Fans of the hit movie Back to the Future will not need reminding of the importance of the DeLorean motor car, which, had it not been for its starring role as Doc Brown’s four-wheeled time machine, might merely have entered the history books as one of the great automotive failures of the late 20th century.
For those unfamiliar with the DeLorean DMC-12, which remained in production from 1981 to 1983, it was the brainchild of former Chevrolet general manager John Z DeLorean, whose aim was to build “the ethical sports car for the bachelor who’s made it”.
He set about doing so in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, using $175m of (mostly) other people’s money and produced about 9,200 of the stainless-steel, gull-wing sports cars before going bust in late 1982 after being caught in an FBI sting agreeing to bankroll a somewhat unethical $1.8m cocaine smuggling operation – although he was subsequently found not guilty on the basis of police entrapment.
Despite the car’s lack of commercial success in period, it was undeniably good looking and benefited from the engineering input of none other than the legendary Lotus founder Colin Chapman – and its quirky appearance is now attracting a strong following among classic-car enthusiasts, hiking prices considerably beyond the £10,000 or so that would have bought a decent DeLorean just a few years ago.
But seldom, if ever, has a DeLorean appeared for sale in quite such box-fresh condition as the one due to be offered by auction house Historics at Brooklands on Saturday June 6 – because (as Doc Brown would no doubt appreciate) it is a true “time warp” example of the model, having covered a mere 24 miles since it left the factory in 1981 as the last car to be built that year.
It was subsequently shipped to the DeLorean dealer in Newark, New Jersey, where it remained locked away until the current, UK owner bought it 15 years ago – and, again, proceeded to drive it absolutely nowhere. Not even back to 1955.
Indeed, the car is so original that the factory-applied delivery sticker is still attached to the windscreen and it carries the same battery, tyres, owner’s manual and toolkit that it was allocated when new.
As a result, Historics at Brooklands expects the car to fetch up to £39,000. But only those who have already seen the future will know whether or not it makes it…
Classic car enthusiasts may also like to read about one owner’s impressive collection or to discover a showroom that wows, or think about investing in another icon that’s rising in value, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.