DeLorean Motor Company: “Kiss me, I (was) Irish.”

BY Scott C. Benjamin / POSTED March 17, 2009
Hammerbrook - City can this really be true?
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Yeah, I know … but how many chances do we get to talk about Irish car production? Or for that matter, how many opportunities do I get to mention the short-lived, stainless steel-bodied, gull-wing door-equipped DeLorean? So anyway, here’s a bit of Irish automotive history for you today.

The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was founded by former General Motors executive, John DeLorean, in Detroit, Mich., in 1975. After a long search for a suitable place to build his dream car, DeLorean settled on Northern Ireland. By 1978, construction had started on the assembly plant in Dunmurry, Ireland, a suburb of Belfast.

Now, here’s something that I found surprising, especially given the number of DeLoreans that I’ve seen on the road over the years: Production of the Irish-built DeLorean DMC-12, the only model built by DMC, lasted for a very brief amount of time. The first cars rolled off the assembly line in 1981, and the final cars cleared the line in late 1982 (the last few cars were considered 1983 models). Production figures vary, but most agree that when they finally closed the factory doors after just two years of production, the number of DMC-12s built by the factory was around 9,000 cars total.

Unfortunately, the complete story of the DeLorean Motor Company is not a long one, nor is it particularly happy. That had a lot to do with money, politics and the activities of the company’s founder, John DeLorean. If you’d like to read a quick account of exactly what went down, a short article from The Eighties Club does a pretty good job of concisely documenting the rise and fall of DeLorean’s dream.

So what’s a DeLorean owner supposed to do when he or she needs a repair component or perhaps a replacement stainless steel body panel? Good news … the remaining parts were purchased after the company went bankrupt, and the name was even sold after the trademark registration was not renewed. The (relatively) new DeLorean Motor Company has five locations in the U.S. and one in Europe that will be happy to sell you new, original or reconditioned parts for your aging DeLorean sports car. They’ll even sell you a certified pre-owned DeLorean or a brand new DeLorean built to your specifications.

More DeLorean stuff:
How the DeLorean Works
1981-1982 DeLorean DMC-12
Stainless Steel

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