Collectible Classic: 1981-1983 De Lorean

Eric McCandless

THE SPECS
ENGINE

2.8-liter SOHC V-6,
130 hp, 160 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONs
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
DRIVE
Rear-wheel
SUSPENSION, FRONT
Control arms, coil springs
SUSPENSION, REAR
Multilink, coil springs
BRAKES
Vented discs
WEIGHT
2840 lb

THE INFO
YEARS PRODUCED

1981-1982 (with a few 1983 stragglers)
NUMBER PRODUCED
9200 (est.)
ORIGINAL PRICE
$25,000
VALUE TODAY
$15,000-$30,000
WHY BUY
For the gull-wing doors, the stainless-steel body, the rear-mounted engine, and the historical value. Also, it's worth about the same now as it was new. But mostly because it taught us all how to incorrectly pronounce "1.21 gigawatts." Look out for frame rot, though: The steel backbone was dipped in epoxy so it wouldn't rust. Ironically, that process accelerated rot by allowing moisture in through small cracks and then trapping it. Oh, and the electrical system -- including the flux capacitor -- is a weak spot.

4 of 4
timhood
The car is of great design. Given more money to make it right as well as reduce weight, then put in a more potent engine, similar to a Ferrari 308 and this could have been an amazing car. The authors got it right, though: the car was a huge hit in the movie and had the company lasted, that could have been the sales boom to get it going. More models would have been needed to keep it viable, however. One thing we've learned in the years since is that no car company can be a one-trick pony. Even Mini has several models and they aren't truly independent.
BigBlock45
I often wonder what would result from marrying the DMC-12 to the Ford V8 powered Bricklin? I would think it not too hard to install a V-8 and six-spd auto in the DMC.
Scuromondo
I wouldn't say that the pronunciation of "giga" (as used in "Back to the Future") is incorrect.Apparantly, even though the hard-G pronunciation may be ubiquitous these days (e.g. gigabytes, gigahertz) that is a relatively recent pronunciation trend. The historically favored pronunciation is with the "soft" g (i.e. "jiggawatts") rather than the "hard" G. In fact, any old-timer engineer (pre-1980s) is much more likely to use the soft-G pronunciation than the hard-G. Also (according to Wikipedia) the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies (NIST) pronunciation guide still lists the soft-G as the correct pronunciation.
58FURY
I had the first DeLorean in Denver. Cost me a $5,000 premium. I dropped the transmission the first month, but really had no further problems in the three years I drove it as a daily driver, though it did not like hot weather. I loved the car, except for the low power -- it was woefully slow for such a hot design. I sold it after 3 years for half what I paid for it, but it was a fun ride for me.

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