Tidy Survivor: 1982 DMC DeLorean

If styling and appearance had been the sole consideration, the DMC DeLorean would have been a sales smash hit that would have cemented the company’s long-term financial viability. Unfortunately, bad management decisions and poor quality control tarnished the vehicle’s reputation, and the company collapsed in a sea of debt with only a few thousand cars to show for all of the ambition and heartache. They may have been a sales disaster when new, but the DeLorean has experienced a surge in popularity. This has seen values climb steadily, and good examples, like our feature car, can achieve some impressive sale prices. If you would like to become the next proud owner of this tidy survivor, you will find it located in Redmond, Washington, and listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding currently sits at $30,100, although this remains short of the reserve. Potential buyers could also choose to hit the BIN option at $45,250.

As a styling exercise, the DeLorean was a success. It is easy to compare it with offerings from Maserati, and it wouldn’t look out of place parked beside vehicles like the Merak. Its defining exterior feature is the brushed stainless steel panels, and this was something that polarized people. Some loved this finish, while others were less impressed. The finish does have one positive attribute, and that is that panel rust is never a concern. However, the downside is that dings and dents can stand out a mile away, and addressing them can be a headache. This DeLorean has had a dent in the passenger door, but it isn’t visible in the supplied photos. This is hardly surprising because the seller says that it is hard to spot in person unless it is highlighted. Overall, the presentation of this vehicle is pretty good, and there are no issues that demand immediate attention. The stainless shines nicely, while the gaps and panel fit are extremely good for a DeLorean. The front and rear bumpers show the usual discoloring issues that have become a hallmark of these cars. The only ones that I have seen without this quirk are the few cars where an owner has decided to paint his car. The news is positive below decks, with no evidence of rust or other problems. The DeLorean’s frame was epoxy coated during construction, and if this coating is compromised, rust can follow pretty quickly. That hasn’t happened in this case, which is good news. The gullwing doors look like they operate correctly, the glass is in good condition, and there are no issues with the distinctive alloy wheels.

While John DeLorean envisaged his creation as a true sports car, he wanted to ensure that owners lived life in the lap of luxury as defined by 1982 standards. That means that the DeLorean comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a leather-bound tilt/reach wheel, a rear window defogger, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player. That might not sound like much today, but it made owners feel like kings at that time. This car’s interior is remarkably good, with only some of the usual wear on the driver’s seat to report. The remaining upholstered surfaces are in excellent condition, while the plastic hasn’t begun to crack and crumble. Replacement upholstery for the seats is available, but I would be inclined to talk to a leather specialist before spending a single dime. A competent person might be able to address the wear issue without the need to consider a replacement.

The company developed the DeLorean with a rear-mounted 2,849cc fuel-injected V6 that produced 130hp in its prime. Hooked to this would either be a 5-speed manual or an optional 3-speed automatic transaxle. Thankfully, the original owner ordered this one with the 5-speed. This configuration was very different from what Mr. DeLorean had envisaged and was symptomatic of the hurdles that needed to be overcome to bring the car to production. The original intent had been to slot a lightweight Wankel rotary into the engine bay, and when that failed to happen, this V6 was the next choice. However, even this wasn’t as intended because DeLorean himself wanted the motor mid-mounted. However, this wasn’t a viable proposition without significant re-engineering, so the engine hangs out the back like a Porsche 911. The problem was that Porsche had decades of experience with this design philosophy, while DeLorean’s experience could be measured in months. This left the car severely “underdone,” but ongoing developments in areas like springs and shocks means that these can be made into a competent handler today. The news with this classic is excellent. It has been maintained for many years by a DeLorean specialist, and it is in sound mechanical health. It has recently undergone a significant amount of maintenance, and it is ready to be driven and enjoyed by a new owner.

The DeLorean promised so much, but its failure was due to a perfect storm of bad decisions and bad timing. If the illustrious Mr. DeLorean had been in a financial position to spend more time on research and development, the car could have been a sales success. Instead, it failed to sell in sufficient numbers to save the company from financial collapse. The vehicle spent years largely forgotten, but they have become a desirable vehicle that could make a decent investment. Values have climbed by around 15% over the past three years, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Pristine examples can easily fetch $60,000, while tidy survivors regularly change hands for $45,000. Our feature car fits that description, suggesting that the BIN option is pretty competitive. That makes it worth a closer look for interested potential buyers. By the way, I managed to get through an entire article without referring once to a certain movie franchise. Woo hoo!


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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious sh*t.”

    Like 6
    • Dave

      I got a better idea…find the engine from a Taurus SHO and get it in there somehow.

      Like 5
  2. Raymond

    The urethane pieces always bother me on these cuz they never match the stainless body,, Delorean Cadillac in Cleveland(John’s brother) had a few on the lot when they were new that were painted cars, red, yellow, black, they just looked more finished to me, these seemed like no one cared to match it…

    Like 5
  3. Dave in Arlington, TX

    Always wondered why they couldn’t color-match the bumpers a little closer to the stainless.

    Like 3
  4. Jcs

    Not known for their power, drivability, nor dependability the fact remains that few cars garner as much attention as these, especially among the younger set. Kids love them.

    Like 4
  5. Mike D

    The bumpers aren’t discolored. They were deliberately made that way.

    Like 3
  6. scantar

    130hp You’re never going back to the future in that slug

    Like 2
  7. Howie Mueler

    These are cool, slow but cool. Never liked those wheels. The sellers ID is Delorean-servicenw.

    Like 1
  8. Gary

    Owner probably go to sleep before he dreams…. And someone who’s willing to pay upwards of 40k has too much money…

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