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R.I.P. John Z. DeLorean
March 21, 2005 3:42 AM   Subscribe

R.I.P. John Z. DeLorean (January 6, 1925 - March 19, 2005) Lived his life flamboyantly.. Leaving behind a legendary car and a 'treasure' in the Bay off of Northern Ireland
posted by borq (27 comments total)

 
Don't worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely eighty-eight miles per hour the instant the lightning strikes the tower... everything will be fine.

Oh.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:32 AM on March 21, 2005


I was a teenager growing up in rural/suburban Martinsville, NJ in the early 80's. DeLorean's main staging area for his finished stock was a fenced off parking lot on route 202/206 on the western edge of town, near where they now have the ginormous Bridgewater Mall. I remember driving there (would have just received my license, or maybe I went by moped) and pressing my pizza face against the chainlink fence and salivating over the cars lined up just yards away. I remember it as somewhat desolate and abandoned, so this may have been after he already went bankrupt.
posted by intermod at 4:42 AM on March 21, 2005


1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!!!
posted by scalz at 5:49 AM on March 21, 2005


You have to wonder what John D. was thinking when he decided on the VPR V-6 as a power plant. That anemic motor pretty much took the wind out of the idea of the DeLorean as a sports car.
posted by clevershark at 6:11 AM on March 21, 2005


Well, he had to save room for the Flux Capacitor.
posted by Armen Tanzarian at 6:20 AM on March 21, 2005


What a life – a delusional genius, a sleaze, and perhaps one of the larger fraudsters of his era.

There was a great documentary on BBC4 a few months back on De Lorean – mainly focusing on his adventures in Northern Ireland. The Pontiac GTO was a stroke of simple genius – why not stuff a bus engine into a tweaked medium sized car? Despite their technological inferiority to many European cars of the day (in terms of handling especially), he (and Iacocca with the Mustang) brought in the classic era of American motoring.

The DMC12 was essentially a reskinned Lotus Esprit hobbled with a lawnmower engine and crackhouse build quality and/or an outlandish rolling fraud. It was an interesting documentary, what was not clear about the whole thing was the extent to which it was a massive fraud perpetrated on the UK taxpayer, an insane attempt at automotive futurism, or both. It was clear from the start that it was doomed – all the initial cars sent to the US had to be stripped down and reassembled by hand (at a cost several times their selling price) as sub-Soviet build quality and poorly fit parts made them otherwise unmarketable except as attractive scrap.

The money would have been better spent on rust proofing equipment, or even some morale boosting coffee machines for the money hole that was British Leyland…Or not at all.
posted by The Salaryman at 6:22 AM on March 21, 2005


Great Scott, This is Heavy!
posted by thirdparty at 6:31 AM on March 21, 2005


I can't remember who said it first, but my fave quote about the DMC12 was "the car that sniffs the white lines down the middle of the road".

Looked great with the unpainted stainless steel shell though.
posted by jackiemcghee at 6:53 AM on March 21, 2005


He died on the night that some friends of mine threw a huge time-travel themed dance party. There's even a DeLorean on the flyer.

I'd like to think that we eased his passage.
posted by deafmute at 7:37 AM on March 21, 2005


Although my current Pontiac is pre-GTO ('55), I have owned several goats (and hope to own more in the future, I've got a stash of parts waiting - tri-power intakes, sheet metal, etc. ), I'll smoke the rear tires a little this morning in tribute. A bit of muscle car trivia, first GTO was the '64, first Mustang (rustang) was the '64 1/2 (Ford Falcon in disguise, trying to play catchup).
posted by 445supermag at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2005


I used to drive by his house everyday on my way to class. Very swank. He was periodically in the local news r.e. his long and unsuccessful fight to put a helipad on his property. I know we can all relate to such problems.
posted by jalexei at 8:00 AM on March 21, 2005


I wonder if it annoyed him to have his name and legacy forever linked to Back to the Future.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:13 AM on March 21, 2005


I wonder if it annoyed him to have his name and legacy forever linked to Back to the Future.

Well, BTTF was wildly more successful than the Delorean Motor Corp.
posted by clevershark at 8:32 AM on March 21, 2005


One of my neighbors growing up used to have a Delorean. My neighbor was also a cokehead. Coincidence? I think not.

I did like it when he'd take us kids out in it and drive 100mph, though.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on March 21, 2005


first Mustang (rustang) was the '64 1/2 (Ford Falcon in disguise, trying to play catchup).

oooh! I feel like I'm back in high school again! thanks for the memories!
posted by milnak at 9:38 AM on March 21, 2005


I've owned a lot of eccentric vehicles in my time, including a Delorean and I have to disagree with The Salaryman's take on the car (and his general slagging of a guy who likely would have been President had he not tried to do his own thing and been struck down for it)... The DMC was underpowered, but other than that, an ideal vehicle, really pleasant to drive with long legs for the highway, good ergonomics, etc...
posted by glider at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2005


Man, of all the days to have forgotten my @delorean.com password.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:08 AM on March 21, 2005


cleversharkYou have to wonder what John D. was thinking when he decided on the VPR V-6 as a power plant. That anemic motor pretty much took the wind out of the idea of the DeLorean as a sports car.

He was thinking in three years I can bring out a version with twice the horse power and make a bunch more press while at the same time not price my initial model thru the roof. Speed costs and it not just the engine. A more powerful engine demands better tranmission, transaxle, wheels, tires, brakes, cooling and often suspension.

Besides which not everyone is looking for a fire breathing muscle car. One only has to take a look at Lotus. Sports cars are more about the feel than the straight line acceleration. I've got both ends of the continumn in my garage. My '84 Indy has less than 100hp and my '66 Chrysler has, um, let say a _whole_ lot more. Both cars are fun to drive in different ways but I'd much rather be feeding the Fiero's fuel habit in everyday driving.
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 AM on March 21, 2005


The guy may have been a sleaze but he'll always be cool in my book just for actually making a stainless steel car.
posted by fenriq at 10:17 AM on March 21, 2005


I'm kind of interested in how he spent his life after DMC folded and he was acquitted of the drug charges. Did he every try to ressurect his dream? Any further adventures in the automotive world? Only one of these pages treats his later life, and there, only for a paragraph or so.
posted by afroblanca at 10:33 AM on March 21, 2005


He'd pushed to release a new version of the car since the demise of the first (the Firestar and later the DMC2), but it never really got off the ground... he was selling some nice stainless steel DMC2 watches for a while as a promo...
posted by glider at 10:50 AM on March 21, 2005


New York Times March 19 article on the folks who tinker with DeLoreans (reg. required).
posted by derangedlarid at 10:55 AM on March 21, 2005


afroblance: as a born again christian, so glider was right in saying he could 've made president... ;)
btw glider: compliments on the Aztec 7(in green that is)!
posted by borq at 1:57 PM on March 21, 2005


If only he'd lived 'til 2013...

Then we'd see some serious shit...
posted by Old Man Wilson at 3:40 PM on March 21, 2005



Cool story about the dies (the final link). Except I was expecting a happy ending for some reason.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:49 PM on March 21, 2005


Yeah, me too... I was waiting for the page that showed someone retrieving them...
posted by glider at 4:15 PM on March 21, 2005


Yeah! And then shipping them to a village in Sri Lanka where they start making the cars again, with locally produced 3 cylinder motors.

Or something like that.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:08 PM on March 21, 2005


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