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188 Mile DeLorean

1982 DeLorean DMC-12

Some cars were instant classics, others surprised the world, some were dismal failures, and then there were those cars that ingrained themselves as pop culture icons. Few cars can say they achieved several of these titles all at the same time like the DeLorean DMC-12 can. It was a failure from a sales and marketing standpoint, but was a massive success as a pop icon. Just about every person, car nut or not, at least knows about the DMC-12. They may not know its name or its story, but they know about the stainless steel sports car with flip up doors and time traveling abilities. This 1982 DeLorean isn’t exactly a barn find, but having covered just 188 miles since new it’s certainly a survivor that’s worth a look. Find it here on eBay.

188 Mile DeLorean

We have come to the conclusion that either the DMC-12 was deemed a collectible right away by most owners or it was so much better to look at than drive that many preferred to leave them parked in their garage, as we have seen a number of low mileage DeLoreans over the years. We have heard mixed reviews about the driving experience, but most often we hear complaints about the lackluster acceleration. The chassis was based off of the Lotus Esprit and should have handled beautifully, but for whatever reason the front ride height was increased and that negatively impacted handling.

DeLorean Motor

While many owners had the suspension returned to Lotus’ original front suspension geometry, the 2.9 liter V6 still kept the car from being a real performance machine. With emissions equipment installed the PVR or Peugeot Volvo Renault motor only produced 130 horsepower and gave the car a 0-60 time of nearly 11 seconds. A few adventurous owner installed turbo systems and other performance upgrades, but this one has been left original. The seller claims all the mechanical systems have been gone through and are working properly.

DeLorean Interior

For the ’80s, the DeLorean had a relatively nice interior. It was simply, effective, and sporty. This one looks how a car with less than 200 miles on it should. As an added bonus, the original owner optioned it with the 5 speed manual, which should help make up for some of the motor’s lackluster performance. We just wonder about that center tunnel and if it gets in the way of shifting, but a number of sports cars from the era have similar designs.

DeLorean DMC12

We have to admit that the DeLorean is one of the best looking cars to come out of the 1980’s, but every time we come across a low mileage example it leaves us wondering why so many ended up never being driven. Given how many are emerging in this kind of condition it makes us wonder if the DMC will share a similar fate as the Anniversary Corvette? It wasn’t built to be collected like the Corvette was, but it seems that some people collected them and never used them out of fear of hurting value. Or perhaps they really weren’t that great to drive then and still aren’t today? We don’t know, we haven’t ever had the pleasure of taking one for a spin. If one of our fine readers has one and would like to let us go out for a spin in it, we certainly wouldn’t turn them down! We would even just be happy to see a few photos and hear your impressions on why so many low mileage examples keep turning up. Any ideas?



    Know of a house with a bunch of these only 15 or so miles from me.

    He has them parked next to his garage under ratty Tarps that are starting to tear up.

    Pretty sure he has a good one in his garage with the 2 spares under the tarps and I found them again coming back from looking at an old decrepit Triumph with a person that worked on everyy Delorean that came into and was sold on the East coast :)

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  2. Horse Radish

    Sure, 188 miles and one (non-driving) owner….
    The car speaks for itself, but..
    I don’t like puffed up dealer sales and this is one .

    It takes somebody with EGO to want to buy this.

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  3. rusty

    Josh said “why so many low mileage examples keep turning up. Any ideas?”

    thats easy

    there was only one ever made…in the future it returns countless times that there is many versions around that appear slightly different mileage.

    infact the 2 under the tarp are the same car as the one in the garage but every time travellor knows you cant let one version of yourself be seen by your other versions hence 3 versions can be stored together as long as one is in the garage and the other two are under the tarps… separate tarps..

    the one featured here is one of the earliest time travelling versions to travell back in time or was that forward..hee hee. in fact the original car [ie the only car ever made] has now got 300,000 miles on it but thats still in the future…another 20 years from now and no one wants to see that version go back in ntime…otherwise the mystery of the deloreon is diminished.

    but….just avoid the time travellors paradox.

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    • Brian

      Just 100 miles too many to see some serious sh**!

      Ok, ok, I just had to get that outta my system!

      These cars were like the last of the aircooled VW Beetle ‘verts and the last of the (1970s) Cadillac ‘verts in that way too many people bought one and put it into storage, just knowing that one day it would be worth a fortune, but one day never came (or at least hasn’t come yet) so about every ten years or so, a bunch of these people dump these cars, which will probably increase since these original buyers are getting older. My theory is that the very last of these cars still left with their original owners will be the cars that will be “name your own price” – the question is, how many more sell off cycles until the supply is gone?

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        Funny in an off this topic kinda way.
        We just picked up a 1947 Mercury with dual Strombergs and headers along with some other cool custom upgrades from a Barn in PA last week.

        It was purchased in 1956 and parked in 1964 where it sat until we bought it at an estate sale. Only has 40k on the clock too as the owner was going to fix it one day. I got killer footage of it being rescued but I can’t put the link here or my post will get deleted.

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      • Horse Radish

        Most likely you CAN put that link.
        You’re talking about the ‘other’ site that has a Nazi-staff delete comments left and right (no pun intended).
        Not my experience here.
        Jesse and Josh are way cool !

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  4. paul

    Pass, just saving my money up for the Steve McQueen 275 GTB/4 going up for auction…..I wish.

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  5. Robert J

    Oddly, there is also a 647 actual mileage Deloran for sale at the moment. Even more strange, it is also in Chicago…Hmmm


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  6. Mark E

    Maybe just like the 1976 Eldorado Convertible, the owner had convinced themselves that they were buying a gold plated investment that HAD to appreciate in value, more so if it had never been driven! :/

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  7. CarGuy

    Drove one. If you can get over the feeling of being trapped inside a CT scanner, the small steering wheel, fat tires and lack of power steering make this one of the roughest riding/driving cars ever. Oh, and then there’s the automatic transmission. Best thing about the car? Clean it with a bottle of Windex and a paper towel.

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  8. jim s

    there is another manual on ebay with less then 5k mile and a manual. looks like the prices are starting to climb on these. nice to look at for sure.

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  9. Sim

    So many say it handled like an Airstream and wouldn’t beat a school bus across an intersection, …okay, but it sure was a cool car to us kids back then. I had a friend who’s father bought one new. He opened up the garage door for us and we all gasped at the first sight of that stainless American exotic. Then we all said “woooh cooool” when he opened the door for us to look inside. To bad it wasn’t able to move forward through later productions. Seeing the car in the media so much lately, I often wonder what the Delorean would look like today if it had stayed the coarse of production.

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  10. geomechs geomechs Member

    The Delorean has had a loyal following, especially since it was immortalized in the BTF movies. I like the styling myself although I’ve always preferred most of what came out of Detroit. I hope this car goes to the right owner and that person has a good time with it.

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  11. compuglobalhypermeganet

    ~ It is rear-engined, rear-wheel drive, and I am scratching my head and trying to understand the purpose of the massive console. Other than to rival the Fiero for the wasted space award.

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    • Dan-O

      The massive center console is where the frame of the car is. It looks like a big X without the body on it.

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  12. Ron tyrrell

    Working on imports at this time I wondered what John was think of when he chose this option when there were so many other power units at this time. Mainly the German Ford in the Merkur ( I think I spelled that correctly) which was available in five stages and was a very simple and reliable power unit. The Volve was introduced in the seventies and there were problems right out of the production, one being the flywheel ring gear was prone to stripping and the rubber hoses under the intake manifold were prone to leak. Well the answer came to me later on when I found you could still buy one these engines into the nineties if you knew where to look,brand new for under two grand.

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    • Dolphin Member

      The camshaft mechanisms also wore out quickly. I once went to test drive a low-mile Volvo wagon with the V6. The seller already had it running for someone and I could hear the valve train knocking before I got very close to it.

      I think the German Ford V6 was considered but the PRV engine came from the factory with a gearbox, which must have simplified things for the rear installation in the deLorean. Agreed that the German Ford V6 would have been a way better choice but that was an OHV design and would not have had ‘exotic’ appeal, or a gearbox for the rear mount.

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  13. Rancho Bella

    Do they always sit so high? They never did much for me but I reckon it does for some.

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  14. Mike C

    Had a look at a brand new one of these in a car showroom in Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 1980.

    At 6 ft tall, my head was lodged firmly in the recess of the sunroof area – with no chance of seeing a proper view of the road. Dismissed it immediately. Price was @ £11k.

    Saw quite a few of them parked up in Dubai over the following years with flat tyres etc. Didn’t exactly catch on!!

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    • Biff T.

      John DeLorean was 6’4″ and designed the car to fit himself. I know a few owners who are over six feet who don’t have any issues.

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      • Mike C

        Certainly didn’t remotely fit my 6′ height – dismissed it immediately

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      • Mike C

        Maybe John DeL had longer legs & a shorter torso length than me – certainly there was no chance of me getting a comfortable driving position. I would have had to drive in a crouching style position & that would have exacerbated my already bad back re ruptured discs.

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  15. DT

    Never liked them,have no plans to start now.didnt like the movie,dont like Micheal Fox. other than that …….

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  16. Alan

    There is a man in the States (Texas?) who is pretty much recognized as the most knowlegeable person around regarding these cars… Including how to make them ride/handle/accelerate better. They are cool rides in concept and appearance.
    This one, and ultra-low mileage examples like it, will never be driven much though. Garage/trailer/museum pieces. Not sure if JD himself would be happy, or sad about that. From all accounts I have ever read, he really was a car guy.

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    • Jimbo

      There was a guy in Odessa, Texas that had a few of them several years ago. Saw him drive em very little. Always had them sitting out on the weekends all pretty and shined up.

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  17. Eli

    I’m no expert on what the undercarriage of a 30 year + car is supposed to look like, but It does look some wear or aging going on. Of course there is no way to know for certain. I’ve seen rust on the differential and rear half shafts of an XKR with 300 miles on it.

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  18. dj

    From what I read about these cars, the low mileage ones are the ones to stay away from. Those that have been driven usually have all the upgrades done to them so you can actually drive them.

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  19. Jim-Bob

    The sad thing about it is these were really never anything more than a curiosity. They weren’t the great car Delorean promised and were far too flawed to have ever succeeded in the way he had hoped. Sadly though, there just weren’t any suitable powertrains available at the height of the malaise era to have made this anything more than what it was-a flawed gentleman’s cruiser. Were it sold 5 or 6 years later, things may have been different. However, the way it was, it is now outclassed by the cheapest new Kia in every performance metric possible.

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    • Alan

      Except for desirability/collectability….. That would be the financial performance metric. ;-)

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    • Biff T.

      Kind of true. 1981 Mustang V8 was only 117 hp. The DeLorean was only 40 hp less than the 1980 Corvette, and about 1.5 second slower in the 1/4 mile. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to compare it to a Kia. A Honda Odyssey minivan can beat an 80s Corvette in almost every category now too.

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  20. rusty

    Maybe it was just me but I always wondered if any one else noticed Mitsubishi seemed to borrow the Delorean’s styling for the 1980 Mitsubishi Lancer Fastback/Hatchback.

    sure it was ordinariafied for mister average and standing taller but it sure made me think it owed homage to the Delprean. Especially when many were sold in silver.

    Did you get them in the states.?

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    • Jim-Bob

      If anything, it would be reversed as Delorean didn’t come on the market until 1981. More likely, I think GM stole the tail light design for the 1985+ Camaro IROC-Z.

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      • rusty


        the prototype Delorean was revealed in 76 so mitsubishi could easily have homaged!

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    • Greg

      We had these Mitsu’s in the Philippines, where I grew up. They were known as the Celeste there. I never drew the comparison to the DMC. Rather, I always though Delorean drew its inspiration from the late 70’s Maserati Bora…


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  21. rusty

    oh taking into account the prototype Delorean was 1976…..so ample time to homage.

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  22. Cameron Bater UK

    While these did indeed look attractive they had a few downfalls, firstly the brushed Stainless Steel was notoriously easy to get stained, even a drop of water could stain it and then it was near impossible to clean it, second although some parts were from Lotus most of the running gear came from a BMC 1300 so really it was a BMC 1300 in drag

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  23. Mike S

    When the DeLorean bubble burst we were living on the west side of Cleveland where John DeLorean’s brother had a Cadillac dealership that also sold the DeLorean. On display were option painted DeLorean’s that looked much better than the original stainless. When the bankruptcy hit I saw truck loads of DeLoreans rolling into the rear compound of the dealership. One night I climbed up and took a look over the tall fence and saw close to 200 DeLoreans packed in like sardines. I have always wondered what was the real deal. where they went, who benefited, and who took the hit.

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    • rusty

      wow mike..interesting stuff

      maybe these are the low mileage ones being offered …maybe someone squirrelled them away???

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    • Mike C

      Quote from a book re ‘who took the hit’ question – the UK tax payers !!

      Margaret Thatcher vetoed a plan by a UK Consortium to save the DeLorean car company in Northern Ireland, then in receivership, which would have saved 1500 jobs and secured at least part of the UK government’s $160 million investment in the project. Weeks earlier she had been told that $17.65 million had been taken from the company’s coffers and that the likely culprit was John DeLorean and associates

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  24. DT

    “Where they went?”….John DeLorean traded them for cocaine. English Renault…junk…did I mention I never liked them.

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