Live Auctions

18 Original Miles: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12


Over the past year or so we noticed a lot of low-mileage DeLoreans hitting the market. We actually just launched a new t-shirt to celebrate that fact! Well, here is yet another and this one is claimed to have only covered 18 miles since new! Yes, you read that right – eighteen miles! How does that even happen? It still has the window sticker and original tires in place. The later will need to be replaced if the next owner wants to add miles, but I have a feeling they will just stash it away so someone in the future can go back in time. It’s located in Diamond, Missouri and is listed here on eBay.


There’s the odometer! Thar number is not necessarily proof of mileage though so we need to take a close look at the rest of the car…


Everything looks pretty clean under here. More photos would be nice, but I don’t see anything obvious that would indicate higher mileage. The fuel system has been all gone through recently so the engine runs right.


It’s surprising that the seller didn’t even take a few minutes to give the mats a quick vacuuming. Let’s just hope that grim is from people climbing in and out of the car. Some closeups of the pedals and other wear surfaces would be helpful.


Here’s the window sticker. Again not proof of anything, but it is nice to have. Look ma, no options! That price tag seems like a bargain, doesn’t it? Well, I used an inflation calculator and $26k would be like $69k today!


There are a few areas that give me concern, but overall this car appears to be in excellent condition. Do you think the mileage claim is legit though? If so, this could be the perfect way to do some time traveling!


Even if you can’t afford the real thing, here’s your chance to get a t-shirt with a DeLorean on it. Better hurry though because ordering closes tonight!


  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    What’s the point? – pretty crap investment – I’d be scared to start it

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      I said right in the post that the fuel system has been completely gone through and that it runs great. You may not like them, but there is no denying the fact that low-mileage examples like this are on their way up!

      Like 1
      • Adam Wright

        Jesse, almost every DMC is low miles, as are Maserati Bi-Turbo’s, it’s because they as a group never ran right. I’m not saying there aren’t high miledge examples, dedicated mechanics can make anything run, but when these were still new many of them sat in garages on flat tires because the owner’s got sick of being let down, or their wive’s wouldn’t even go through the motions anymore and get in.

        Like 1
    • Motorsport Warehouse

      You obviously haven’t been watching their values over the last 5 yrs…

      Like 1
  2. Bill Terwilleger

    Sorry, something doesn’t add up. Either the seller is over confident, doesn’t want to really sell, or… well… you know the rest. Look at the drivers seat bottom. And if you really want prime top dollar why would you not put it on a lift and show off where you really an tell if it’s got 18 miles or not.. and as the writer pointed out…. you don’ vacuum out the car before take photos? Hmmmm.

    • Ken Smith

      That driver’s seat was the first thing I noticed! That along with the dirty carpet, and did you notice all the dirt on the pedals? Somethng fishy here!

  3. Matt

    Am I wrong in wanting one to put a Chevy v8 LS conversion in? I’ve seen one and I was hooked. A car that looks fast should go fast I say.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      No, but you would want to start with something that already had a blown engine or other problems instead of hacking up a perfectly good survivor.

  4. Aaron

    I don’t know if I believe the mileage. Driver’s seat looks worn. Lots of dirt on the floor mat for the driver. Did they just get in and sit there? The door for the tape deck looks well used too. Maybe they just got in and listened to the stereo. Or maybe it isn’t just 18 miles.

    • S Ryan

      Agree don’t get the dirty used interior. Rest does look like 18 miles. Probably sat there listening to Depeche Mode to much.

    • Joe

      Does anyone else think the steering wheel is worn? Did the interiors start to look off color or was it smoked in?

      My dad had a non running mustang and HD would go out there and sit in it and get drunk, Smoke and listen to James Taylor (8 track!).

      That’s got to be the case here.

    • Joe

      Does anyone else think the steering wheel is worn? Did the interiors start to look off color or was it smoked in?

      My dad had a non running mustang and He would go out there and sit in it and get drunk, Smoke and listen to James Taylor (8 track!).

      That’s got to be the case here.

  5. Jim L

    I’m going to play the bovine fecal matter card here. No way it has 18 miles on it. The trip odometer reset button has scratches on it, the heater control has a blemish on it and the pedals look worn. Furthermore, it has moved 750 miles from where it was sold. I seriously doubt that someone would trailer the car that far after having just bought it.
    It is also for sale on…

    Also, I have seen tires dry rot from age, but never separate.

    I’m sure it is low mileage, but not 18 miles.

    • Joe

      I bet someone went out there quite often, started it up, pulled it out of the garage and would sit in the driveway with the heat or ac on and listen to some tunes.

      Look at the dash pad, it’s yellowed like it’s been smoked in. They probably sat in there and smoked too. Look at the plastic dmc cover on the engine. The “c” has been hot. It’s sat there and idled a lot. I wish all cars had hour meters in them.

      My dad had a non running mustang in the garage for years. It was from his glory days and he would often go sit in it and listen to the radio and drink beer and try to figure out where his life went wrong.

      James Taylor music and alcohol don’t mix folks. Found him in that mustang passed out drunk more than once. You can’t drink away the blues if your listening to sad songs. I have sat in my car trying to figure out life before, but I listen to lady Gaga or something upbeat.

  6. grant

    I’m not so sure either. Seat bottom looks like it’s got some wear, as does the steering wheel. Maybe they just sat in it. Or, maybe they did like I did as a teen when I wanted to drive dad’s cars without him knowing and disconnected the speedo cable.

  7. Mark S

    Is it a bird is it a plane no! It’s just another DMC Dullwing, que the crickets….!

  8. Eric Dashman

    I think all of the negative comments are off base on this one. The so-called yellowing of the steering wheel and dash look like lighting and camera reflections and nothing more. The minor debris on the floor mats can be created by one or two entries into the car. I don’t see any evidence in the engine compartment of it being run regularly. The only things I note are the plastic of the instrument panel face at the bottom curling up (as plastic is wont to do over time) and the heater and ashtray alignment look a bit off (as if the factory build was less than stellar….which we know to be true of these cars). The slight pillowing of the seat upholstery bottom can be explained by the difficulty getting in and out of the cars. If you’ve never done it, it’s like falling into an arm chair from the side…and getting out requires considerable wiggling and struggle. Why you’d have only 18 miles on a car is beyond me, but some collectors aren’t drivers.

  9. Jim C

    No way this car has 18 miles – too many signs of wear and tear.. I call BS as well as many folks on here! Buyer beware!

  10. kieran.M

    cool find never thought one of tho”s would have 18 original miles cool

  11. Dolphin Member

    Interesting opinions on this DMC and on DMCs in general.

    I wondered the other day when another low-mile DMC was posted on Barn Finds whether they are fun to drive. People said they do get driven even if I don’t happen to see them on the road where I am, but…..

    is the car fun to drive, does it handle well, and go well?


  12. Rex Kahrs Member

    Those tires could have the original air!

  13. Robert

    This is not a true “18” mile car. Take a look at the foot pedals, they are clearly worn out at the edges, the drivers seat has lost its firmness from people driving this more than “18” miles. The dashboard looks to have been taken out, and the console has worn marks, and there are other indications of extended usage of this car. Who ever buys it will be sorry for not looking at the images carefully.


    • JET

      I was thinking the same. Foot pedals look WORN, not just dirty.

  14. The One

    after a number of years fabric and foam break down. Maybe someone with a large caboose sat in it and crushed the seat? Maybe little kids sat in it and played cars!
    I used to do that. Didn’t you?
    Dig the red wire wrapped around a bic pen on the AC.

  15. cyclemikey

    Asking on Barn Finds whether anyone wants to dispute the mileage is like asking the kids if they want to go out for ice cream.

    And as usual, most of the ‘smoking guns’ are utter nonsense that you can’t possibly judge from ebay photos without seeing the car in person. As many have suggested, it looks a lot as if the car was used as a playhouse or man cave.

    The one interesting question brought up was how did the car get from Colorado to where it is now? But I suppose if someone bought it as a future collectible, he might have shipped it or trailered it. I’ve trailered a new car a couple times, not for that reason but just because it was convenient. After all this time, who knows. Someone looks to have paid 39.5K for it, so I assume it passed the sniff test in person.

  16. Murray

    Condition of the front seat is yelling loudly that 16 miles is more like 16000 miles.

  17. MrBlueOval 57

    1.21 Giga-Watts,!!! Great Scott, Marty !!! It’s definitely a possibility of 18 miles These cars were new over 30 years ago. Take something and let it set for 30 years and see what shape it looks like after that time frame whether used or just sitting still. I doubt it was locked up and put under a cover for 30 years. It was probably unlocked and has had many visitors over the years, jumping in it even putting their feet on the pedals pretending they are Marty McFly and are going 88 mph which this DeLorean probably couldn’t do anyway if it tried. I heard these were very slow. but either way the wear and tear on the seat, steering wheel and foot pedals is probably from just that. The carpet doesn’t look worn, just dirty so depending on the surface this car was parked on, I would say it was a dirty and dusty place with an open side door or even garage door letting weeds, grass and who knows what blow in from time to time and then got picked up on people’s shoes from them climbing in and out of the car during that time. Since probably kids or even adults playing Marty McFly were in and out of the car. I’m wondering if mice got in the car though. They can get in thru the tightest place with their flexible spines. They love making nests in old cars that are just sitting around. They also just love chewing on copper wire behind the dash and can literally destroy an old car in no time at all without you even noticing it until you finally decide to try to start it and find out nothing happens because all the wires are all chewed thru. . Stainless steel doesn’t rust so there’s not going to be anything going on on the exterior except maybe a small ding or two. I would drop the trans pan and see if there is any shavings in the pan. That should tell if it’s 18 miles or 100,018 miles. It’s one or the other. The pan should be clean as a whistle with 18 miles but definitely some form of shavings with the latter. Car was probably transported to this location 30 years ago when car transportation was dirt cheap so that would explain the lack of more miles. There weren’t a lot of DeLorean dealers and they were scattered few and far between so transportation may have been included in the price or in the destination charges just to make a sale. Not like today when everything is an added price on a new car. Definitely worth a look-see in person though. Just think of all the looks and attention you’ll get if you bought it. Especially if you put a big food processor on the trunk, LOL !!!

  18. Philip

    I drove one of these back in the 90″s for a few weeks when it was offered from a friend who owns a local recording studio. The car had 6800 miles on it and was a stick. Stick DeLoreans are lucky to hit 88 MPH dropping off a mountain cliff, automatics would be like driving a 3cyl Geo Metro with AC on and a dead hole. That said the car I drive ran fine for a Peugeot with Bosch FI in 93, but the car was much cleaner and the seat among other things didn’t look like this one nor did the carpet, pedals, mats, dash..this car has more, way more than 18 miles on it. Either it’s been rolled back, the cable is broken or disconnected, the miles were in excess of mechanical limits or the speedo/ odo was replaced.

    I didn’t buy the DeLorean much to my Chagrin, though I offered 3500$.., the owner wanted the princely sum of 6500$ and wouldn’t drop below 5K$. So I walked away..boy was I dumb.. I’m stlll kicking myself to this day.

  19. Bill Robertson

    Speaking as a multiple DeLorean owner: take any odometer reading with a grain of salt. DeLorean speedometer is driven by an infamously failure prone right angle gear drive on the front wheel. Many owners, myself included, keep an RPM/MPH cross reference chart in the glovebox to estimate our speed if/when the angle drive breaks. In the bad old days replacement angle drives were prohibitively expensive, so I drove my car on the cross reference chart for half a decade — my odometer is nearly 40,000 miles low (I put about 8,000 miles per year on my primary DeLorean). Even cars with replacement angle drives can be low: factory configuration is 8:9 gear ratio, some replacement drives are 1:1 ratio, which causes the odometer (and speedometer) to read about 12% low.

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