November 19, 2009

Most Famous Cars: 1981 Delorean Dmc 12

The DeLorean DMC 12 is one of the few car models to become an American film and pop culture icon. It is perhaps best known for its appearance as a time machine in the Back To The Future movie trilogy. With its gull-wing doors that open vertically, and its unpainted, stainless steel body, the DeLorean was designed to be a stylish and unique car. Yet, despite being one of the world’s most famous cars, the model’s history is not entirely glamorous. While able to break the laws of physics in film, in reality the DMC lacked power, and despite its unique design, was sometimes considered to be overpriced.

Approximately 9,200 DMCs were manufactured between 1981 and 1982. The cars were produced in Northern Ireland, but with an American market in mind. As a result, the vast majority was made left-hand drive, so as to be driven on the right side of American roads. However, a limited number of DMCs (17 in total) with right-hand steering were also produced. The DeLorean features a 2.6-liter fuel injected V6 rear-mounted engine, with an output of 170 horsepower (130kW). This is precisely where the criticism of the DMC’s lack of power stems from, and even led to V8 engine sounds replacing the V6 sounds when the car was featured in Back To The Future.

The name DMC 12′ was given to the car model because its original price tag was $12,000. However, several special models have been produced with significantly higher price tags. In particular, three 24-karat gold-plated DeLoreans were produced for more high-end consumers. As for specialty features, the torsion bars used to support the gull-wing doors were expertly designed by an aerospace company to be especially strong. The doors themselves need far less clearance room to open than regular car doors, meaning that DeLoreans can be parked in tighter spaces. Interestingly, a door-strap began to be featured in DMCs in November 1981 to help people of short stature open the doors.

The first DMC 12 prototype was produced in 1976, and mass-scale production was scheduled to begin in 1979. However, due to budgeting and design problems, this did not actually begin until 1981. In 1982, John DeLorean was tried in court on drug-trafficking charges, and although found not guilty, the DeLorean Motor Company declared bankruptcy the same year. This marked the end of the production of the DMC 12. A large number of the DeLoreans that were produced in these two years still exist. And, partly due to its appearance as Dr Emmett Brown’s stylish time machine in the 1985 movie ‘Back To The Future,’ the DMC 12 has secured its position as one of the world’s most famous cars.