29k Mile Automatic: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Interesting jack stands

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The low-mileage DeLoreans just keep hitting the market. This one has only covered 26k miles and has supposedly been parked inside for the past 15 years. The seller purchased it from their friend and attempted to get it running, but wasn’t very successful. So they have given up and listed it here on eBay instead. The auction ends today and the bidding has not hit the reserve yet. This one is unique in that it’s fitted with an automatic. I’d rather have a manual in my stainless steel exotic, but there are surely a few people out there who would prefer this? It’s dirty, but I bet it would clean up nicely. Let’s just hope it can be made to run without having to replace too many parts because the bidding is already getting close to what a runner should go for.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. RayT

    Another one? Sorry, but I wasn’t impressed when these were brand-new, and am less impressed now. Maybe if I had seen “Back to the Future” I’d have a differnt take on these cars….

    As a former Renault owner, I break out in hives thinking about getting parts for the PRV V-6 and auto trans. I’ve heard DeLorean bits are available, but imagine they’re pricey. And that “runs for a second, quits, and can be restarted later” sounds like it might have to do with the engine-management electronics. Not an easy “fix” for the home mechanic.

    For me, too much bother, too much money, and not really a car that’s either a practical classic driver or so much fun you can ignore the shortcomings.

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    • grant

      I have no rebuttal to your comments, sir. However, you should see the movie(s). You can watch them with kids and they aren’t bad.

      Like 0
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Most of the engine management issues are fixed via a variety of aftermarket EMS offered. Big fan of coil packs and crank triggers.

      Always loved the ones that were painted. When owner was asked why they said “got sick of the stainless”. Partially right, tapping out the body panels usually revealed filler to correct damage from a previously unrevealed accident. Owner then says someone else painted it before him and then I remind him he said he got sick of the stainless. He then tells me I’m just a tire kicker, as I’m walking to my car.

      Seems to me the panels for the car would’ve have been stamped before hand and if DMC-12 wasn’t to be used they’d have an extra hole to contend with DMC-6.

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  2. viking

    The problem with DeLorean is the crappy French motor wont last to get any hi mileage, that’s why you see only low mileage cars. I never know why Volvo ever got involved with this France junk,since Volvo is a hi quality car?

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  3. Mark E

    I tend to want to agree with you Ray. I was unfortunate enough to own a Renault also and these cars had enough shortcomings BESIDES the engine that I’m not surprised that low mileage ones turn up at a regular rate. The only thing I wonder about is if the price of low mileage ones has been affected much since you can now buy a brand new one from original parts.

    Oh and would someone explain to me this ‘putting your car up on wheels’ thing? I can not imagine it does the tires any good and unless you have wheels laying around a good set of jack stands would cost about as much and actually be made for the purpose of holding your car up and not flat-spotting the tires!

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  4. viking

    You wont see any hi mileage DeLorean because of the junk motor in it. Why Volvo ever got involved with this France garbage motor is beyond me! since Volvo is a hi quality car.

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  5. Paul apyan

    I have had a 1981 delorean for 6 years. Never a problem with the engine starting or running. There were a few problems with the original ABS engine Coolant overflow tank but it was easily replaced with a new stainless steel one.
    Sorry others have problems but not me !

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  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Am I the only one who finds the naming of the car, the DMC-12 somewhat odd as it is a six?

    Was a 12 ever considered, possibly from British Leyland’s Jaguar?

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    • DolphinMember

      Ross, I read that the ’12’ in the car’s name represented the originally planned cost of the car—$12,000—so it could compete with the Corvette, which cost about the same amount back then.

      I have no way of confirming that, but that’s the usual explanation. It seems hard to believe that anyone would lock the price into the model name of a car. It seems even harder to believe that anyone would think that the DeLorean would ever be a serious competitor for the Corvette, which had an almost 3 decade head start.

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      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings Dolphin,

        Would’ve thought Mr. DeLorean would’ve had a good idea of what exactly Chevrolet was capable of when it comes to protecting the brand, after all he did introduce the GTO with Pontiac. Find it hard he could underestimate his competition that much considering he worked for a division of them that high up back in the day.
        On the other hand………the Corvettes of the later 70’s and early 80’s were pretty anemic, but at least they were dependable unlike the DMC-12.

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  7. Mark 'cuda man

    I had an identical ’81 DMC 15 years ago with 7k miles. The car was mint but had the same problem this guy is dealing with….could never get it running. Sold it for 12k “as is”. I have regrets. But it was very sad to own such a car and not drive it.

    Like 0

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