Only 11k Miles: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Great Scott! This seller is offering a one-owner, 11,000-mile DeLorean from the first year of the car’s short production run. Unlike the car in the Back to the Future movies, this one is not likely to have a flux capacitor as part of its standard equipment. And getting up to 88 miles per hour to generate 1.21 giggawatts of power will probably take longer than you think. Just under 9,000 of these cars ever saw the light of day of which about 6,500 are thought to have survived. This one is located at a dealership in Las Vegas, Nevada and available here on eBay where the no-reserve auction has reached $45,100.

The DMC DeLorean (or simply “DeLorean”) is a sports car and the only auto built by John DeLorean’s company for the American market from 1981 to 1983. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and noted for its gull-wing doors and brushed stainless-steel outer body panels. As snappy as the car looked, it did not excel in the area of power and performance. Production lasted under 24 months before the company was forced to file for bankruptcy. After it went into receivership, workers were brought back in to compete cars that remained on the assembly line. 6,700 of the cars were considered 1981 models, 2,000 as 1982s and less than 300 as 1983 models.

We assume the seller’s car came out of a collection as its only seen 11,000 miles of use in 40 years. Perhaps the original owner gambled that this would be a desirable car in the future. They cost $25,000 when new which equates to $71,500 today, so you could argue that’s the breakeven point for the auction. Other than what you might expect to see after 40 years, this DeLorean has little appreciable wear.

Besides the original window sticker, the buyer will be treated to:

  • 174 cubic inch OHC V-6 with a 5-speed manual transmission
  • Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection
  • Cast light-alloys wheels wearing new BF Goodrich T/A tires
  • Power accessories from A to Z

Despite its shortcomings in the performance department, these cars are still popular, although hardly practical. Hagerty says one of these machines in Concours condition can fetch in excess of $65,000 and this one certainly looks to be in that territory. So, if you’re out in Vegas and get lucky on the slots or poker tables, catch this one before you pore all your winnings back into the casino. And give our regards to Marty McFly and Doc Brown!


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  1. local_sheriff

    Though I grew up in the 80s I’ve never been much of a fan of the DMC, find it to be such a ‘too flashy’ vehicle. I’d rather have a closer look at the Steyr Pinzgauer!

    Like 4
  2. Earl Dreamer

    Mcfly Mcfly remember I sleep in on Saturdays.

    Its a cool car and it should bring what the market will bear 🐻.

    If its too much don’t buy it or get it and go back in time and buy Microsoft, Apple or Warren Buffet investment funds from the 80s to be profitable. (Kidding folks just in case this is considered a possibility in a conspiracy believing small section population )😂🐻

  3. ADM

    I saw one of the two test mules at a shop, in New Hampshire, about 2008. This one was written up in Hemming’s, about 15 years ago, when it was in Texas. I was cold-calling for a machine shop, when I walked in. To my immediate left, about three feet off the ground, on a lift, was a Renault Alpine with the engine bay open. I noticed a DMC logo on the intake manifold, and asked the owner of the shop about it. He told me what I expected, but said it was THE one. There are two. The current owner was having it restored.

  4. kenn

    Yeah, I wouldn’t want to “pore” over my winnings either….

  5. Larry

    Check your facts.
    In North Dakota alone there are vin numbers registered in 27,000 or more made.

  6. Mike

    “Hey, this car was in that movie! You know, the one where the Einstein dude helps the Family Ties kid make Chuck Barry famous.

    Like 2
  7. Arby

    I bought the first one in my state.
    Very underwhelming car. If it wasn’t for the movie, they would be mostly forgotten.

    Like 6
    • William

      If it was so bad, why did you buy it?

  8. Rod Plapp

    I sold one brand new back in 81.At first only (select salespeople ) were allowed to sell it but after getting yanked by so many Looky Loo’s wasting their time anybody was allowed to sell them.Very small claustrophobic cockpit that had very poor visibility and not much power. Our commission was limited to $500 further limiting the desire to sell them.Our mechanics hated them too.

  9. Jcs

    These cars stayed at $25K for a clean low mile original for decades. Just in the past few years have they pretty much doubled. Not really much fun to drive at all, but the cool factor completely makes up for their lack of performance in pretty much every category.

    Like 5
    • Rod Plapp

      If not for the ” Back To The Future ” franchise I suspect these cars would not have the following they enjoy now.

  10. ADM

    I don’t think a kiddie movie was enough to drive interest, if the car wasn’t worth it. Besides the crappy powertrain, what’s not to like?

  11. Rod Plapp

    Kiddie movie? LOL

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