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1981 DeLorean DMC-12 With Only 26k Miles!

The DeLorean DMC-12 needs no introduction here, and this one is yet another low mileage example equipped with the preferred manual transmission. Mileage is indicated as being a low 26,100, which definitely puts in into the upper tier of DMC-12 coupes that collectors are constantly chasing. The ongoing fascination with the time traveling movie car is a head-scratcher for me, as it has all the trappings of a car whose popularity would peter off after a certain generation aged out of the collector car scene; not in the case of the DeLorean, which still goes for big money when offered in original condition like this car here on craigslist. The asking price is $53,999 and it’s located in Haverhill, Mass.

The seller only includes two photos, and one of them likely helps scratch the itch every DeLorean owner feels at least once: the desire to turn it into a time machine, which is perhaps the justification of installing neon underneath to replicate the lightning effect when Marty takes off into 1955. I actually just had the opportunity to experience a DeLorean up close and personal for the first time ever, getting a ride in one at a promotional video shoot. It’s exactly as you’d expect, as you sit quite low in the car with next to no visibility outside and the sound of a somewhat anemic V6 immediately in your ears. I learned from the owner of the car that the producers actually dubbed in engine sounds from a Porsche 928 for the acceleration scenes in the movies, which makes total sense considering the actual engine doesn’t sound all that great.

Image courtesy of Honest John Classics

The seller notes he shipped his car to well-regarded DeLorean expert PJ Grady for his “make it right” treatment, which I’m assuming is some sort of no-expense-spared overhaul of anything that can be improved on these cars. According to the gentleman I met this week, there is a fair amount of labor involved in maintaining a DMC-12, especially if you go for the time machine conversion like he did. To each their own, as there are plenty of cars I own that most enthusiasts wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole – but here’s what I’m wondering: if you’re a collector, do you believe values of time-warp DeLoreans will continue to go up?


  1. Brent

    Flux capacitor…….fluxing

    Like 3
  2. Brock S

    I read about one of these that got twin turbos it was cool

  3. Allen

    It’s connection to 80’s pop culture cement it’s status as a coveted collector’s car. I’d love to take a ride at 88 miles per hour!

    Like 4
  4. Ralph

    Had a lot of experience with these when they were new. Not a desirable car, unless your’e looking for a unicorn. Our local Ford dealer got 6 of them to sell, 5 seemed to live in the service dept. #6 lived in the owner of the dealerships garage, unused. Then he died. They had trouble selling it, even with under 100 miles. But that’s what makes this hobby fun, not everyone likes the same thing.

    Like 9
    • Fred Thompson

      This wouldn’t possibly be in central New Jersey, would it?

  5. Gary

    Cramped, hard to get in and out of, poor performance, crummy handling, hard to pay at a toll booth, poor you should it get a dent and need a repair. Besides that, what a great car! These could have been great if DeLorean had the common sense to go full mid engine and use a small block V8. Plenty of those to choose from at the time. If that had happened, they would be legendary today, and not because of some goofy movie. (though, I must say, Lea Thompson really was a dish, wasn’t she?) A car with handles decently with ample performance, plus a great look and vibe, lets you forgive a lot of other things about it.

    Like 4
  6. Moparman Member

    Saw my first one ever in the metal, unfortunately, it was broken down beside the roadway today!! :-)

  7. Steve

    Yeah, if it weren’t for the Back to the Future series it would just be another ho-hum would-be sports car. Now they’re (somewhat) desirable.

    Like 1
  8. Skippy

    I looked for over 5 years for one of these in good shape to add to my collection. Lots of issues and some…interesting design choices. The chassis is X shaped (Like Lotus) and prone to significant rust in some areas. The stainless steel body panels are attached to a fiberglass shell, which in-turn attaches to brackets and posts on the chassis. The engine is not very powerful and difficult to upgrade, and the transmission is prone to leaks and other issues and, I’m told, is very difficult to remove. All that said, I would still like to own one to have in a collection that I can drive occasionally. When I started looking, you could find with low miles and in pretty good shape for less than $20k. (All of the ones that I saw had a rusty chassis.) Now? Forget it. I guess I’ll wait for the next downturn.

    Like 1
  9. Nose Candy

    DeLorean was too busy playing cocaine trafficker in order to finance the creation of these cars rather than concentrating on making them right.

  10. Steve Clinton

    The Renault engine was a deal-breaker.

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