A New DeLorean – No Flux Capacitor Needed
Updated February 7, 2016
Mention the name DeLorean and most people immediately think of Back to the Future. Others remember John DeLorean and the company that made around 9000 DMC-12s before closing its doors in 1983. What many may not know is the entire contents of the original DeLorean factory were bought along with the branding rights and moved to the U.S. in the mid-90s. Since then, the headquarters has moved to Humble, TX and grown to include 4 other shops in California, Illinois, Washington, and Florida. They provide original (or exact replica) parts as well as full restoration services globally for any of the 6500 estimated DeLorean DMC-12s still on the road today.
Now, thanks to the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015”, DeLorean is looking to make a comeback by producing new DMC-12s from their plethora of stock parts. The new law will allow low volume manufacturers (less than 5000 vehicles) to produce and sell replica vehicles which would normally not meet modern crash standards. The act states no more than 325 replicas can be made and sold per year, though DeLorean plans to only make 300 total at around 50/year. However, these vehicles will still have to meet today’s emissions standards. The act gives the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 12 months from signing (12/2015) to issue any necessary regulations to implement the law. Hopefully this won’t be delayed, I mean it’s not like a government authority ever delayed anything…right?
So what is DeLorean planning to do? Well first they will need to set up a production line in their current building. To plan this they are meeting with a firm that set up production line operations for Jaguar’s early 90s supercar; the XJ220. The next important step is meeting current emissions standards, so they are looking to source a new engine. So far, they are in talks with two domestic and two import manufacturers for both turbo four and six cylinder engines ranging from 270 to 350hp. The wheels and tires will also need an upgrade because 14 and 15” performance tires don’t exist. VP James Espey says this may lead to a design departure from the original wheels as most customers expect to see their powerful, painted brake calipers on display behind their rims and the originals wouldn’t allow for that. New springs will be in the DMC-12 as well, likely supplied by Eibach who is the current spring supplier. There have also been talks with a “well-known German shock absorber supplier” according to the blog at newdelorean.com. The HVAC system will get a modern upgrade and replacement as while in-car entertainment with connectivity instead will replace the old AM/FM cassette deck. This likely means a touch screen according to the VP.
With an upgraded powerplant, there will also need to be changes to the transmission. Mr. Espey mentioned they may use the original transmissions with upgraded internals due to the limited availability of transaxles these days. When asked if both the manual and automatic would be available, he said they might start with the manual only for the first year. Also due to the engine change, the gauges will probably be swapped out. Aside from the potential touch screen and gauge changes, the interior will get a considerable makeover with new seats that will be more comfortable and have better bolstering.
So from the outside, the new DeLorean will look identical to the original…because it is. The real changes will be to the power plant and interior. A modern, turbo-four or six cylinder engine mated to an original transmission with better internals in a car that weighs about 2900 lbs sounds pretty impressive to me. Combine that power with an updated interior and the new DeLorean DMC-12 has the potential to be amazing and worth its target price somewhere under 100k. Although it is still early and much is subject to change; with all the upgrades in this new DMC-12 there shouldn’t be any issues sprinting to 88mph and beyond.
Stay up to date with the latest information on the new DeLorean at newdelorean.com. Pictures courtesy DeLorean Motors and Eric Climer. Many thanks to James Espey for the interview and tour around the DeLorean Motors facility.
Categories: Production Cars