History of the delorean car
One investor in the DeLorean auto operation was national television personality Johnny Carson. After taking delivery of his new DeLorean, the car broke down after he drove it a a few miles. A new engine part was rushed to the scene, but that part also soon broke. One can only imagine how unhappy that made Carson, who had put a good chunk of money into the operation. There seemed to be no end to glitches.
The DeLorean DMC had stainless-steel body panels that soon were covered in hard-to-remove fingerprints when parked in public areas. And the doors, which were difficult to close from the inside, opened upward almost purely for dramatic effect to attract buyers. In contrast, the s Mercedes-Benz SL sports car had flip-up doors because its race-car-frame design left no room for conventional ones.
A car collector friend of mine who bought two DeLoreans DMCs for relatively low prices keeps a hammer on the passenger-side floor when he drives one. That's because one day the doors made it impossible to get out of the car and he had to drive to an auto service facility, which helped him escape. After testing one of the first DeLoreans DMCs in America, I wrote for a Chicago newspaper that the car was professionally designed, but criticized its overly stiff ride and average acceleration. I said it was "for jet-setters, high rollers and those with plenty of money who want to be the first in the country club parking lot with it.
To save money, the rear-engine DeLorean had a small, horsepower V-6 used in Volvo, Peugeot and Renault family cars. The mph time was a leisurely 9. It didn't help that the DeLorean DMC was overweight--it had too much luxury equipment for a zoomy sports car at that time. After all, world-championship Lotus knew a thing or two about such things. The body was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who reportedly based its styling on a design exercise he'd done for Porsche.
Success mainly depended on strong U. But sales were only moderately decent here during early DeLorean nevertheless kept trying to sell too many cars in a limited sports car market with a marginal car during a bad economic period.
I don't mean to be a stick-in-the-mud here. Or perhaps I do. That Hollywood mangles fact in favor of making colorful, laugh-a-minute stories is hardly a revelation.
That Americans seem to learn much of what they think of as "history" while watching entertainments, though, makes it hard to commend these efforts. Framing John DeLorean , of course, hews much closer to the facts and makes the point that DeLorean hurt a lot of people, not least his family, but also many in Ireland where he'd built his factory. The filmmakers interview Sherman to illustrate that the car was neither one of history's great sports cars nor particularly well built.
Baldwin's role seems more contrived to build box-office interest than out of any documentary necessity—the "reenactments" in which he appears are lackluster and brief. At least Baldwin's makeup artists do a more credible, if at times caricature-like, job of recreating their subject's appearance than do those who worked on Driven , who seem to figure making lead actor Lee Pace vaguely resemble the real guy is good enough.
Heck, even their title is lazy, inviting confusion with two recent films: a biopic about film critic Pauline Kael and an early thriller about a cabdriver battling evil. If you trip across either of these other movies called Driven, they might make better use of your time. Or maybe I should just loosen up and laugh a little; it's not as if the Back to the Future franchise taught us anything about automotive truth and beauty. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. Buy Now. Aaron Kiley Car and Driver. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below.
More From Features. Enemies of the Autonomous Vehicle. But I always thought John could do it. I'd almost say, only he could do it. In the stylish offices of the DeLorean Motor Company on the 43d and top floor of the Banker's Trust Building on Park Avenue, DeLorean talks about what he thinks was his toughest obstacle — the financing. We just didn't have the money. DeLorean also enticed employees from G. Some executives make fine custodial managers, but John's approach is to create assets.
John DeLorean: The legacy of a controversial car designer
Not surprisingly, the highest number are Chevrolet, Pontiac and Cadillac dealers who had previous experience with DeLorean. Smyly has been in the dealership business since Like most of DeLorean's loyalists, the dealers have been busy, already selling the car without aid of a prototype in their showroom or even any advertising pamphlets. But DeLorean could run a car company from top to bottom. And the fact that the man was personally at risk was impressive. Another problem was finding a place for his assembly plant. For years, Northern Ireland has sought out foreign industry to help boost employment and tranquilize terrorism; west Belfast's unemployment rate has been unofficially reported as 35 percent, and that of Northern Ireland as a whole is about 12 percent, nearly three times the United Kingdom's.
DeLorean has received grants for construction of a ,square-foot factory, plus employee training, and some working capital. By , D. In return, D. Outsiders also look at Belfast and see just another set of eggshells for the DeLorean Motor Company to negotiate along the road to success.
DeLorean, John | Detroit Historical Society
DeLorean admits Belfast's political situation caused him to think carefully about locating. But despite Belfast's political unrest, DeLorean claims its worker-at-. Belfast has supported a shipbuilding industry but its workers have not assembled automobiles.
DeLorean's rosy assessment does not wash with everyone. There are two theories: one, the people there do have some skills; the other is they do not have a work ethic — they've been unemployed for four generations. Training programs have been under way for several months for the Belfast workers, and the company says it will attempt to keep the work force evenly divided between Catholics and Protestants to try to keep the calm. DeLorean knows he and his people must produce a car of high quality any recall for defects could be disastrous — and he flies to Belfast twice a month to monitor assembly operations.
In part as a result of these trips, his work week averages about 80 hours; Sundays, he says, he saves for his wife and two children. John DeLorean was born in Detroit in , the oldest of four sons of a Ford worker. He got his mechanical talent from his father and cultivated it by tinkering with Continued on Page In , he left Chrysler to join the smaller Packard Motor Car Company as an assistant transmission engineer. It was the perfect environment for a young car workaholic. By the time he left the foundering company, he had already become Packard's director of research at Knudsen, DeLorean and Pete Estes turned the division around, with sales jumping from , cars in to.
I don't like your clothes. During that time, in , he became, at 40, the youngest general manager in Pontiac history, and, four years later, the youngest at Chevrolet. At Chevrolet, DeLorean faced an awesome variety of problems. For one thing, his colorful style he was about to marry his second wife, a beautiful year-old socialite and business success had sparked a blaze of publicity and jealousy. I don't like the way you do things. I don't like the way you cut your hair. Eventually, he peeled away needless layers of communication at Chevy and installed a new computer system and strict quality controls.