Automotive history is rife with tales of triumph, intrigue, and scandal. Few are as fascinating and weird, however, as DeLorean. Now, long after it officially filed for bankruptcy, the niche car manufacturer is poised to write the next, unexpected chapter in its bizarre, 40-year timeline. You might say it’s coming back … to the future.
Let’s cut to the chase: The “new” DeLorean DMC-12 will probably be unveiled by fall 2021 — maybe. Exact details are thin, partly because DeLorean is keeping things close to the vest and partly because they have yet to be finalized. What we know is that the 80s-inspired angular design that made the car such a recognizable icon will remain mostly unchanged. Beneath that shell, however, the company is promising a thoroughly updated machine. The DMC-12 will be powered by a 350-horsepower engine, while the ride will be bolstered with modern brakes, suspension, and other creature comforts typical of a legit high-end sports car. (Flux capacitor sold separately.)
After a limited production run of just 9,000 cars between 1981-1982, founder John DeLorean ran into legal trouble, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Except among a small group of rabid DeLorean fans, the company and its flagship product fell into relative obscurity. Thanks to Doctor Emmett Brown and Marty McFly’s legendary 88-miles-per-hour time-travel test, the DMC-12 was resurrected in 1985’s Back to the Future. The forgotten niche sports car became a pop culture icon almost overnight. But, the die had already been cast for the automaker’s future — until now.
Of course, the DeLorean DMC-12 never really went away. Fans and aficionados have been talking about, fawning over, restoring, and organizing group drives of their DMC-12’s for the last few decades. Stephen Wynne has worked on — one might say obsessed over — DeLoreans since 1983 and is considered the world’s foremost expert. In the mid-1990s, he began acquiring all the intellectual property surrounding the DeLorean name, including the trademark, blueprints, specs, and supplier drawings. He went on to gather all the original parts he could find — from the gullwing doors and headlights to the seat belts and floor mats — from the manufacturer. His haul amounted to 85 semi truckloads of materials. Wynne’s mission was to revive the company, no matter what it took. Now, after more than two decades of legal wrangling, his dream looks to be a viable reality.
Not surprisingly, the new DMC-12 will be an extremely limited run of less than 400. Official pricing has yet to be announced, though the company has previously teased a $100,000 base price. DeLorean is currently accepting pre-order applications, and it seems the automaker is giving preference to previous and current DeLorean owners. It’s worth noting, however, that because the full details and features are yet to be finalized, the applications are “non-binding expressions of interest only.” That’s legalese for “we can’t make any promises.”