Tuesday, June 16, 2009

DeLorean

I don't like DeLoreans.

I remember being young and reading that John Z. DeLorean was going to start his own car company. The same John Z. DeLorean who was instrumental in creating the Pontiac GTO. The same John Z. DeLorean who took on his former employer, GM, in his book "On A Clear Day You Can See General Motors". I knew this was going to be a great car and a great company. JZD was one of my heroes, how could he screw it up?

We all know how he screwed it up. A mediocre over priced car, shady finances and a pile of coke. He screwed it up in ways no one dreamed of.

I won't go into all of that. You can google DeLorean and read all the gory details if you don't know them.

I guess, though, if I look at the car objectively it's not all that bad. Certainly it's no worse than some of the other cars I've written about here.

The Giugiaro designed body is nice looking. The PRV V6 engine, while no rocket, is durable and moves the car to 60 MPH in the 10 second range. With its 35/65 front-to-rear weight distribution it was prone to serious oversteer, but it rode well and, if not pushed too hard, it provided entertaining handling. The interior was well appointed and comfortable. Although initial fit and finish left something to be desired, the car was generally well put together. Of the 9000 or so DeLoreans built, it's estimated that 6500 still exist.

In my opinion the unpainted stainless steel body was a bad idea. Besides making all DeLoreans look alike, they were prone to stains and were not as easy to clean as a regular painted car. The gullwing doors, which I assume were used to remind us of the legendary Mercedes 300SL, were expensive to manufacture and not always reliable. To me the gullwing doors were reminiscent of the Bricklin, another failed independent auto venture.

Imagine the DeLorean in red, black, BRG, or any color besides gray. Imagine if it was 2 seconds quicker. Imagine if it handled just a bit better. Imagine if instead of gullwing doors and stainless steel the car was $5000.00 cheaper when new. Imagine a new brand of car from an auto industry maverick that could give a Porsche a run for its money. That's what I imagined the DeLorean to be when I first heard about it.

I don't like DeLoreans because they were such a disappointment to me. I expected so much more.

The car being offered on eBay is unique in that it has just 4000 miles on it. It has never been titled or registered. It's a well preserved piece of automotive history. Driving it would be like going back in time. (You knew I had to get one Back To The Future reference in here somewhere, right?) Click here to see the listing.

The DeLorean Motor Company (not affiliated with the original DeLorean company) is the "largest source for new, original and reproduction DeLorean parts in the world." They have 6 facilities and, along with parts and service, offer "certified" pre-owned DeLoreans and "newly built DeLoreans". Click here to see the website for their Texas location. (You can link to the sites of their other locations from there.)

3 comments:

Richard said...

Just this weekend I watched Back to the Future which then inspired me to look at some DeLorean's. To be fair, as a first run production car it wasn't all that bad. What I found interesting that that in early 2000 these were going for $18k to $21k and now are listing for $28k to $30k. I'd guess they might top out at $50-$60k odd when my generation gets to the stage of having a disposable income. A pretty solid investment imho.

hoov23 said...

Interesting price observation, Richard. I bought an 81 DeLorean with 6k miles back in 2000. It was my first car (age 15) and I saw it for sale on the side of the road. Talked to the owner, seemed like a steal. Car was in great shape, and I estimated its value at the time around 25-28k in that condition. Took me about half a year to sell it (my dad and I probably put less than 100 miles on the car) and got $18,500, which was still a nice profit. I knew the car was worth more if I could just stick it out, but the timing just wasn't right. Since then I've bought and sold a lot of cars, but I've never had the option to hang on to one for years and watch its value climb, or hold out for the right buyer. This is the time to do that, a lot of great collectible cars are out there for excellent prices that are sure to go way up over the next decade from their lows right now. You can find cars that were trading a few years ago at twice their current values, and they're sure to go back up again once mainstream demand resumes for collector cars. Click my username if you want to see pics of my old DeLorean.

Richard said...

Hoov23, that's one very nice DMC-12! I would find it very hard to let that one go!! I agree, there are a lot of good deals to be had, I feel a lot of 70's and 80's motors are a safe place to put your money in. Japanese stuff especially, how many good condition, low millage early MR2's or RX7's kicking around? Not many. Supra's, Celica's and 240SX's are run into the ground or modified, leaving very few original ones left on the market.

I purchased a new VW GTI for the wife, and thought it would be nice to have a nice old, original MK1 GTI in the garage to accompany it. For months I searched all over California and I could not find one single, original Mk1 GTI worth buying, everything was sub $1000 and had starship miles. Give it five to ten more years these cars will be in demand,cheap to run, fun to drive.

I think it pays to keep your eyes open, Craigslist being a favorite of mine, you never know when you will stumble across some low millage, one elderly owner car that is worth the minimal outlay for investment!