People say they want to buy a DeLorean because they think it’s a time machine, but maybe they should go after one that’s a time capsule. Just to make it clear, this is probably a bad idea. A couple of years ago, Tyler Hoover bought one for $14,000 and said it was more expensive to fix than any of his other cars, which is saying something.
However, despite its flaws, this is one of the coolest automobiles ever made, and we just found a really expensive example.
DeLorean prices have gone up continuously with a noticeable spike in the market last year. Somebody bought a clean 1981 example on BAT for a quarter of a million dollars, and since then, owners have become a little greedy.
We found this stunning-looking example with low miles, one owner, and the coveted ground effects kit. Garage Kept Motors is selling the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 for $104,900 and claim it has done just 3,310 miles since being purchased over 40 years ago. So yes, it is way above the market average, but it could be worth it.
1981 is the first model year in the original DeLorean’s short life. The car is famous for being made out of stainless metal and appearing in 1985’s blockbuster Back to the Future. However, there’s so much more to it than that.
John DeLorean was the rock star of the Detroit executive world. Credited with the genesis of two iconic cars, the Pontiac GTO and the Firebird, he became the youngest head of any GM division at 40 years old, in 1965. By 1969, he was promoted as the head of the Chevrolet brand, earning $4 million a year in today’s money.
DeLorean was the VP of the largest company in the world, yet he routinely violated the official GM dress code. He associated with celebrities, appeared in magazines, and even played the saxophone. By the mid-1970s he was ready to capitalize on his image and create his own company. Even by the standards of that era, creating a car company from scratch was hugely ambitious, but DeLorean was an ambitious man.
The DMC-12 owes its beauty to another famous man, probably the greatest car designer of all time, Giorgetto Giugiaro. The sports car is small, under 45 inches tall with about 5 inches of ground clearance. Most of the criticism directed at this car has to do with either reliability or the engine.
But if you want an original DMC-12, it’s still got to have the 2.85-liter V6 engine. That means 130 horsepower from the infamous French engine, in this case, matched to a 3-speed automatic gearbox, which is generally seen as less desirable.
Officially, the engine is referred to as the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) ZMJ-159 V6, and people love to joke about how the DeLorean needs about 10 seconds for a 0 to 62 sprint. Of course, a lot of 1980s cars were slow, and Donut recently pointed out how the DMC-12 is faster than a 1000 hp Hummer EV.
There’s a DMC-12 Turbo… somewhat officially
John DeLorean actually intended for the sports car to have a Citroën/NSU Comotor Wankel engine, which would have made it even more interesting. However, this was discontinued before the 12er went into production. But it didn’t stop there.
The DMC-12 Turbo model was planned, and a prototype reportedly shaved up to 3 seconds from the 0 to 62 time. The turbocharged version was supposed to sell for $7,500 extra over the standard model. However, the whole FBI… large shipment of drugs thing happened, and the company was already in shambles.
It didn’t stop there because many companies developed their own turbocharging. I don’t which one this is, but the seller claims it was fitted by the dealership, and it’s a twin-turbo system. I found a similarly piped system developed by a company called Turbo Manifold Co and it had IHI RHB5 turbochargers. There’s no word on the power output, but it’s easily over 200 hp.
Between that, the ground effects package, spoiler and stripe kit, you could argue that this is an ultimate DeLorean.