1981 DeLorean

{vsig}1996-2_1712{/vsig}

It was in January 1974 that the John Z. DeLorean Corporation was established in Detroit, its eponymous founder having steadily climbed the ladder from engineer to general manager within the American motor industry and recently resigned from General Motors. He soon laid plans to produce his own limited production and technically advanced sports car: designed by Giugiaro, and based on his 1970 Porsche Tapiro concept car, it was distinguished by gullwing doors, a brushed steel finish and a chassis made from ERM, a patented lightweight composite material owned by a DeLorean subsidiary.

Following formation of the DeLorean Motor Corporation in October 1975, a complex series of capital-raising exercises generated the funds necessary to produce the first prototype twelve months later. Finances, though, were stretched and after several international possibilities a factory was set up in Belfast in association with the Northern Ireland Development Agency. Prior to production, however, the ERM for the chassis was replaced by a patented Lotus vacuum molding process which, with other changes and type approval testing, delayed the DeLorean’s launch until 1981. The rest of the specification included all round independent wishbone/coil spring suspension and disc brakes, while power came from Peugeot’s 2,849 cc fuel-injected V6, producing 130bhp at 5,500 rpm and 162 lb.ft at 2,750 rpm allied to a five-speed gearbox.

Originally owned by the DeLorean factory and registered in Northern Ireland, the example pictured here was bought by the current owner with just 750 miles recorded before conversion to right-hand drive by the original DeLorean subcontractor. In early 1994 the car underwent the later factory updates at DeLorean in Texas at a cost of some $7,500, prior to coming fourth in the National DeLorean Concours. Finished in the correct brushed steel with grey interior, this very individual motor car is in excellent condition.