Henry Payne: DeLorean returns to the future with planned electric vehicle |
The electric vehicle revolution has introduced a fleet of new brands to the market – Bollinger, Lordstown, Lucid, Rivian, Tesla.
Add DeLorean to the list.
Forty years after the gull-winged, stainless steel, scandal-ridden car wowed the world, DeLorean Motor Company is stepping back into the future as an electric vehicle brand. Based in San Antonio under new ownership and a new name, DeLorean has teased its new car on its website with gullwing doors, power and styling by the same Italian design firm that penned the 1981 original.
“We’re making an all-new, two-door, all-electric, gull-winged sports car,” DeLorean Motor Company CEO Stephen Wynne said in an interview. “More details to come.”
While the burgeoning electric vehicle market offers opportunities for new faces, it has also offered a fresh start for legacy brands like GMC’s Hummer, Cadillac and Jaguar as they go all-electric. The idea of a cutting-edge electric vehicle seems to suit DeLorean, whose original goal in the ’80s was to create a sleek American coupe that would never rust.
“The original DeLorean has stood the test of time,” said Byron Cancelmo, president of the DeLorean Motor City Club, which owns two original DeLoreans and has been in contact with Wynne about the new car. “They’re holding their own on the details so far, but there will definitely be gullwing doors.”
Launched by GM’s jet-set executive John DeLorean, the brand was plagued with funding problems and eventually became the subject of a government drug sting operation. The company only produced 9,000 units of its DMC-12 model from 1981 to 1983 before going bankrupt. Founder DeLorean was acquitted of drug trafficking charges in 1984 and died in 2005.
His car remained an American icon, however, thanks in large part to his co-starring role in the hit 1985 film “Back to the Future” starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. DeLorean also caught the public eye in 2019 with the release of the acclaimed documentary “Framing John DeLorean”, starring Alec Baldwin in the title role as the company’s swaggering founder.
“Elon Musk hates being compared to a DeLorean,” Ardon, himself a DeLorean owner, said at the film’s premiere in Detroit in 2019. “But he wants to make an ethical car like John did. They both started with sports cars. Elon surpassed what John achieved.”
Wynne, originally from Liverpool, England, bought the rights to DeLorean Motor Company several years ago and moved it to Humble, Texas as a service and restoration shop for the 6,500 DeLoreans still on the road. the road. The company maintains an inventory of original factory parts to service cult classics and has satellite locations in Florida, California and Illinois to service customers.
Under the provisions of the Federal Low-Volume Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which allows small businesses to manufacture replicas of historic vehicles without having to meet costly safety regulations, DMC hoped to build replicas of the DMC-12 from origin, but was frustrated with government red tape.
“So we’re going to do everything on a brand new electric chassis,” laughed Wynne.
To build the new electric vehicle, he created a sister company called DeLorean Motors Reimagined and hired Joost de Vries as CEO. De Vries’ automotive resume includes stints at Tesla and Karma Automotive.
The company will be headquartered in San Antonio and a manufacturing facility has yet to be announced.
“We are grateful for the tremendous support we have received from the community,” de Vries said in a statement regarding the new HQ. “San Antonio has a growing component and vehicle manufacturing sector as well as a wide range of world-class manufacturing operations.”
DeLorean’s new marketing slogan is: “The future was never promised”.
While Tesla’s success inspired new ventures like the DeLorean EV, the original DeLorean inspired Tesla. The highly anticipated Cybertruck pickup is also made of rust-proof stainless steel. The Cybertruck will be built in Austin, Texas.
“I’ve had a love affair with the DeLorean ever since my dad bought one when I was 12,” said West Bloomfield owner Cancelmo, who fronts rock band Byron Legacy Show when he doesn’t drive around Metro Detroit in his DeLorean. “I can’t wait for the new car.”
Henry Payne is an auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at [email protected] or Twitter @HenryEPayne.
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