You might have recently read that people with more money than testicles can now officially express their interest in ordering a car that looks vaguely like a fictitious vehicle which helped propel Michael J Fox to cinematic superstardom. Although the manufacturers of the new-old-new DeLorean quickly distanced themselves from salacious gossip that suggested its version of DMC-12-and-a-half events could make owners look anywhere near as cool as Marty McFly; without or without a red body-warmer. For anyone not put off by the fact that the impending new-old-new DMC-12-and-a-half are ostensibly facsimiles of the original (as opposed to being, THE original), the motor company has now announced its waiting list/pseudo-order book has been ceremoniously opened.
Let’s not forget that this whole episode came about after the relaxing of a long-standing legislation which was recently overturned and which effectively saw a new law passed in its place. This usurping of existing governance has resulted in motor companies now being afforded the commercial opportunity to manufacture limited numbers of replica products, providing they were originally built over 25 years ago. Hence the probability of DMC piecing together a small, initial run of reimagined versions of the iconic DMC-12. It’s a bit of a leap of faith for prospective buyers mind, not least because as yet any confirmation of standard and option features (not to mention a final cost) for the new DMC-12-and-a-half are pretty thin on the ground*. Or as DeLorean phrase it, ‘finalised’.
Admittedly the new owners of DeLorean have a desperately hard act to follow, as it’s fair to say that the original DMC-12 was a car ahead of its time. Unfortunately its build quality and performance stats were firmly entrenched in the pantheons of automotive history alas. Filed under ‘Morris Marinascellaneous’. Yet these foibles never stood in the way of it fast becoming something of a motoring legend and its almost immediate transition to cu*t status amongst certain car-loving fraternities. Enjoying a short-lived (2 years as it happened) shelf life first time of asking (liquidation following a slump in the US car market being cited as the reason), that was pretty much that until in 1995 a British entrepreneur snapped up the languishing trademark.
Not that said forward-thinking entrepreneur has been resting on his laurels for the past two decades, as during the intervening years the company has kept itself busy/biding its time restoring first generation DMC-12’s to their former glories, courtesy of buying up all remaining original stock and spare parts; along with creating build-to-order replacements from scratch. Yet now the company faces its biggest challenge to date (Oct 21 2016 that is, NOT Oct 21 1985 for the record) as it gears up to bolt together 300 vehicles from the ground up as it undertakes its low volume-dictated production run for real. The first of this new batch of DMC-12-and-a-halves are slated to be made available to the buying public in early 2017 and are expected to set nostalgia victims back to the tune of $100,000.
All of which updated ramblings put me in mind of some information an ex-girlfriend imparted fairly recently. Former Serious Girlfriend No. 3 as it happened, who duly informed me out of the blue that one of her client’s sons (she’s a nail technician before you ask) is the guy who owns the rights/company formerly known as DeLorean over in the states. Why this never cropped up in previous conversations I’ll never know, given she was well aware that I had been obsessed with the DMC-12 ever since I was old enough to understand the logic of ‘accidentally’ dropping your pencil case under the desk of the primary school hottie. But it kinda explains why said individual is now the former would-be Mrs Carnivorousness as opposed to the later model I’m currently still (extensively) road-testing. Anyway, the unprecedented conversation went a little something like this;
Ex; “I see you put something about DeLoreon (sic) on your Facebook status the other day. Did I ever tell you so-and-so’s son owns the company?”
Me; “No, you didn’t. But first things first, DeLorean is spelt with an ‘a’ not an ‘o’.”
Ex; “Are you still actively seeking work?”
Me; “I don’t see what that’s got to do with anything, but yeah, why?”
Ex; “Well, I thought an interview with the DeLorean guy might look good on your CV”
Me; “It would, but for the fact that I don’t live/am unemployed in America.”
Ex; “You could do an email Q&A session, perhaps?”
Me; “You’re right. And then I could turn the answers into some sort of impressive blog article (complete with photos) to impressive my huge readership. Yeah, send me a contact email over and I’ll get on it and fire a series of posers their way. By the way, is the cream your GP prescribed still doing the trick?”
So I did just that, compiling some fantastically searching question as you will witness below. Fast forward a couple of months since though (i.e, now) and not a dickie bird back from DeLorean’s man at the tiller (who, by the by, was originally born of Scouse stock and relocated to the US of A to set up a business many moons back). As you can doubtless imagine I’m a little peeved/disconsolate with the incommunicado (perhaps it was something I said?), and wondered exactly how I could salvage something from the unholy mess of being ignored by someone quasi-important in the world of automania. And I thought what better than to simply share with you the questions I put to him, if only to prove I’d done my homework and do, occasionally know something; other than meaningless trivia about 90s boy bands and how to raise/look after chickens in a 3-bedroom suburban semi. Not actually ‘in’, but rather ‘in the garden of’ the aforementioned property.
The contents of the subsequent email (an email which easily COULD have broken me into the motoring big time, and subsequently made me a name to be reckoned with, I hasten to add) were pitched perfectly, or so I thought . And the precursor to a budding car journo finally commanding a little respect, admiration (and indeed, salary) as a reward for his skillset and product knowledge. God only knows, he may have even stopped referring to himself in the third person. But of course, as often the case with best intentions and all the will in the world, acknowledgement wasn’t forthcoming? And as far as I know that email is still pinging about in the nether, bouncing off those other emails which I once forwarded to Olivia Wilde and Morrison’s broken Rosemary Scalloped Crackers customer complaints department….
HY-PATHETICAL DELOREAN Q & A SESH
- I appreciate you may have had this question posed a few times in the past (if you’ll pardon the obvious pun), Stephen, but if one of your DMC-12’s COULD time travel, when and where would you set the co-ordinates to and why? If it was my car I’d programme it to take me back to art school in Newcastle in 1991, so I chose NOT to miss 70% of the first two terms by instead opting to ride the Metro system to the coast for days out when I should have been attending classes.
- Who (or what) serves as your inspiration in life? Mine’s Jeremy Clarkson, because like him I divide opinion and despise Americans. You can confirm you were born in Liverpool, can’t you, Stevie?
- Realistically (and being mindful of the fact that you have voiced your enthusiasm for electric cars in the past) would an electric or hybrid power plant be a possibility or not, given you haven’t earmarked a specific engine as yet? Although there’s much talk of a Nissan-sourced naturally aspirated 3.7-litre V6, you collaborated with Epic EV before, so you have history of having forged a working relationship with a new technology provider. I know. An adult question. A yes or no answer will suffice, as anything else will confuse me.
- Let’s say you did opt for an electric power source, surely puritans would bemoan the passing of hearing a throaty, rasping engine sound/exhaust note in favour of the sound of silence, no? Because let’s face it, Formula E is shite.
- Would you ever consider making the DMC-12 in another colour scheme, and if so, what? We have found some examples online which were finished (albeit in aftermarket guise) in red, yellow and orange exterior coachwork. We only ask because in 1980 you could buy an $85k 24K gold-plated DeLorean as part of some perverse American Express advertising campaign.
- Can you tell us precisely what a flux capacitor does in a couple of easy to read/understandable sentences? You can include a diagram if you prefer or the lyrics to Busted’s hit single, ‘Year 3000’ if that helps, Steve-O.
- We won’t lie to you, a DMC-12 would take pride of place in our ‘Dream Garage’; but what 10 vehicles would be found in yours, if money was no object?
- What would 59-year old you tell 19-year old you, if you had the chance to travel back in time? You know, in your dimension-hopping DeLorean.
- With a possible £70k price tag being mooted, do you think would-be buyers would stretch to this sort of asking price, bearing in mind that you could, hypothetically-speaking pick up an original (and highly collectable) example of a DMC-12 for in the region of £30k? Which, incidentally, experts say is way better than your version.
- What would happen if you took the DeLorean to 88mph and did not enter a destination time? Would you remain in a state of perpetual stasis or would you not give a fuck?
- Do you think sometime in the foreseeable future that the DeLorean could be crafted into Mini-esque new sub-models, like a convertible, estate car, roadster and/or 4×4? Or is this just a flight of fancy dreamed up by a person who once studied marketing and running out of sensible questions to ask?
- Is 2017 a do-able target in terms of making readied cars available, or is the previously mooted 2020 a more workable goal? Or, with time being relative is this question largely irrelevant?
- Who do you consider to be your target audience for sales of a new DMC-12? Most people who grew up with the Back to the Future trilogy are now middle aged, complete with the financial shackles of mortgages, kids and 2nd and 3rd divorces hanging like nooses around their necks. Do you think a whole new generation would be equally as nostalgia-led to fork out if the vanity-buyers weren’t in a favourable monetary position?
- What, aside from family/relatives still living there, do you miss most about Liverpool to this day? By the way, Brookside finished years ago, so don’t say that.
- Where would you position the DeLorean in a list of the Top 10 iconic cars of the 20th century, if the compilation included the following (and equally classic designs); Jaguar E-Type, Porsche 911, VW Beetle, Mini, Aston Martin DB5, McLaren F1, Land Rover, Ford Model T and Lada Niva?
- Where do you see the company/vehicle range 10 years from now? Have you got a contingency plan in place if it all goes tits up?
- I make no secret of the fact that I’d love to see the Rover CityRover reinstated in the mainstream carhood, what other cars would you like to see resurrected and brought back from the dead, in one guise or another?
- Did your wife/members of your family think you were mad when you first told them you were going to bring the DMC back to the future?
- What were you doing in 1985? And did it involve the acquisition of hub caps?
- Do you think John DeLorean would approve of this rebirth of his beloved DMC-12? Which you could find out for real if you design a flux capacitor at the same time and go back in time to ask the accidental drug smuggler.
There you go then. What might have been if I’d bribed the DeLorean gaffer with a few camels, a job lot of Benson & Hedges and a case full of Kendal Mint Cake………