The DMC-12’s greatest and most enduring claim to fame was its starring role opposite Michael J. Fox in Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future”, the box office hit of 1985


As described by the seller, who just happened to be me, on eBay Motors: Never before offered for public sale. I am the second owner of this DeLorean, having bought it two-and-a-half years ago from the estate of the original owner, former NBC Orchestra bandleader and famed Mercedes-Benz collector Don Ricardo of Pasadena, CA.
When I purchased the DeLorean, it had just 3,211 miles (as of this writing it is still under 3,700 miles). I bought it as part of a four-car package, and it was not running at the time. I have spent in excess of $5,000 repairing the car, as the fuel system had gone bad from sitting. I had all the needed services done, the oil changed, and the shop used a careful procedure for starting a car that had been in “unintended” long-term storage.
This DMC-12 is strikingly original. I have seen other DeLoreans advertised as “with all updates.” Please know that this is not a car that has been “improved” like so many of them have. We tried to use only genuine DMC parts wherever possible. The exterior of the car is bright and shiny; it has not dulled or weathered with age, as so many of these cars have. The stainless steel panels are all in good shape, with no discoloration. There is a tiny ding on the trailing edge of the front hood, but the doors show no dings or dents, and all the other stainless steel panels seem unmarked. The rear bumper has a scratch perhaps two inches long. There was no stainless steel cleaner/conditioner/shine up used on the car, and I did not use any dressing on the rubber bits to make them shine.
This DeLorean DMC-12 has never seen any snow, sleet or hail. All the glass is excellent, there are no stars, cracks or delamination, and the original front spoiler has no marks. The tires are the original Goodyears, with no excessive wear on the tires. All the struts to hold open the doors, trunk and hood were replaced last year. The engine bay is very clean and tidy. The trunk is clean with the original carpets, space-saver spare and jack handle. There is some light fade to the paint in the top edge of the compartment; it looks as if the clearcoat is discolored. The interior of the car is very nice. The leather is supple and without cracks, fading or tears. The original carpets are very good; the dash has no cracks. The original radio works, as does the antenna. Both power windows work as they should. All gauges work. I recently replaced the battery, and the car was Virginia safety inspected and emissions tested last month.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Years Produced:1981-82
Number Produced:approx. 8,583
Original List Price:$26,175 in 1981
Tune Up Cost:$425
Distributor Caps:$18
Engine Number Location:next to oil filter
Club Info:DeLorean Owners Association, John Truscott, Membership Director, 879 Randolph Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111
Alternatives:1984-86 Chevrolet Corvette, 1975-76 Bricklin, 1978-79 Ferrari 308
Investment Grade:C

This 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 sold for $26,804 on eBay Motors (item 2491195972), on October 4, 2004.
I’m not really the type for bell-bottoms and long sideburns, but I did want to have a fling with a DeLorean. Once my curiosity had been satisfied, however, it was time to move it on-hence this sale. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
In the late 1970s, flamboyant former GM executive John Z. DeLorean-known for the success of his Wide Track Pontiacs-set out to build the perfect sports car, with plans to sell it for just $12,000 (thus the nomenclature “DMC-12”). Enlisting the help of Lotus for engineering and Giorgio Guigiaro for the design, DeLorean looked primed for success. He had towns, states, counties, municipalities and even countries pining for his manufacturing plant, with Northern Ireland emerging as the successful suitor. This was thanks to over $130 million in loans and tax breaks provided by the British government.
Somewhere along the line, however, things went astray. Blame can be placed on the anemic 130-hp Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) V6, or if you prefer, on the poor build quality. A lack of enthusiastic throttle response left the automotive press with few good things to say, and as the list price soared to almost three times the initial promise, the DMC-12 was a tough sell. The cars were built as 1981 and 1982 models, though some were titled as 1983s. After the company went bankrupt, more cars were assembled out of parts, leaving the exact build number something of a controversy. DeLorean went to great lengths to try and rescue his dream, and wound up involved in a cocaine deal that turned out to be an FBI sting.
The DMC-12 itself had a striking appearance, with gullwing doors and a stainless steel finish. Your choices were limited to automatic or five-speed, and gray or black leather interior, as all DeLoreans left the factory fully equipped. The V6 was mounted in the rear, with 15-inch rear wheels that were an inch larger in diameter than in front, to help compensate for oversteer. At about 2,700 pounds, the car could achieve 60 mph in under eight seconds.
Of course, the DMC-12’s greatest and most enduring claim to fame was its starring role opposite Michael J. Fox in Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future”, the box office hit of 1985. Though this publicity was too late in coming to save the company, it has caused the DeLorean to be remembered fondly by no shortage of car nuts who were kids at the time.
With winter fast approaching and owning more cars than I could justify to my accountant, I decided it was time to part with my DeLorean DMC-12 this past September. It wasn’t too hard to decide to list it on eBay Motors, as the online auction house makes it easy for the world to empty its houses of all the unneeded, unwanted and unloved goods, doubtless the most significant advance in retailing since Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck decided to start a catalog. Though I also employed other sales methods, none worked as quickly as my 10-day auction.
I had a few specific goals for my sale. Of course I wanted the car to sell-and I hoped it would make big money. But I also wanted to represent the car as accurately as possible, using both words and pictures. I wanted to set my car apart from the hundreds of other DeLoreans I see advertised for sale, in this case, because of its originality. Where many sellers are touting the value-add of upgrades and improvements they have performed on their DeLoreans, I feel strongly that original cars, warts and all, will be the ones to have in the near future.
Before you write your letters, know that I understand many of the upgrades offered by the DeLorean parts and service depots make the car much more usable and drivable on an everyday basis. But I’m an unabashed purist, and I not only admit it, but I will point to the larger market as evidence that my way of thinking tends to bear fruit. Remember all the Corvette owners who spent lots of money “improving” their cars or updating the look, doing such unconscionable things as removing the split window in a ’63 coupe? Many a restorer has cursed the earlier owner for these “updates,” spending untold time and money searching out the production correct original. I feel the same principle applies here.
So I trumpeted the fact that my car still had its original tires and its original (and lousy) AM/FM/cassette radio. My car also benefited from a well-documented and unique history and extremely low miles-for which I paid the price in repairs. The result was nearly $27k in very active bidding up until the last second. The buyer and under-bidder were both gentlemen. I received an immediate note from the under-bidder stating that he would still be interested in the car if the buyer did not perform. But that was not a problem, as funds were wired to me within hours after the sale.
The new owner is planning on using his DeLorean for around-town transportation, as he has an airplane for longer jaunts. The SCM Price Guide lists DMC-12s between $15,000 and $25,000, so he paid a bit of a premium, but for such a low-miles car, I’d call this a fair price. I believe that the power of the DeLorean story, combined in no small way with the power of the “Back to the Future” movies, will help propel excellent cars up the appreciation curve, flux capacitor or not.

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