Finally, the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 featured in the hit movie “Back to the Future” will soon be rolling out of production and down the streets once more. The story of the DeLorean DMC-12 goes back to the late 1970s when the founder of DeLorean Motor Company, John Z. DeLorean, parted ways with GM to build a new American sports car. The production of the iconic car began in 1981 in Belfast, but the venture soon went bankrupt and shut down until in the mid-1990s when Stephen Wynne, the current CEO of DeLorean Motor Company, acquired the company’s trademarks and IP.
Wynne continued to buy parts from Consolidated International who took over DeLorean’s factory in Belfast along with stockpiled parts enough to build nearly 350 to 400 cars. In 1997, he took a gamble and “put a deal together to acquire all the inventory,” says Wynne.
With the founder’s blessing, Wynne revived DeLorean Motor Company from the remains of the original and has been waiting for an opportunity to start production fully. This opportunity came in December 2015 when Low Volume Manufacturers Provision was included in the FAST Act passed by Congress to allow for the production of up to 325 turnkey replica cars per year without adhering to modern safety regulations and production standards.
Even though the Act provided DeLorean an opportunity to rise from the ashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed to issue specific regulations to guide low-volume manufacturers on how the replicas should be produced. The issue remained in limbo for four years until Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) released a statement that they were prepared to “challenge the agency in court if it fails to take immediate action to implement.” The threat of being sued prompted the NHTSA to act and release the long-awaited regulation.
Wynne has to wait longer before his dream is realized because the Office of Management and Budget has to review the regulations for about six months. But this has not stopped the company from laying the groundwork to commence production as soon as the regulation becomes law.
DeLorean DMC headquarters has been transformed into storage space for car parts as they wait for the regulation to be approved into law. From gullwing doors to hubcaps, windshields, headlights, cooling fans, and all the other parts of a DeLorean DMC-12, the company is more than prepared to bring back the past to the present. “There are 2,650 parts that go into a DeLorean … and we have all the parts right here,” says Wynne. Having worked with major car brands such as Jaguar, Lotus, Renault, and Peugeot, Wynne has the expertise to deliver the iconic DeLorean DMC-12s to the streets once more.
Apart from car parts, Wynne also obtained the original specs, drawings, and blueprints of all 2,650 parts in a DeLorean. “We have notes on every part,” says Wynne, “So, although some of the suppliers are gone now, we can go out and get stuff reproduced. The next thing to do is to start making cars.”
According to DeLorean’s Vice President James Espey, the production of DeLorean DMC-12s will not commence until late 2020, setting winter or fall of 2021 as the most probable timeframe to expect these iconic cars on the road. Being an election year, the review of the regulation can take more than six months to nearly a year, Espey explained.
The nostalgic looks that enticed and captivated fans for years will be maintained in the new DeLorean DMC-12 but with a new engine and revamped interior and amenities. For an opportunity to experience the nostalgia of going back to the past, customers of the new DeLorean will have to cough up around $100,000.