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1981 DeLorean DMC-12: Outta Time

1981 DeLorean DMC-12

There are some cars that deserve to be restored, no matter how bad it looks. And even though it’s difficult to imagine just how much work it’s going to take the next owner to set it right, the work must be done. That’s the rationale floating through my head as I look at this listing here on eBay for a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with no reserve. The seller tells us he’s done the next owner a favor by stripping the car down and tackling the hard work; if it were me, I’d much rather the car be intact so I can be assured of having every nut and bolt needed to put it back together. This DeLorean doesn’t look too bad from the front, but one look at the engine bay shows you just how much labor is needed. Plus, the interior is completely sun-ravaged and will need total replacement. Are you ready to trade your future weekends for ones spent hunting down obscure DeLorean parts? Let us know in the comments below – just don’t be late for school like Marty McFly!


  1. Chris in San Diego

    If I were not in the process of moving from CA to TN and going to a house that needs a garage built first. I would take a crack at this one up to about $5,000. Anything over 5k and the gamble would lose it’S allure.

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  2. Patrick

    This is a huge but definitely worthwhile project. Of the 9000 or so DeLoreans that were originally produced, they estimate there to be only around 6000 or so remaining. One of the nice things about them is that nearly everything you need to repair or restore one is available through the “new” DeLorean company which is headquartered in Humble, TX with franchises in CA, FL, and IL. This is a fairly early car (vin 2193 I think) so it has some desirable features that later cars don’t have, such as the gas flap hood. We own four DeLoreans and other cars like a Porsche 928, a 58 Corvette, a Mustang SSP etc…..nothing gets attention and smiles like the D.

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  3. The Walrus

    One of the biggest problems, IMO, in taking a car apart to this level then deciding to sell it is that the area of the market for it becomes somewhat limited. It’s far more expensive to ship a non-running car than one that is capable of locomotion. In addition, shippers won’t let you send a bunch of loose parts with the carcass. So, in effect, the market for people without unlimited budgets, is really limited to an area where the buyer can actually go get the car themselves. This would be an interesting project that I would consider. But getting it from Utah to New England in its current state would be a daunting task to start the project.

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  4. ranger herb

    Heck, all it needs to get running is a flux capacitor and a Mr Fusion and it’ll crank right up.

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  5. Mike

    What a perfect base for an LS-1 swap!! Wish I could get it to Canada without selling the house.

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  6. Jeffrey Duddles

    It’s already flying!

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  7. Blindmarc

    Pos not worth the money.

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  8. St.Ramone de V8

    Taking a car apart this far is surely not doing anyone a favor. Hard to see this thing get back to original, although Patrick’s words make me think it’s still a “maybe”. I think it would make a great start as a tribute car to the movie DeLorean. Some geek with deep pockets may want to create his own.

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    • JimmyinTEXAS

      I think this seller had a movie car in mind when he bought it. He signed one of the answers in the question and answer section as “Marty”…

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  9. Mark E

    Since it has a clear title, I’m thinking more in the $2500-5k range. For that you could buy any parts you need and either restore the original engine or put in something that actually has performance and reliability. Admittedly that would compromise it’s collectibility though so it depends on how much the buyer wants to drive it.

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    • Mark E

      Just checked and a local recycler will pay 35-45 cents per pound for scrap stainless steel so there’s that option too…

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      • Barry

        Here in Canada $ 3.75 a pound for stainless

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  10. cory

    If it wasn’t for back to the future no one would give two sh_ts about these cars. They just weren’t very good. Even new. Even in the movie Marty couldnt keep it running. not a project I would want.

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  11. Chris A.

    I’ve always thought of these as a “sporty” car with gimmicks like the doors and stainless steel skin. Attractive car, but rushed to market with lots of compromises and bugs. Sort of like mass produced prototypes for users to finish developing. Over time, they can be made into good cars, they still look good and owners have a strong club for help and support. This could be a good car, but not at the present price point and you’ll have to do the work yourself to maybe keep your head above water.

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