1982 DELOREAN DMC-12View vehicle description
* This auction started on 21st January, exactly 40 years after the first car rolled off the Dunmurry production line. Read our drive story about the DeLorean on our blog https://bit.ly/2LGGR8p
First off, there’ll be no mention of any Hollywood movie trilogies in this description. It is too much of a cliché and no serious motoring writer would indulge in anything so obvious.
So, let’s travel back in time to 1973 when General Motors’ youngest division head, John DeLorean, quit to start the eponymous DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) and to build a two-seat, mid-engined sports car with gull-wing doors and body in unpainted stainless steel.
After a number of innovative manufacturing methods were deemed unsuitable, the chassis was turned over to Colin Chapman at Lotus for complete re-engineering and design maestro Giorgetto Giugiaro recreated the look of the car based around a double-Y back-bone, similar to the Lotus Esprit (which he also styled).
Thanks to significant financial incentives from HM Government, DeLorean opted to build the car at Dunmurry in Northern Ireland and the first cars finally began rolling down the line in late 1980.
The car was given a 2849cc V6 petrol engine made by PRV - a joint venture between Peugeot, Renault and Volvo. The engine design started out life as a V8 which is why it has 90 degrees between the banks rather than the more typical 60 degrees for a V6.
Although this makes for a flatter engine more able to fit low in a car, it doesn’t take a mad scientist to work out that this gives an inherently uneven firing order, causing a certain amount of vibration that has to be dealt with using balance weights to reduce its capacity for flux.
The PRV V6 delivered just 130bhp - or if my calculations are correct, precisely 0.000097 Gigawatts - so the DeLorean was never going to go like a bolt of lightning. DMC claimed to hit 60mph in 8.8 seconds (manual) with a top speed of 109 miles per hour.
Already involving key inputs from other manufacturers, further costs were saved by raiding parts bins far and wide. If you like, the DeLorean became a bit of a Mr Fusion of components from many different suppliers.
The DeLorean widely disappointed both critics and buyers alike due to issues with build quality and because its performance didn’t match the expectations created by its sporting looks and price tag. By February 1982 only half of the cars built had been sold and the company went into administration. Production continued under new owners, completing the unfinished cars already in build, but the plant closed by the end of the year.
Today, around 6,500 cars are believed to have survived from just over 9,000 built and there is an active enthusiast community around the DeLorean, with strong owners' clubs and a supplier in Texas holding all the original parts stock bought from the factory.
This manual DeLorean was built in January 1982 and has since covered around 61,000 miles. All factory DeLorean’s were left-hand-drive like this one, although a small number were converted officially to RHD in period. Transmissions were roughly half manual, half automatic.
Like many of its type in recent years this one has been brought back across the Atlantic. It was purchased from the official DeLorean (Midwest) dealer in Crystal Lake, Illinois by an enthusiast in Henley-on-Thames, imported to the UK and re-registered in October 2015. Just over two years later, he passed it to a local classic car dealer.
Our vendor, who owns a car workshop and storage business, spotted the DeLorean just over two years ago at the same classic car dealer when looking at another car and, having always wanted one, decided there and then to buy it. Although he’s driven the car around the yard from time to time to keep it moving and running, he hasn’t used it as much as he thought he would and so has decided to sell.
On the Outside
As the car has been properly dry stored and covered for the past two years, the brushed stainless steel bodywork really is in excellent condition with an even grain and barely a mark on it. This is what you want to see on a DeLorean because you can’t just fill in and paint over any dents.
The fibreglass front nose cone has just one or two small scuffs and the rear fibreglass panel has a few more, including a bit of a Biff in the centre above the bumper, but these are not serious and would be simple to repair. The rear louvre panel appears a little water stained in places but is otherwise very sound.
The panel fit is largely very good, although the corners of the front boot cover by the A-pillars flare up ever so slightly and the lower passenger door sits a little proud of the body - probably down to a new rubber door seal a few years ago.
The car sits on its original cast-alloy wheels - as specially designed for the car by Giugiaro - 14-inch at the front and 15-inch at the back and all appear in a good condition. They are fitted with matching Toyo Extensa tyres dated 2013-15, which all show a good tread depth and no apparent cracking from lack of use.
On the Inside
The grey interior trim is in very good condition and is mostly the faux leather vinyl as was original to the car, but the previous owner had the seats retrimmed in a matching colour leather. Whilst they look almost identical, you can certainly tell the difference in feel and the seats are very comfortable.
The seats are a snug fit for larger drivers and consequently there is some burnishing/patina on the side of the central transmission tunnel and the inside of the door trim but this doesn’t detract from what is a well kept interior.
The dash is all in order and the speedometer dial goes up to just over 140kmh (around 88 mph) - although most owners don’t dare push their cars to that kind of speed in case something unexplained happens.
The car has an original DMC branded stereo, perfect for any era of music from Chuck Berry to Huey Lewis & The News or right through to McFly. All electricals and interior equipment (e.g. electric mirrors and half-windows) are reported to be working well.
The grey headlinings have been recently replaced and the matching carpets underfoot look in good condition too, with DMC-branded black over mats for additional protection. The battery compartment is behind the passenger seat and there is a small locker behind the driver’s seat as well as additional stowage for larger items such as hoverboards or video cameras on a shelf behind which comes complete with its cargo net.
The front boot cover panel had new gas struts fitted when it came into the UK and, once released, the panel only needs lifting slightly before they take over and spring the front-hinged cover fully upright. Inside, there is space for quite a few fairly flat items of luggage and under the nicely carpeted floor board is a 15-inch spare wheel with a temporary use Goodyear tyre fitted. To the front of the compartment is a panel revealing the jack and tool roll.
The undersides of the car present very well. The central back bone is painted black and has no sign of rust, and the fibreglass underbody is all clean and apparently undamaged. At each corner, the adjustable dampers and new springs are evident and the various suspension and steering linkages are relatively clean. Just the exhaust has a little surface oxidation here and there but its chromed tail pipes look in good order.
In the rear engine compartment - accessed by lifting the louvre panel (again with recent, powerful gas struts) and then releasing the engine cover from inside the car - all looks very clean and reasonably tidy compared with others you see. The HT leads are recently renewed along with a few other ancillaries. There are no signs of corrosion or plutonium contamination anywhere.
The DeLorean’s MOT expires in January 2022 and the only advisory was that the side repeaters aren’t working, which the vendor tells us is an easy to obtain & fit Lucas part. So it’s ready for the open road - unless where you’re going, you don’t need roads…
Once imported to the UK, the car was sent to DeLorean specialists PJ Grady on Canvey Island to get it properly fettled to pass a UK MOT for registration including:
- Ignition system replacement
- Steering and suspension linkages
- New UK spec Hella headlamps
- Water pump
- New gas struts on rear louvre panel and front boot
Over the following two years, the importing owner has had the following work done too:
- Seats retrimmed in real leather to colour match the original faux leather
- Front springs replaced with lower Eurotec ones and all four shocks replaced with adjustable 'ProTechs' - no longer 'nose high' and tighter when cornering
- Forward bumper edge drooping 'eyebrows' straightened
- New rear tail-light boards
- DeLorean Club-recommended integrated fog lights
- New fuel sender unit
- New roof and upper door grey head linings
- New relays
Aside from regular run-ups, the only thing the current owner has done is replace the fuel accumulator - in March 2019. It’s also worth noting that the car has been properly dry stored.
The car comes with a small history file containing a CD of photographs, original owner’s handbook, US change of title document copy, NOVA approval, UK registration approval, expired and current MOT certificates and a handful of invoices for replacement and upgrade parts - mostly from the UK DeLorean Club. It also has two sets of keys, fire extinguisher and a few running spares.
What We Think
This DMC DeLorean has been well stored and looked after since imported and, in the words of the vendor’s mechanic business partner “it drives as well as any DeLorean ever did”. There are only one or two DeLoreans for sale in the UK at any given time continuum, so you’ll need to be looking over Hill and Valley to find one.
Asking prices of good DeLoreans like this one have been creeping up over recent years, so we think this will sell for between £26,000 and £35,000. Even if it finishes at the top end of that range, what else can you buy for the money that you can park alongside the best Italian supercars and still get more attention?
We don’t know what kind of person will buy it - the future isn’t written yet - although it’s likely to be someone who knows the DeLorean’s shortcomings but can’t get past just how superb they look. Whoever you are, get your best bid in before you’re out-a-time.
Author’s footnote: it seems that a number of film references did somehow make their way into the text - how many did you spot?
Inspection is always encouraged (within Govt. guidelines of course), and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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