Live Auctions

Exotic Project Car: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

It’s rare to find a DeLorean DMC-12 in project-grade condition, especially with the preferred manual transmission. This example was previously painted red and has been stripped back down to its original finish. The seller’s listing is good for a laugh, as he clearly has been pelted by tire-kickers who either think the vehicle is worth less than he’s asking or they are simply waxing poetic about what they’d do with a DeLorean if it was theirs (I can see this happening ad nauseam). The asking price is $42,000 and the seller is firm with that baseline, and I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable considering the 5-speeds are far more desirable and the car itself looks like a fairly straightforward restoration. Find it here on eBay and located in Huntsville, Texas.

The DMC-12 is an odd car in terms of the fascination it commands. Enthusiasts will spend incredible sums of money on restoring these back to new condition or converting them to Back to the Future specifications. I’ve spoken with folks who have undertaken the latter and it’s slightly shocking how much money they put into these cars simply to have a movie replica. The DeLorean is no doubt a significant automobile in the collector car scene, but I think the smart money is on restoring them back to their original condition, or at least as close to original as possible. The seller’s car looks fairly straight in photos but he does note some damage to the front frame extension.

The interior has clearly seen better days, and while it’s not impossible to put back together, it does beg the question as to why it was torn up in the first place. The glovebox is disassembled and the gauge cluster has been removed. The door panels have also seen better days, but the seats appear to be in good condition. The same goes for the carpets. Mileage is listed as 56,000 which the seller indicates is accurate, and with that in mind, his asking price is still seemingly fair for a vehicle with relatively low mileage and three pedals. The interior wouldn’t be difficult to put back together, but the bigger concern is why it was pulled apart in the first place.

The PRV-V6 is said to have an oil leak and is in need of a new fuel pump. While the dead fuel pump claim is as old as the internet itself, it seems like the seller is the no-BS type so I’d be willing to trust that this is the actual problem. The drivetrain is apparently otherwise healthy, but given the seller doesn’t seem like a regular flipper of DeLorean projects, I would count on performing the full assortment of deferred maintenance repairs on this specimen. Will you have a car that’s worth more than you put into it at that point? Hard to say, but the DeLorean crowd is at least a reasonable bet for overspending on a project.


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Forget the DeLorean, I like the Imperial in the background.

    Like 15
    • Steve Clinton

      That’s the first thing that came to mind to me…
      ‘I’ll take the ’66 Imperial.’

      Like 2
  2. flmikey

    After reading this find, I was curious and went on ebay to see if there are any others for sale…found three, all not running, all sticks, all in much better shape, for a lot less money…a running and driving example goes for around 64K…

    Like 5
  3. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    The concept of “All boats rise with the tide” seems to be in play.
    A really well-done resto-mod Delorean just sold through on BaT for nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

    This one is bound to have some serious rust issues underneath, based simply on the one photo of removed parts as seen in the eBay listing. Caveat emptor.

    I’m with Rex on the Imperial.
    I did have to chuckle about the seller calling out BHCC for the low-ball offer bit… LOL! The post is entertaining, if nothing else.

    Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    No belts on the engine, alternator either under something or missing, dash apart, body damage up front and on left rear. What’s not to like for 42K except that you get the worlds most expensive stick shift with it. If there’s anything good about this car and it’s price I missed it.

    Like 7
  5. Lon Stensvold

    I’m not interested in the DeLorean but I am certain the the United States Postal Service would appreciate getting those totes back!

    Like 1
  6. Howie Mueler

    I think the seller forgot, Hey You Kids Get Off My Lawn!!

    Like 3
  7. WayneS

    I’m too big for the DeLorean but! that “Green Hornet” Imperial in the background would be a real thriller in Touring (Street) condition.

    Touring class is a term sometimes encountered. It is the term the Porsche Parade uses for the next step removed from Full Concours at its annual gatherings. The differences between Parade Touring and Full are that in Touring they don’t look under the chassis – front or rear, except for the Preservation Group. Originality doesn’t count in the Preparation Group, but does in the Restoration and Preservation Groups.

    Like 1
  8. Steve Clinton

    “The asking price is $42,000 and the seller is firm”
    I don’t see it…but who knows.

    Like 1
  9. Dave Peterson

    What am I missing? I was with Chrysler Credit when DeLorean came around trying to recruit dealers, and I grabbed the keys and took one out on the freeway. Noisy, twitchy and poorly finished. And this from a Chrysler guy. I also drove a C class Mercedes that week and was struck by the obvious differences while shooting for the same clientele. For half the $$$. Obviously the TriStar allowed price deflection to be a factor as driving the C from ten years later was an eye opener. The early one was bank vault – the 1990 was K-car hollow. Could DeLorean have pulled it off with proper money to back him? The product I drove showed no potential to my eye.

    Like 3
  10. Troy

    Seller will probably get it.

  11. Martinsane

    Going to state the obvious and not discuss the cars terrible condition b the cost but first the car isn’t stripped as obviously there is plenty of red still showing and second, didn’t these come painted?
    Have to wonder if the guy did more damage by stripping the factory paint job as I’d assume a painted version may be less readily available than the BttF clones.

    Like 1

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