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5,500 Mile 1982 DeLorean DMC12 Survivor

1982 DeLorean DMC12

Few cars are as iconic and recognizable as the DeLorean. While much of that has to do with it’s staring role in the Back To The Future movies, its design and stainless steel body are what make it so eye catching. Sadly, they are more know for their looks than their handling or performance. I’m going to guess that’s one of the reasons there are so many low mileage examples out there. This one has just 5,500 miles on the dial and looks to be in pretty nice shape. The seller found it parked in a backyard, where it had been since 1991. They’ve got it running and driving, but it still needs some work to be a daily driver. If you’ve always wanted a DMC, here is your chance to own one! Find it here on eBay in Henderson, Nevada with a current bid of $15,500.

1982 DeLorean DMC12 Chassis

While the stainless body is rust and corrosion proof, the frame isn’t. I’d want to check the frame and body mounts for rust issues, especially given that it was parked outside. From what can be seen in the seller’s photos, the frame looks good, but there could be issues you can’t see in these dark photos.

1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Engine

I’ve always wondered if things would have gone differently for the DMC had it received the originally planned rotary engine or the Ford V6 that was the second choice. The PRV engine isn’t necessarily a terrible engine, it just didn’t have enough power to make the car go as fast as it looks. With just 130 horses here in the US, it was seriously under powered. The lack of support for the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo sourced engine didn’t help matters either. Just imagine how popular these would have been with a Ford V6, or better yet a small block V8!

1982 DeLorean DMC-12

Even with all their flaws, people still love these cars, heck I love these things! Personally, I’d clean this one up a little more, fix the interior, tune the engine up and make a few suspension changes to get that Colin Chapman suspension performing the way he designed it too. This one could be a great buy if you’ve always wanted a DeLorean and don’t mind doing some work. So do you remember when the DMC debuted? What did you think of the design then and how do you feel about it now?


  1. MDS

    Looks in pretty reasonable shape. But if someone were to buy it at the current price, they would need to drop ~$10K in p&l to get the car really up to standards, and then you’re looking at being only brrak-even on possible resale. This one should really go to someone who is willing to drop that kind of scratch, and then keep the car semi-indefinitely.

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  2. wynkin

    Check the flux capacity is OK or it ain’t worth a bean!

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  3. Todd Zuercher

    The Rover in the background of the “found” photo is also interesting. It’s always amazing how many interesting vehicles are found rotting in backyards in Henderson.

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    • Moe G

      I saw that too, bummer to see it on a flat tire rotting away.

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  4. Ken Nelson Member

    I sat in what might have been the first prototype in Detroit, which had a Citroen CX 4 cyl engine before it was dropped in favor of the PRV’s higher HP. Bill Collins, who I think was Chf. engr. at the time, showed me that car, and I thought the ergonomics stunk! The center console was practically up to my shoulder, and even though I’m 6′ 4″, it seemed like a wall along the Tex-Mex border. Visibility out the right rear quarter was awful, along with the rear view. As for the styling, I don’t consider it any better than a doorstop. But that’s just my opinion.

    I was all excited when the car was first proposed, as John D was planning on using a composite chassis comprised of a structural fiberglass sandwich filled with foam, and that would have been a major innovation (if it had worked) along with the stainless body. When he dropped the chassis concept and went with Lotus’ approach, I was disappointed as I had gotten the chance to view the prototype via a proposal for an injection-molded modular city car design that made the cover of Machine Design magazine in 1980, and Collins wanted to talk with me about it. But long story short, my design didn’t make sense for high volume mass production, nor did DeLorean’s – so it reverted to what was doable at the time via the Brits. Oh well……the car still seems ugly unless it’s painted!

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    • Little_Cars Alexander Member

      There is one painted red for sale at a dealership in Franklin, Tennessee as I write this. Not sure of price, but I agree it gives the car a whole different nuance than weather equipment or doorstop.

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  5. SSPBill

    Are we sure it’s a DeLorean or is it just sensitive weather equipment?

    If I had a DeLorean I would always keep an old tarp on it just for the double-takes.

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  6. Bill

    I sat in one new in a dealerships show room. Not only was it surprisingly cramped, to where any long trip would be torture, it was remarkably expensive. Almost double the price of a Corvette.

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    • MDS

      You must have been a giant 35 years ago when you sat in one. I just did a 530-mile, 10-hour day trip in mine (I’m 6’3″, 195lb) and it was fantastic and comfortable.

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  7. angliagt

    Just the ticket,in case you want to enter an
    Irish Car Show.

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  8. Michael D.

    This car reminds me of all things sad. Here DeLorean the golden boy set out to do the impossible, and it turned out to be just that. He never recovered from the whole scene which was of course, more than the car. It had great promise, but it came out way too late. Had it hit the market 5 years previous, it might have made it. Further complicating matters was the anchor in the engine compartment. Then, while the SS body was a cool idea, after everyone had their paw prints all over it, lot’s of guys painted them. I didn’t like them when they finally arrived, and they haven’t grown on me any. That’s not where a collector wants to go with their $15K to get into the car hobby in my view.

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  9. Murray

    The reason there are so many low milage examples of these things is because so many of them were clunkers. I suspect owners realising they couldn’t sell them because of the lousy publicity surrounding the cars they simply lay them up in the forlorn hope that someday they might be worth something……. Overpriced and over hyped. If the movie had never happened one suspects most of those still around now would have been sent to the crusher.

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  10. Paul R

    After all the fine cars John DeLorean designed with Pontiac, I can’t believe he would of created and put his name on this example of pure junk!

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  11. krash

    Does anyone know what substitutes were dropped in the engine bay to give the DeLoreans more oomph?

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    • MDS

      Mine has the same 2.85L PRV V6, but it has hotter cams, different ignition, forged internals, revised intake, better exhaust, etc. 200 HP/TQ. With a 2700lb curb weight, it now has a better power/weight ratio than the Corvette, 280ZX, 911 SC, and 308 of the same era. This is much closer to what JZD actually wanted in the car in terms of power. There are other options available for forced induction on this engine as well as the ubiquitous LS-swap.

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