1981 DMC DeLorean With 3,495 Genuine Miles!

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Although the photos may seem to tell a different story, this 1981 DMC DeLorean has led a sheltered life. Its original owner only drove it for three years before parking it in their garage. It remained there for decades before being left out in the cold for the last five years. The lack of use means it has a genuine 3,495 miles on the clock. It needs someone willing to perform a revival on a car that has recently gained traction in the classic market. The Delorean is listed here on eBay in Van Nuys, California. Bidding has raced to $40,100 in a No Reserve auction.

Like many aspects of the DeLorean’s history, nailing down specific production totals can be challenging. The seller quotes a figure of around 8,600, which is within the ballpark suggested by various sources. They say that the original owner purchased the car in 1981. They used it regularly before parking it in their garage in 1984. That explains the extraordinarily low odometer reading because this classic hasn’t turned a wheel since. The original owner relocated around five years ago, which was when the car left its warm garage and found itself out in the cold. It looked sad when the seller purchased it, but a quick wash revealed its original stainless panels are free from bumps and blemishes. The urethane nose and rear bumper have discolored, but this is a common and accepted fact with these cars. The buyer could repaint those items, but purists won’t be phased if they are left untouched. The panels require a polish to return to their best, but that is a rewarding task the new owner could tackle. The factory wheels are in good order and are wrapped in their original Goodyear NCT tires. I was worried about the impact exposure to the elements may have had on the car’s frame, but with the factory epoxy coating intact, this DeLorean is rock-solid. There is corrosion on the suspension components, but no issues will likely cost a fortune to address.

It would be fair to say that the DeLorean represented a triumph of style over substance. Had John DeLorean’s vision come to fruition, the car would have featured a mid-engine drivetrain layout with a Ford V6 or Wankel rotary providing the power. When both powerplants fell at the first hurdle, and the legendary Colin Chapman discovered the re-engineering required to achieve the mid-engine vision, he was left with no alternative but to opt for a rear-engine configuration. What worked for Porsche through years of development was less successful in these classics. The 2,849cc PRV (Peugeot/Renault/Volvo) V6 was a heavy lump that provided a mere 130hp. Buyers could select from a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic to perform shifting duties. Most chose the five-speed, which was a wise move because the automatic’s performance could be measured with a sundial! Thankfully, this DeLorean features a manual transmission, although the drivetrain hasn’t fired a shot in anger since 1984. It is unclear whether the engine turns freely, but I would thoroughly inspect everything before hitting the key. The DeLorean features a surprisingly strong spare parts network, so genuine spares are readily available if any items require replacement.

Considering this car’s history, the lack of wear on its Gray leather upholstery is unsurprising. It has wrinkles that are part of that material’s character, but some effort with a high-quality condition should ensure it doesn’t split or deteriorate. A few trim edges are lifting due to UV exposure, but the buyer should have no trouble gluing these back in place. There are no aftermarket additions or modifications, with the original AM/FM radio/cassette player intact. Air conditioning was a standard feature on the DeLorean, but this was more of a necessity than a luxury. The enormous glass surfaces but tiny opening side windows meant cooling airflow was restricted. Without A/C, occupants could easily find themselves lightly broiled in hotter climates. As well as the cooling air and cassette player, buyers received power windows, power mirrors, a rear defogger, and a tilt-and-reach wheel.

The 1981 DMC DeLorean has found itself on many lists of the worst cars ever built, and there’s no doubt it suffered from myriad dramas. Rushed engineering, lack of a development budget, and less-than-honest business dealings doomed it from the start. However, time heals all wounds, and these cars are now one of the strongest performers in the classic market. The solid action on this non-running example demonstrates that with nine potential buyers submitting thirty-eight bids to become this car’s new owner. Recent results suggest it could nudge $50,000 before the hammer falls, and with No Reserve in play, it means that someone has the opportunity to revive this classic and enjoy all it will offer. Would you be tempted?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    It’s passed $42000.Why would anyone pay that much for
    this especially in this condition?There’s a whole lot of cooler
    stuff out there for that kind of money.

    Like 31
    • CVPantherMember

      I agree, Anglia. There are so many cooler vehicles out there for $42k.
      But I say that about every Delorean that comes on here.

      Like 19
      • djjerme

        yah, but people are paying $140K for an electric truck that has an underside bed and can’t do much truck stuff while looking like a cross between a Lincoln and two Dyson air purifiers.

        In 10 years, this will be worth more, where as the Rivian will be worth scrap (or less) because it needs a new battery.

        Like 4
  2. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    F,,flux,,FLUX CAPACITOR,,there, I said it! I’m simply appalled, someone would leave this outside. While I never saw the movies, you’d have to be living under a bridge not to know what a special car it was. Again, we don’t why but people is the craziest people.
    I know, DeLoreans personal shenanigans, but I think he just made some promises he couldn’t keep. He was bold enough to make a car we had never seen, the mid-engine coupe. Too bad the world wanted Dodge Omnis at the time. Very cool cars.

    Like 9
  3. Uncle Buck

    I have a friend with one of these running and driving. It gets looks and is cool to drive for the first 20 miles then u realize can’t see nuthin out of it. And when it breaks every is expensive and even dmc or whoever owned all the parts doesn’t have everything you need. Try to get an eval core for the AC to work. Nope and even in New Hampshire it’s hotter than hell inside these with just those two tiny windows lol. Cool to see but not to own if ya like driving your cars.

    Like 18
    • AvantiDMC

      The AC system was designed by Harrison Radiator (look it up if you don’t know) and a well-maintained system will freeze you out of the car even in Phoenix, Arizona in the summer time. I owned #10570 there for years and it was often my daily driver. Everything for the AC system is available – evaporator cores, compressors, new AC lines, condensers, driers – you name it.

      I believe I can see better out of the DeLorean than I can out of the late-model RAM truck or Cherokee I drive with their wide a- and b-pillars. The more you drive a DeLorean you learn where to look to see. Bigger problem is DeLorean is just a hair under 45″ tall – people in big SUV’s and trucks can’t see it.

      DeLorean parts are a lot less expensive than any of the Porsches or Jaguars I’ve owned over the years. Considering how few were made (<9000) over 2 years, that's no small feat.

      Like 6
      • Howie

        A early Lotus Europa is 42″ tall.

        Like 0
  4. Terrry

    If it wasn’t for “Back To The Future”, these hopeless piles would be on the forgotten dust heap of history. I lump these in with late 60s Chargers as being hopelessly overpriced. But at least a running Charger can get out of its own way.

    Like 17
  5. Mike

    I might be interested, but not at $40k plus….forget it. I don’t need a money pit like that…

    Like 4
  6. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    Agree, quite high on the ask…..food for thought, I understand a gentleman in California has all the unused original DMC parts stashed in a warehouse, from when DMC was liquidated….

    One hell of a challenge for the new owner, best of luck! 🤓

    Like 3
    • SubGothius

      You may be thinking of the DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas (near Houston), which acquired all the remaining backstock of parts along with rights to the old company name and DMC logo.

      They even proposed building a limited series of “new” DMC-12s out of those NOS parts and some reproduction items, but this is on hold pending EPA and NHTSA finalizing implementation of the Low Volume Vehicle Manufacturing Act of 2015. Meanwhile, DMC can take any basketcase original DeLorean and make a “ship of Theseus” new one out of it, bearing an ’80s title by reusing the original VIN and manufacturer’s plates.

      Like 10
      • BTG88

        NHTSA green lit the LVVMA in Q1 last year following SEMA filing a lawsuit for inaction.

        Like 3
      • AvantiDMC

        The biggest hold-up is that there are still NO internal combustion engines offered by any manufacturer that are approved for this LVVM program.Only vehicles that can be legally produced under this program would be an EV.

        Without some automobile manufacturer willing to have even one of their engines certified for this program by the EPA, no one is building anything.

        Like 0
  7. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologistMember

    Believe it or not, people DO leave these outside.. and 1977 Trans Am right next to it. I found these a couple years ago sitting in the driveway of an abandoned house in Fairfield Cty, CT. I was able to track down the owner of the house and contacted him about the cars (there was a 67 Fleetwood there too) I ended up finding buyers pretty quickly as the house had been sold and he needed to get them gone. We got $25,000 for the Delorean.

    Like 19
    • PRA4SNW

      I used to see a Delorean parked under a half collapsed temporary carport.

      There must have been a time when these things were worthless and could be picked up cheap. Then the owner realized how much it was going to cost to keep it running, or some sad story like that.

      Like 0
  8. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I remember driving these back in the 80’s. With manual transmission and I laugh how slow it was. My father’s 4dr Dodge Coronet 360-2 could smoke it from a light!! It was all about show and no go! Try to get parts for it today you will be crying about it!! There is so many different parts of other cars in it … It will drive you crazy… It’s at $43,000 with 4days to go. Why? 🤦

    Like 7
    • AvantiDMC

      DeLorean was stock with 130hp and 2,800 pounds – what did the Coronet have? I’ve also consistently gotten mid-upper 20s mpg on the highway in my DeLorean on regular 87 octane. What did the Dodge get?

      Read up on CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) and the Gas Guzzler tax if you aren’t familiar with it. You can see why DeLorean – with only one model to sell – went for mileage over brute power during the gas crisis of the late 70s/early 80s.

      Like 3
  9. Roger ross

    Could paid for costs if you deal cocaine

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

      Again, he was acquitted of all drug charges.

      Like 14
  10. John Vizzusi

    My first thoughts as a past owner is the Aquittal of John DeLorean. The fact is I inherited in Carmel one of these things. It was burried under boxes of bar supplies and salt water air attacked anything and everything not stainless steel. It was sold at Pebble Beach quickly.

    I mention DeLorean because we all somehow forget he attempted to sell these cars for 25k when our Nation was broke and out of gas. This led to his bright idea of bailing himself out of his misery by becoming a cocaine dealer. Not a joke… this car is.
    JV – Smash Palace

    Like 4
  11. Autoworker

    I managed a Odd/Big Lots store back in the ’80s. (Consolidated Stores) Could have bought a new Delorean with my 20% discount. LOL.

    Like 1
  12. eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

    They say it doesn’t run, then someone explain why all the gauges are activated and tach parked about 1900 rpm?

    Like 1
    • chad catalano

      They are all like that with the ignition off.

      Like 2
      • AvantiDMC

        Just like other GM cars of that same era – DeLorean instrument clusters were made by AC-Delco.

        Like 0
  13. Big C

    These things were garbage right out of the gate. That they’re getting $50k for a roach like this, tells you a lot about the psyche of todays collectors.

    Like 4
    • Grant

      Todays collectors belong to the class of society that doesn’t care about money because they have more than they know what to do with. A sad statement about economics for most of us, and an even sadder statement for society as a whole. The root of so many of our problems today.

      Like 6
      • Idiot Boy

        No truer words have ever been spoken, Grant. The paradigm has definitely changed. We are being fleeced in every calculable metric by our Elite Overlords who are currently leading us headlong into WWIII. On a positive note, betcha classic car prices will level off a bit come nuclear winter.

        Like 1
      • Richard Kirschenbaum

        If you look at Facebook and Craigslist, you can still get into the hobby for the price of a decent used car. There are many $15-20K collectable drivers from almost every era that are virtually turnkey. Just look beyond what everyone else seems to crave. EG Bargains like: ’66 Olds Toronado, ’67-76 Eldo, Citroen Traction Avant. Ford Shoeboxes, MGTDs. Don’t quite know what you mean with your comment about the super-rich and I hope you’re not advocating wealth re-distribution, the ultimate false God.
        i don’t dislike the super-rich, I just want to know their secrets. It usually turns out to be hard work, vision and maybe the proper spouse selection.

        Like 5
      • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologistMember

        Hear, Hear Mr. Kirschenbaum,
        As a matter of fact, my website is full of those “bargains” of which you speak. Feel free to look me up and see what’s on the docket.

        Like 0
      • Idiot Boy

        You wanna talk wealth redistribution? In the past decade alone, a small percentage of Elites have conquered far more of the collective wealth than the wealthy have ever held in modern history. Along with it, the power to force an increasingly poorer, ever more powerless underclass to bow to their will. There ain’t nothing right about it no matter how one tries to sugar coat such ignominious behavior. They are bringing down civilization.

        Commodifying and driving the prices of classic cars (and everything else that isn’t Made in China junk) into the stratosphere well beyond the reach of traditional car hobbyists is merely a footnote. But certainly an illustrative one. A warning shot if you will.

        Like 3
      • Ward William

        Don’t even get me started Grand and Idi0t boy. I hear you both. I was this week year old when I discovered the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. It is stuck right out in the middle east desert and IMHO this cat has literally stolen part of our vehicle and aerospace heritage. He buys classic cars, planes and western technological artifacts like I buy pizza. And I will stick my neck out here at the expense of being called a ra(ist but “his people” played no part at all in developing our modern technology and they were still themselves in the stone age long after our industrial revolution was under way. The sheer volume and quality of cars he has there makes me weep because short of going to the Quatar desert, we will never see these vehicles again. And considering these people will abandon a supercar in the desert if it runs out of gasoline, I fear for the long term future of these cars. Take a look at his museum, I dare you all. It is painful.

        Like 2
  14. Ward William

    Throw that damn useless engine away and put a Suby flat 4 in it.

    Like 3
  15. Thomas L. Kaufman

    I’ll wager that this car will nickel and dime the new owner to death, unless it is rebuilt. And then, he or she will have more money in it than it is worth. It is selling for more than it is worth now.

    Like 5
  16. Steve

    “This is a 10 Day Auction No Reserve!!! World wide buyers are all welcome!!! Buyers are Responsible for Shipping!!! Vehicle is being Sold As is!! Bidders with zero Feedback must contact me before bidding!! $1000 Non Refundable Deposit due with in 24hrs after auction ends!!! Full payment must be received with in 72hrs after auction ends!! I only Except wire transfer cashiers check or cash in person World wide buyers are welcome!!!”

    Exclamation!!! points!!! are!! optional!!!

    Like 3
  17. Troy

    For the most part the value is only going to go up $42k is a lot of money for something you just don’t know I don’t have that kind of coin to drop on a project like this but if I could because of the low mileage I would do a engine out detail then detail the rest of it and send it to Mecum or Batter Jackson to try and recover the investment

    Like 2
  18. sonnyMember

    We had two retail outlets in PA called “Unclaimed Freight” that had approx. 9 of these for sale …. bought at lower than wholesale at the time and new. Many would not run /start; had inherent engine problems and were generally very poorly designed. Could not give them away …. disaster right out of the gate and today, still are! A very successful auto salesman remarked” There is an ass for every seat”!

    Like 2
  19. Howie

    Why not get rid of the leaves and put some air in the tires?? Sellers feedback is (5).

    Like 2
  20. Richard Kirschenbaum

    When John Zachery Delorian, who was in line for the presidency of GM up and quit to produce his own car, I expected he was about to spring a world beater/game changer that might even fly. What a disappointment this turned out to be. It’s little more than a high-priced kit car with stupid gimmicks (gull wing doors) and performance to match. A Corvair Spyder delivered a lot more for far less money. Hell, a hopped up Bradley might even do it.

    Like 3
  21. douglas hunt

    I don’t really dislike them, but IF I was going to have one, it would be this one: https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/car-design/videos/a30671/the-ls-powered-delorean-is-all-we-ever-wanted/

    Like 1
  22. Paul apyan

    Well I find all the comments about the Delorean very interesting .
    I have had mine for 15 years . Seldom a problem. Everything works
    I do sone of the maintainable and have sent it to Delirean Midwest twice for major servicing.. I don’t apologize for having the resources to keep this car preserved, safe, and running smoothly .
    It appears that several people gave never heard of the Stage 2 and Stage 3 engine. Also available and pushes the horsepower to nearly 300hp.
    This particular Delorean should clean up really well and with sone extra bucks be awesome.
    I am not skillful enough to be able to perform all the mechanical work but I can afford to have it done.
    This particular car needs the two recalls to be performed .

    Like 4
  23. Paul Apyan

    AvantiDMC makes several excellent points.
    Parts are available
    Ac works great, better on R 12.
    His point about being so low the Delorean is in fact hard to see, but as the driver the visibility is good.
    The driver has to be aware that he can’t be seen.
    I have several collector cars ranging from a 1902 Oldsmobile to this one. The Delorean clearly draws the most attention and comments
    Delorean s gave a strong following from multiple age groups for various reasons.
    Few cars have that

    Like 3
  24. Terry Bowman

    Not saying it is not a cool car, it is….. but the price for the condition it is in, is off.

    Like 0

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