1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Sold For £19,600Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Sotheby's - LONDON 8 - 9 SEPTEMBER 2013 - From the Maat Collection
- Offered from the Maat Collection
- One of the most famous cars of modern times
- No collection is complete without one
170 bhp, 2,850 cc overhead-camshaft light-alloy V-6 engine with C.I.S. fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel power assisted disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,408 mm
When John Z. DeLorean stepped down from his position as the general manager of Chevrolet in 1973, it was widely reported that DeLorean “had fired General Motors”. Always ambitious and willing to try new things, the talented salesman and engineer was planning to go his own way with a new sports car, one that would be more technically advanced and have superior safety features. He called it “the ethical sports car, for the bachelor who’s made it”.
Built in Northern Ireland under an agreement with the British government, one that partially bankrolled the DeLorean Motor Company, the DMC-12 was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, of Italdesign. It featured distinctive gullwing doors and outer body panels of brushed stainless steel, over a rear-engined, Renault-powered chassis and suspension that was largely based upon the Lotus Esprit. Colin Chapman was brought in to resolve any engineering issues.
The first 500 production DeLoreans were ready for shipment in April 1981, and the model was at first a smash success, due to its founder’s fame and innovative design. Unfortunately, the success cooled quickly, and the DeLorean Motor Company filed for bankruptcy in late 1982, after John DeLorean’s well-publicised arrest on drug trafficking charges. He was eventually acquitted, but it was too late to save his dream. Some 9,200 DeLoreans had been built, with approximately 6,500 still in existence worldwide today.
The DMC-12 presented here was originally delivered to Texas, and it boasts the five-speed manual transmission that, according to DeLorean aficionados, is absolutely essential for good performance. Believed to be entirely original, its stainless steel bodywork remains in good condition, as does the grey leather interior with matching carpets. Acquired by the Maat Collection in 1999, the car shows 24,686 miles and has recently benefitted from a light recommissioning after many years of static display.
Always a crowd pleaser, the DeLorean remains a “must have” for any collection, be it as a conversation piece or as a fun driver.