Great Scott! The DeLorean Motor Company is planning to start official production of new replica DMC-12, following the recently passed Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015. The bill allows small automakers to produce a maximum of 325 replicas per year of classic-themed vehicles that are at least 25 years old.
DeLorean aims to begin production as early as the first quarter of 2017.
Humble, Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company, which has no actual ties to the original company, began selling refurbished DeLoreans in 2008 once it acquired all of the remaining parts and tooling left over from the factory after the automaker went belly-up in 1982.
“The Low Volume Manufacturers bill has significantly changed our business model,” DMC Vice President James Espey tells AUTOMOBILE. “We’re moving from just service and restoration to full low-volume manufacturing and assembly.”
The DeLorean team is, as you might expect, quite small. That means it will take a month to build each car during the first year of production, which will speed up to one car per week by the second year of production, at the earliest.
Espey says that DMC has “literally millions” of new and old parts at the company’s Texas facility. The company ships in parts from both domestic and foreign suppliers, but the assembly all takes place in Humble. DMC manufactures the fiberglass chassis and bolts the frame on top using its remaining stock of “thousands” of stainless steel panels and parts.
Although the goal is to stay true to the 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, there will be some significant changes to the car most remember fondly from Back to the Future. The biggest change is what you’ll find under the hood: DMC aims to roughly triple the original 130 hp to somewhere between 350 and 400 hp. DeLorean is most interested in a V-6 engine, mostly because of the packaging advantages (the original DeLorean used a 2.85-liter V-6).
“For years now we’ve known our engine stock would be exhausted, so we’ve been looking for a supplier, and we’re currently in talks with two.” explains Espey. “One is General Motors, which offers the E-ROD crate engines that are emissions certified. The other OEM I can’t tell you about, but they’re working on certifying a V-6 that should be ready before the end of March.” A Ford EcoBoost V-6, perhaps?
Along with the boost in power, the new DeLoreans will have bigger wheels, bigger brakes, and a modernized interior. “No cassette player, nothing like that,” says Espey.
Plans to start production in the first quarter of 2017 are reliant on the Department of Transportation and NHTSA finalizing the low-volume replica manufacturing rules according to schedule. “Nothing in Washington is a sure thing, but one way or another, we’re moving forward with these engines,” Espey assures us.
The company will continue to sell refurbished models for $45,000 to $55,000, with an available power upgrade to 197 hp. New DeLorean pricing should come in at under $100,000.
Want to see where the magic will happen? Check out this Google virtual tour of the DeLorean facility. Browse the showroom, assembly floor, and parts shelves for all of your Doc Brown-ish fantasies.