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Back to the Future in Houston

2008-09-04 07:17
It was a 80s icon. Now you can have a practica

It was a 80s icon. Now you can have a practically ‘new’ DeLorean with improved power thanks to Texas entrepreneur Stephen Wynne’s DMC Houston operation.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer DELOREAN
Model DMC-12
Engine 2.8-litre V6
Power 142kW
DeLorean, the tragically heroic cult car of the 1980s, is quietly being revived in Texas.

Made famous by the nuclear powered Back to the Future role it played as Michael J Fox’s passport through time, DeLorean was a tragically damned venture, typifying the 1980s era it owed its short existence to.

The famous movie car

The brainchild of Michigan engineer John De Lorean, the DMC-12 had a spectacularly short production run – 1981 to 1982 – until the money ran out and production ceased at the Dunmurry facility in Northern Ireland.

A drug trafficking charge was brought against De Lorean in 1982, which he successfully defended himself against, yet the man who brought the world the Pontiac GTO and DMC-12 would never build a car again.

Despite its insignificant production run of less than 9 000 units, the DeLorean DMC-12 became a cultural icon thanks to its role in the Back to the Future movies. Due to the limited numbers and subsequent movie image novelty value, mint condition cars command a premium on the collectors market.

A new collectable

Market forced should see prices easing, as new supply is coming on line from the rejuvenated DeLorean production facility in Texas under the auspices of DMC Houston.

For just under $60 000, you get an authentic DeLorean featuring the rear-engined V6 layout, unpainted stainless-steel finish and gullwing doors.

DMC Houston belongs to British mechanic Stephen Wynne, who spent most of the 1980s working on DeLoreans in Los Angeles.

A veritable DeLorean specialist, Wynne took a huge gamble buying up the entire DeLorean parts pool from Ohio based auto supply company Kapac Co. for an undisclosed amount in 1997.

With all the available remaining DeLorean parts in his warehouse, Wynne was ready for business, having already phoned up John De Lorean back in 1995 asking if he could use the original name for his refurbished cars, and with the original founder’s blessing, DMC Houston was well on its way.

Contemporary DeLoreans with more power

Wynne estimates he has enough parts to produce 500 cars, which should add up to a neat niche market production run, even though the DMC Houston DeLoreans use 20% new parts per car and feature stainless steel frames with lighter fibreglass underbodies.

The Peugeot-Renault V6 engine has been upgraded from the paltry 100kW original output to a more driveable 142kW.

Even though the 500 unit production run exempts DMC Houston cars from any crash safety or emission controls, engineering a front airbag conversion for a 38 year old design will not be the work of a moment for safety conscious customers who will demand better protection.

Wynne has just produced the first two customer ordered cars from the new 80/20 parts bin blend of old and new components.

South Africans will find it extraordinarily hard to import a left-hand drive one, and the possibility of Wynne sourcing one of the sixteen right-hand drive examples built for the British market for refurbishment is negligible.

If you desperately still want to play out Back to the Future fantasies locally, a matt-black, 1984 Toyota Hilux single cab 4x4, with chromed mags and roll-bar is the apt replacement.


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