Speaker 1: A new car called DeLorean. It sparks global interest, but why it's an electric exotic at a time when startups doing electric exotics kind of litter the globe it's because the name DeLorean takes us back to a car that was important and substantial from its fantastic founding to its lurid failure to its film fame. Let's take a look.
Speaker 1: [00:00:30] I was about 20 when the original DeLorean hit the market. So I'm here to vouch for it being a really big deal, which it was. And that's because the DeLorean on the name badge was John DeLorean who had risen through the ranks at GM to become head of vehicle production. But on the way, he was the guy behind the Pontiac GTO, which Bega the muscle car category. He was also a major force behind the Chevy Vega. A lot of you never heard of Avega and those who have [00:01:00] probably snicker, but the Vega and Ford's Pinto were this one, two punch of incredible innovation that moved the American car industry into small cars. And there was a litany of other GM cars. His name and fingerprints were all over that were fresh and innovative. But back to that styling compare the exterior of a DMC 12 to its contemporary, the Brickland SV one, or compare the interior of the DeLorean to that of its other contemporary, the much more expensive Lamborghini [00:01:30] Kage in both cases, respectively, the outside and the inside are so much more mature, better designed and better executed on the DeLorean. It printed real car right out of the gate.
Speaker 1: Now hailing from Detroit, Inc. As he did, John DeLorean was well aware that new car companies being successful are truly unicorns, even more than the way we use the term today. So he knew he had to have a handful and just [00:02:00] a handful of clear, obvious reasons. You'd look at that car and then look at it twice. An unpainted stainless steel body that would never rust at a time when rust was still a big deal goal wing doors. Those never made it off the show floor except for a certain Mercedes and a major emphasis on safety innovations. In fact, the roots of the DeLorean car came from a very similar looking [00:02:30] safety vehicle that he worked up, uh, supposedly at the behest of Allstate insurance, this set of simple attributes that are easy to be hold and digest, not too complicated. And all part of a beautifully rendered hole are pages right outta Steve jobs playbook though. He hadn't written it yet. And I wanna remind you of something 1981 was a very different time in the automotive market [00:03:00] than we see today. Dotson Zs, Camaros, Firebirds Mustangs T seven S all kinds of lotuses Paneras E types, and Corvets littered the roadways. And many of them were still in production available new in showrooms. Compare that to today when showrooms and street corners are pretty much choked with trucks and utilities. So the DeLorean DMC 12 came into a pretty broad, exciting, sweet spot of the automotive market where today that kind of car [00:03:30] is pretty niche.
Speaker 1: So with all these interesting storylines and angles and innovations going for it, what happened, the DeLorean was Starro to put it simply first was the price. $25,000 was the initial price. It went up quite a bit shortly after launch. That means starting at $85,000, roughly in today's money. So right away you've ruled out a whole lot of people. Then you've got the engine. It was not their [00:04:00] first choice, but they ended up with this 2.8 liter V6. That was the product of a engineering consortium of Phou, Reno and Volvo. It was mattered all the way in the back. So the car had pretty lopsided weight distribution, and it only threw off 130 horsepower at a time when you could get a Corvette that did almost 200 horsepower for $10,000 less in those days, money. Big difference. Now, add to that, that 1981 was a time of really steep inflation. [00:04:30] Over 10% that year and gas prices, I believe had broken a dollar a gallon for the first time. They certainly were the highest that I've ever seen on record to that time. In fact, adjusted prices for gas, didn't get that high again until 2008. It was really an expensive time at the pump. So a car like a DeLorean that was not exactly an essential vehicle. A lot of people dropped it off their list, even if they could afford it.
Speaker 1: [00:05:00] And then there was the build quality or lack thereof. Certainly the first few hundred cars were not well made part of it's because they really rushed this car to market in a little, over two years, they went from having no factory and basically a bunch of drawings to having cars going to customers. No one's ever done that before or since, but the cars were shotty enough that they virtually had to build these reassembly or reengineering centers here in the us to go through [00:05:30] and kind of debug the car. And there were a lot of things that needed attention, word gets out, and that's a tough stink to wash out, ask Jaguar. So sales began to gasp and the company began to run out of money. You could have gone back to the original piggy bank. The UK government perhaps gotten more funding, more loans, but there'd been a change in political party and leadership. And they weren't interested in funding. The previous parties, baby, which was a DeLorean company that had agreed to put [00:06:00] manufacturing in Northern Ireland. So that source dried up and John DeLorean made one of history's great, bad judgements. He got into a drug deal to get money. He was acquitted, but it didn't matter by then the undercover footage of him receiving suitcases of cocaine in a hotel room did not play well when America saw it on 60 minutes, the game was over
Speaker 1: Flash forward, back [00:06:30] to the future that movie and it's showcasing of the car did more than anything. The actual car did to keep itself culturally relevant. I would even argue that without that movie placement, we wouldn't be here. I'm not doing this video and you don't care that there's a new DeLorean on the market, but I also cringe the way the car was used. Great for the movie, but it made it kind of a trivialized thing and has moved attention away from the fact that it was a really important automotive story.