeLorean was one of the most interesting cars ever built. Mr. DeLorean was working on a new generation vehicle. Maybe someday it will see the light of day.
Any further info on that?

I wanted a DeLorean since the first time i saw Back to the Future in the mid-90's.

Even more so when I realised it was a real car!

R.I.P JDL
 

sirius1722

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Dec 30, 2004
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Seattle-area, WA
I was obsessed about that car ever since I first saw Back to the Future when I was a kid. Still am too. From what I've heard from other DeLorean enthusiasts who have had the pleasure of meeting him when he came to meets, he was a pretty nice guy. Rest in Peace... :(


(Guess I'll just have to settle with this for now:)

 

bentley

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Mar 20, 2005
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they look so cool
until you get one, realise it's made of brushed steel
which is unique
so people want to touch it
and then they touch it
and you're left with fingerprints all over your car

(i know people who've owned them)
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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sushi said:
Very intersting car. Fun to drive. Very expensive when they were introduced.

Later, the cost was more reasonable. You could even get them in solid enamel colors (Red, Black, Blue) in some places.

Of course the use of his car in the movie Back to the Future got him a lot of exposure.

He was a bit of a maverick at the time. Bucking the traditional car manufacturing mentality and status quo.

May he rest in peace...

Sushi
It got him exposure, but not much else. The factory was closed and DMC was bankrupt by the time "Back to the Future" was even filmed. I always thought it was part of the joke that Doc Brown would make a time machine out of it, like he wasn't up on current events at the time.
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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bentley said:
they look so cool
until you get one, realise it's made of brushed steel
which is unique
so people want to touch it
and then they touch it
and you're left with fingerprints all over your car

(i know people who've owned them)
Supposedly you had to use a certain kind of scrub brush just to clean the body panels. The texture of the brushed steel was such that water and soap couldn't clean it completely.

And then there's the little pneumatic brace that was supposed to hold up the entire gull-wing door, electronics breaking everywhere, and a retail price substantially higher than a Corvette at the time.

You can go on and on about what went wrong with the DeLorean. :rolleyes:
 

Hemingray

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Jan 9, 2002
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Ha ha haaa!
aloofman said:
And then there's the little pneumatic brace that was supposed to hold up the entire gull-wing door, electronics breaking everywhere, and a retail price substantially higher than a Corvette at the time.

You can go on and on about what went wrong with the DeLorean. :rolleyes:
And the darn flux capacitor was just plagued with problems! :p

Forgive me for this thought, but as soon as I heard this I imagined a casket with a gull-wing lid. :::runs and hides:::
 

aloofman

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bousozoku said:
What about all the time he spent at Pontiac...the GTO, the Grand Prix, the Firebird?
The obit I read today spent a good deal of time on that. He also was pushing GM (in vain) to build smaller cars in the early 1970s. It's pretty clear in hindsight that he was just too much of an iconoclast and egomaniac to stay at GM, regardless of his accomplishments there.

I suspect that no one knows better than he does that his legacy is seriously tainted by the DMC fiasco.
 

vixapphire

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Jul 22, 2002
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bousozoku said:
What about all the time he spent at Pontiac...the GTO, the Grand Prix, the Firebird?
I was going to say the same thing! John Z. DeLorean is a megawatt legend of the U.S. automotive industry; the products he was responsible for over at GM were definitely "Golden Age" material for that division.

Back in '87, a classmate of mine took his date to the high school senior Prom in his dad's black DeLorean. It looked pretty cool, but as pancake-flat cars go, I'd take an 80's-era Aston Martin Lagonda 4-door over the DMC anytime...

vic
 

thequicksilver

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Sep 19, 2004
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I was saddened to hear this news earlier today. DeLorean was by no means perfect, and the issues he had with Thatcher's government were a little messy, but he was one of the few characters left.

The DMC-12 was, and still is a classic - if ultimately flawed - design in the automotive world. As far as I'm concerned, it's only behind such icons as the Beetle and Mini (I may have missed some glaring ones out here, so no flames please) in terms of recognition factor.

I think one thing which would sum him up is this - how many other car designers have been as well known as DeLorean? I think most would know that Ferdinand Porsche designed the original Volkswagen (aka Beetle), but how many others? Even over twenty years on, his name is well known by millions, and will - for right or for wrong - be remembered for a long time to come.

RIP.
 

thequicksilver

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Sep 19, 2004
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aloofman said:
…and a retail price substantially higher than a Corvette at the time.
This wasn't directly DMC's fault. The grants he got from the British government for the Northern Irish factory were received when the US$ was at a rate of approximately $1.40 per £. By the time of release, the rate was $2.40 per £. This forced DMC to substantially raise the asking price, which was originally going to be $12,000.

This is where the 12 in DMC-12 (the model number) came from - it was going to be the $12,000 sports car.
 

joepunk

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Aug 5, 2004
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aloofman said:
...I always thought it was part of the joke that Doc Brown would make a time machine out of it, like he wasn't up on current events at the time.
I my understanding it was a joke. When I first saw the movie I did not get it at the time but after a few years and actually read somethings about the car I finally under stood it as being a joke about a car that flopped yet Doc Brown thought it was stylish enough to use it as a time machine.

His name will be remembered by many because of the movie not of the car. Unless we are talking about car enthusiasts. The average young person today, I bet, would not be-able to connect the car with the designer.

Anyway, I did not even know that he was still living until now. Sad that he died of complications from a stroke.
 

aloofman

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Dec 17, 2002
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thequicksilver said:
This wasn't directly DMC's fault. The grants he got from the British government for the Northern Irish factory were received when the US$ was at a rate of approximately $1.40 per £. By the time of release, the rate was $2.40 per £. This forced DMC to substantially raise the asking price, which was originally going to be $12,000.

This is where the 12 in DMC-12 (the model number) came from - it was going to be the $12,000 sports car.
I'm not saying that was anyone's fault, just that it was a factor in the car's lack of success. (That might be the only issue that wasn't DMC's fault.) The DeLorean made no bones about competing with the Corvette, so the price difference became a deterrent. Not that the Corvettes of the time were known for their build quality, but at least it was a known entity by a maker that had been around for decades. One reason why it's so hard to get a new car company off the ground is that there's no brand loyalty at the start, so when your first car is full of problems, word of mouth works against you.

I kind of wish it had worked out, to be honest. The DMC-12 was pretty unique at the time and it's neat to think about what later models might have been like.
 

combatcolin

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Oct 24, 2004
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The De Lorean was made in Belfast, which had a bucket load of skilled boat and ship manpower who knew sweet $*~( all about cars...

I think De Lorean wanted a sports car for the people to succed so much it perverted his charecter and led to the embellezment of UK Tax payers money and the US drug sting.

They could still re-release it, if they ironed out the problems and sell it for £15,000 and it would sell.

Retro for the people!
 

vixapphire

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Jul 22, 2002
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combatcolin said:
They could still re-release it, if they ironed out the problems and sell it for £15,000 and it would sell.

Retro for the people!

someone could market a kit-car version, like all those phony cobras that are out there. then again, it wasn't a convertable, so no one would bite. and who wants a kit car imitation of a car more renowned for its "all hat and no cattle" good looks but crap reliability anyway, right?
 

combatcolin

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Oct 24, 2004
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De Loreans go for a fortune these days, no one wants to sell after coughing up £££ to keep it on the road.

The rarity also helps, there are a shed load of very expensive cars in London and the rich south east, but how many De Loreans do you see?
 

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