Dealer Installed Turbo: 1982 DeLorean DMC-12

One of the most commonly criticized aspects of the DeLorean was the fact that for a sports car, it lacked performance. That may not be an issue with this particular example, as a dealer-fitted turbocharger installation holds the promise of some much-needed performance improvements. If the lack of performance is the thing that has held you back, then perhaps this is the DeLorean that you’ve been looking for. It is located in Lowville, New York, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $19,600 in a No Reserve auction. The DeLorean has certainly sparked some interest since being listed for sale because there are currently 153 watching the listing.

With a brushed stainless steel body, visible rust is never going to be an issue with a DeLorean. The rust that you have to worry about is under the vehicle, and the owner provides a number of clear photos of the floors and frame. The frame of this particular DeLorean does exhibit some surface corrosion, and it looks like the original epoxy coating is starting to really peel away. I’d be inclined to address this pretty quickly before the frame has a chance to deteriorate badly. The finish of the stainless steel exterior is looking a bit patchy, but this might respond okay to a good clean. As is pretty normal with a DeLorean, the urethane front and rear sections have discolored quite noticeably. This could quite easily be addressed, but it is also worth remembering that the color match between these sections and the stainless steel were never that great, even when the cars were new.

With a 2,849cc V6 engine producing 130hp trying to push along a vehicle weighing 2,743lbs, the performance of the DeLorean is, at best, quite disappointing. While it could wind out to an ultimate top speed of 130mph, it was a car that was in no real hurry to get there. With a 0-60mph time of 9.6 seconds and a ¼ mile time of 17.2 seconds, the standard DeLorean was really up against it. It’s worth remembering that these are the times set by a car equipped with the 5-speed manual transaxle. The automatic version was painfully slow. This particular vehicle is fitted with the 5-speed transaxle, and it’s also fitted with something of a performance upgrade. The engine is now turbocharged, although it does look like it is a single unit. This is halfway towards what was in the pipeline for the DeLorean when the whole company turned up its toes. A prototype fitted with a twin-turbocharged V6 had been built, and it was said to be showing some real promise. It isn’t clear what sort of power increase this installation has provided, but the owner does say that the car runs and drives really well. As an aside, the badges that have been fitted to both front fenders which announce the car’s forced-induction status look suspiciously like they may have previously called the flanks of a Saab home.

The interior of the DeLorean generally presents quite well and has aged better than some examples that we’ve seen. There are no pressing presentation or upholstery issues that will need to be addressed, and the only non-original item that I can spot is what I believe to be a boost gauge just to the right of the steering column. With a DeLorean, you received a reasonable level of standard equipment, including power windows, air conditioning, an AM/FM radio/cassette player, a tilt and reach wheel, power exterior mirrors, and a rear defogger.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the DeLorean, but this is one that I wouldn’t mind having a drive of. That turbo installation promises to release some additional horsepower, and it would be interesting to see just what sort of difference this would make to the driving experience. The car wasn’t a success when it was new, but perhaps this car will give someone an idea of just how good it really could have been.


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  1. SaabVertGuy

    Good eye!! Those are definitely Saab original Turbo badges on the sides. Those were used on the rear of 900 classics up until the body change in 1994.

    Like 2
  2. LARRY

    I’d honestly rather have the brown v6 chevette

    Like 14
  3. Dave

    At least we don’t have to hear from the patina haters, lol!

    Like 8
  4. Classic Steel

    Never say no worries about Deloreans with rust.
    They make aftermarket frames but get the wallet should it happen.

    Just saying check the frames on these super cool cars to be safe.

    I have a friend who has a five speed one in great shape and thats the one thing he has stated before to me on these cars to be careful about.

    Like 2
  5. SebastianX1/9

    Why would anyone consider these cars when a 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo goes for $20K, and that’s basically a street-legal race car compared to this Loony Tunes Frankencar.

    Like 1
    • theGasHole

      Because a Lotus doesn’t have the Flux-Capacitor!

      Like 1
  6. JohnU

    The floors don’t rust. They are glass reinforced plastic

    Like 1
  7. Bruce

    Sebastian I have a 1989 Lotus Esprit Turbo and I have driven a Delorean and the difference is amazing. Lack of power is one thing but lack of visibility is to me far more important. I think this design has some amazing features but think Tank Slits for windows and rear window. My Lotus Europa has better side and rear vision than this design and the rear vision in the Europa is terrible. If it is behind the fire wall you will have a hard time seeing it and since you are one of the smaller cars on the road that can be very dangerous.

    They are comfortable, very elegant but the rest is a very mixed bag.

    Like 2
  8. BR

    And yet another car that didn’t get to evolve. I think it would make a great Tesla.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      In a recent article in Car & Driver, they asked 3 automotive designers to draw what they thought a modern-day Delorean would look like had they not gone belly up.

      2 of them held onto the wedge shaped design and were attractive while one just looked like an old Delorean that had been given 4 gullwing doors and a too-huge 4WD suspension.

      Like 3
      • theGasHole

        Saw that article as well, found it to be quite interesting. Really liked the renderings.

  9. hag289

    I have a friend who recently implanted a crate GM LS into his Delorean. Will have to ask how it is compared to original.

  10. Tracy

    A Boosted VPR engine wow! Let’s see how fast those cam shafts fail now! That engine was a pile no matter what it was installed in. We had a Volvo 262C which had the same engine. We put 3 sets of camshafts in it before we got rid of it. It’s Junk just like a BMW!

    Like 1
    • BR

      I would expect nothing less if I was using asphalt for lube oil and using it outside of it’s design parameters.

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