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DeLorean FAQ

This is a list of all the questions I get asked regularly regarding DeLoreans:

 

Q. Aren’t they made by Ford/GM/Lamborghini?

A. No, they were made by the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), founded by John Z. DeLorean in the mid 70’s. DMC has no relation to GMC.

Q. Isn’t John DeLorean in jail for doing cocaine?

A. No, John DeLorean was never convicted of any drugs related crimes and never served any jail time. The USA were jealous of him setting up is car factory in Ireland instead of Detroit, so the FBI set up a fake drugs bust to discredit his name.

Q. I heard that they were really bad cars

A. DMC were only producing cars for 2 years (the 83′ models were built after DMC was liquidated). So they never really got a chance to work out all the “New Car” bugs. Of course there would have been teething issues with a new factory, ner car model, new way of designing cars and a new company to the market, had DMC had a few more years the car quality would have improved. Also, most of the issues that got the DeLorean its bad name have been fixed on most of the cars since anyway.

Q. But don’t they handle really badly?

A. Yes and no… There are a few issues with the handling of the DeLorean, they did get a bad reputation for “wallowing” around corners, meaning the car would try and spin out at the back. The reason for this is when the car was designed, they designed all the suspension to have a low ride height, however due to a law change in the US, the ride height had to be raised so the handling was very badly affected. Most DeLorean owners have since lowered their cars back to the original design height.

Q. What engine do they have? I heard it was really underpowered

The engine was a “Peugeot, Renault, Volvo” 2.8Litre (2800Cc) V6 engine. John was aware of seriously short deadlines and wanted an engine that would have the least number of teething issues, so he went with the well known and tested PRV-V6. The engine itself however has been known to have its fair share of issues. The cam’s seem to wear early, meaning the car sufferes from a “tick tick tick” noise even when the car is fairly low mileage. There are also fuel supply issues causing starting and idling issues as well as engine fires!

As for the power, the engine itself can output 150 horsepower (110 kW), however due to laws in the US, the engine had to be fitted with a catalytic converter, causing the engine to loose 20HP (15kw) dropping the output to 130HP (95kw)

Q. So what was the top speed then?

The top speed of a factory DeLorean is 130Mph (209Kph), although the speedometers only went up to 85Mph due to laws in the US.

Q. Aren’t they made of aluminum?

A. No, the outer panels are made of stainless steel.

Q. Stainless Steel? doesn’t that make the car heavy?
A. nope! A lot of people get confused when I start telling them how a DeLorean is constructed. A DeLorean is made up of 3 layers; A mild steel frame, a fibreglass “pontoon” and the stainless steel panels. This means the actual “core” of the car is fibreglass, not steel, making the car lighter than you’d expect.

To see all the layers come together, have a look at my youtube video here.

Q. I saw a DeLorean once and the doors didn’t look good, they kept “falling down” and I banged my head on them.

A. This is a maintenence issue, not a design fault! The gull-wing doors use 2 systems to open and close. they have a cryogenic twisted torsion bar and a gas strut per door. The gas struts serve to hold the door open as well as to slow the door down so it doesn’t fly open and damage anything. Over time the gas struts wear out, causing the door to “droop”. This is one of the easiest things to fix on a DeLorean. You can replace the struts yourself in around half an hour.

Q. But the doors mean you can’t park too close to another car!
A. I’m not sure why people keep thinking this! The doors go straight up, not out then up, meaning you only need 11″ of clearance to open the door.. most cars need a minimum of 14″ Have a look at this video to see what I mean.

Q. How much do they cost, and where can I get one?

A. Have a look at my Importation and Price guide.

Q. Can you get them in any other colour than stainless steel?

A. No. Anyone who says they have a “factory painted” DeLorean is a liar. No DeLoreans left the factory painted. some were painted by dealers before they were sold though. In general painted DeLoreans are worth far less than non-painted ones as they are not original and may have body damage. When a DeLorean gets a bad dent in a panel, its hard to find a panelbeater who will panelbeat stainless steel and new panels are very expensive. Sometimes people would just use standard automotive “bog” and then paint the entire car. This can damage the panels however and paint removal can be a huge mission as you have to “re-grain” the steel.

Q. Where can I get parts?
A. DMC in Houston have a huge range of “New old parts” here and here. A lot of parts of the DeLorean were based on other car parts however, so suitable “non DMC” replacement parts are easy enough to find for most parts.