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Low-Mile 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

The DeLorean DMC-12 is sometimes described as a classic and sometimes as iconic. Tony found this car listed here on Craigslist for an asking price of $77,000. This DeLorean is located in Norcross, Georgia just northeast of Atlanta. It has California custom license plates and has been listed for 4 days. Most people my age have a story about someone they knew that owned one or bought one. Johnny Carson invested $500,000 in the DeLorean Motor Company and was infamously pulled over driving his DMC-12 by the police and arrested for DUI in 1982.

DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) built all their cars with a 2.85 liter SOHC V6 engine that produced 130 horsepower and 153 lb-ft of torque. The engines were produced by Peugeot-Renault-Volvo and sold to DMC. Most reviews of the car agreed that the DeLorean was underpowered from the factory and a stock engine is not too exhilarating to drive today. One saving grace is that this example is a 5-speed which is more fun than an automatic. This slow V6 was not John DeLorean’s first choice and it is said that the original plans were for a mid engine Wankel rotary engine. It would be interesting to see how this car would have improved over the years if the company did not go bankrupt.

This car is said to have only 12,000 miles and the interior reflects its low use and proper care. With all the soft parts and plastic, you would expect there to be some fading and some parts that need to be replaced now that 40 years has passed. In fact, the seller states that the car was sent to DMC in Texas and over $50,000 was spent in its restoration. So, it should be well sorted.

All DeLoreans came paneled in SS304 austenitic stainless steel from the factory except for three gold-plated cars. It is probably exceedingly expensive to have the body panels repaired or replaced in today’s world. Many people criticize the DMC-12 for its poor initial quality and underpowered engine. However, we should remember that this was a start up company that produced a truly beautiful car. This is an example that has been meticulously restored and maintained and, if you have the coin, this might be a great car.


  1. Howie

    That is a lot of $$ for 130HP.

    Like 8
    • Beyfon

      That’s a lot of money for a DeLorean regardless of the hp!

      Like 10
  2. Suttree

    These cars would have a lot bigger following if DeLorean had went with an American V8.

    Like 10
  3. Suttree

    These cars would have a larger following if DeLorean had went with an American V8.

    Like 2
  4. C Force

    Delorean should of took a few notes from their predecessor Bricklin,even it was powered by a ford 351w.Thats where the Deloreans biggest shortcoming is,the powerplant.This is where they should of used a 305 chevy or a 302 ford,a small block v8.It would of had a much better torque curve and probably been more reliable and easier to maintain.That is alot of money for a very anemic 130hp,all show and no go….

    Like 5
    • Homerbob

      A 305 or 302 In 1981 made about the same 130hp The car Magazines of the time said it had Ferrari looks but only Corvette Performance. They had planned on building a Twin Turbo but went bankrupt before they got Released only a few test models where Built.

      Like 1
  5. Ray

    Junk then…..junk now.
    77 thousand? About 70 thousand too much.

    Like 5
  6. Terry

    Why show these piles of dog s$%t all the time? They were garbage back in the day and are garbage now. The only reason these are popular is because of the Back To The Future movies. For the love of God please find something else to show BarnFinds, Im sick of this trash.

    Like 3
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Terry, your comment is exactly why these are always featured here. They are so polarizing, so there are always lots of comments.

      Beautiful / Ugly / Slow / Drugs / Time Travel – a never ending supply of Love and Hate for a single object.

      Like 2
    • Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

      Wow, There is such a variety of interesting vehicles on BF every day, if a few get posted that one doesn’t appreciate that doesn’t seem like a tragedy. I think the editors on this site are excellent and I applaud them.
      As far as Deloreans go, they have an infamous back story and a cinematic hook. This one looks in good condition and at very least deserves a listing on BF. I’ve long since grown up enough to realize that I can’t afford many things that I’d like to have. More power to the people who learned how to make money. I’m happy with my old, cool drivers.

      Like 9
    • DKW

      Terry – you need to do one of two things – 1) calm down, 2) watch your tone. On second thought, perhaps you should do both.

      I, personally, always liked the DeLorean. Yes, it was slow. But as a kid who turned 16 in the early 80’s, this was a cool car when it came out. Many, many, MANY people thought so.

      So, while you are certainly entitled to not like them, stop demanding they not be included in the variety that BF includes. This is Barn Finds, NOT Terry’s Finds. Chill.

      Like 3
  7. Harvey Member


    Like 0
  8. Robert Levins

    When someone “does” buy this car – they are buying a LEGACY. Not just the car but the HISTORY behind it . I like these DeLoreans, but I probably wouldn’t buy one. Too many other cars to choose from. This is a “Highly collectible” – collector car and if someone wants it and buys it – it will make them very happy just the way it is – all original. Nice article.

    Like 3
    • bone

      The same could be said about the Yugo.. except for the highly collectible part

      Like 0

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