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the beautiful destruction

Friday, June 17, 2005

DeLorean: Guts & Glamour

Last night, as Michelle and I were driving through the neighborhood behind our house, I spotted a DeLorean parked in someone's driveway. I can't recall if I've ever seen a DeLorean that wasn't on film traveling through time in a Back To The Future movie.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Pictured: Back To The Future-modified DeLorean illustration.

It was dark, so I didn't get to examine it too much. But I was impressed by how unique the car still looks and how unconventional it must have been for its time (seriously, think about some of the other cars produced during the 1980s... boxy, clunky, ugly).

So I did a Google search for DeLorean this morning and discovered that the car is actually extremely rare, with only 9,000 models produced at its factory in Northern Ireland before the company went bankrupt in 1982. John Z. DeLorean, the brilliant automotive executive turned failed glamour car entrepreneur, actually died this past March at the age of 80 [click here for a detailed obituary].

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Pictured: Another Back To The Future-modified DeLorean illustration (Note the flux capacitor).

DeLorean's obituary reads like the quintessential "American dream" tale. He came from a working class neighborhood in Michigan; his father was employed as a foundry worker for Ford; DeLorean attended school to pursue business and engineering; he then worked his way up through the ranks of Detroit's booming automotive industry where he climbed all the way to the position of GM vice-president. And it was just at the peak of his success, as he was being groomed to take over as President of GM, that he departed the company to pursue his dream of designing and manufacturing his own line of automobiles.

Sure, there are rumors that DeLorean sold cocaine to fund his ailing venture (although he was acquitted on the charges). And he was supposedly known as quite a name-dropper, rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite, garnering financial support for his company from the likes of Jonny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr. to name a few. Or maybe he was just a good businessman. That is, until the bottom dropped out.


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

What did the plate say on that car, "WJAS" isnt that a lite rock radio station??

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to make a time travel machine, why not use a DeLorean? ~Mara~

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Matthew Newton said...

I think it said something like that. I may have to drive by again to get a better look.

And I agree, there's really no better car to use as a time machine--that goes without saying.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Dirtybigearedbucktooth said...

The DeLorean is a great Pennsylvania car. It is stainless steel - no rust, pal. A pennsylvanian can only imagine. I have had the chance to see a couple of these beauties up close. They are a design dream, but a mechanical nightmare.

Also, I think the hotel-room video footage of DeLorean making a cocaine deal sealed his fate.

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Sugar said...

I guy in Kinsman Oh (the town I grew up in) has two of these. I always loved to check them out in the summer when he would have them out washing them. They are so cool. :)

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Martini said...

Came across your site by accident. I thought I had seen every picture of a DeLorean, but those drawings (which I haven't seen before) are really great!

I've got a DeLorean up in Canada, and I sometimes blog about it. If you like them, check out my blog sometime.
This really wasn't meant to be blogspam! Sorry if it looks that way.

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