The DMC DeLorean (simply as a “DeLorean”) is a sports car originally manufactured by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company, or DMC, for the American market from model years 1981 through 1983.
The car, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, stood out for its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless-steel outer body panels, as well as an innovative fiberglass body structure with a steel backbone chassis. Initially, it became widely known for its disappointing lack of power and performance, which didn’t match the expectations created by its looks and price tag, but later – after 1985 – the DeLorean became iconic for its appearances as the time machine in the Back to the Future media franchise.
The first prototype appeared in October 1976 and was known as the DSV-1, or DeLorean Safety Vehicle. As development continued, the model was referred to as the DSV-12 and later the DMC-12 since DMC was targeting a $12,000 MSRP at release. After several delays and cost overruns, production finally began in 1981 as DMC officially dropped the name DMC-12 on their now $25,000 car in favor of the model name “DeLorean.” The DeLorean sports car, as it was described in advertisements, began production on January 21, 1981.
The factory was located in Dunmurry, a suburb of Lisburn, near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Throughout production, the car was generally unchanged although minor features and parts of the car were changed, such as the alternator, radio, antenna, hood style, and wheels. Over the course of about 24 months spanning three model years, about 9,000 DeLoreans were made before production halted in early 1983.
The DeLorean was the only model produced by the company, which was later liquidated as the US car market went through its largest slump since the 1930s. In 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean cars were thought to still exist.