The Hundreds x DeLorean Motor Company. The Hundreds LA, The Hundreds SF, Thursday, December 3, 2009.
The Hundreds x DeLorean Motor Company. The Hundreds LA, The Hundreds SF, Thursday, December 3, 2009.
My time at DeLorean’s headquarters in Humble, Texas was well served. Not only in terms of familiarizing myself with DMC, but also getting to know the smalltown operation of a globally-recognized exotic sportscar. The intrigue for me is that a sexy automobile that had once embodied all of the glory and decadence of the high-life, envisioned and built by an international playboy, is now quietly served through a sleepy Texan town by a crew of everyday hardworking American men. It’s a fantastic story and only adds to the colorful DeLorean legacy.
After the original Ireland factory closed, and John DeLorean was disassociated with his own brainchild, Stephen Wynne acquired all rights to the DMC name and established his original factory on the other side of town from where the global headquarters now resides.
And this is Stephen Wynne. He is the owner of DeLorean, and his John Hancock is inscribed on each new car that leaves this lot. A native Brit, Stephen started out as a mechanic, and followed that dream Stateside, where he eventually worked on and fell in love with the DeLorean DMC-12 in his California tune-up shop. In the early ’80s, no one wanted to work on the car because they didn’t understand it, so Stephen and his team gladly accepted the task. As his business grew, he eventually went on to acquire the DeLorean name, and has made it his life’s sole mission to preserve the stainless steel phenomenon. Any DeLorean fanatic knows that this man is king.
This is Stephen’s son Cameron Wynne, Head of Merchandising. He’s grown up his entire life not knowing anything BUT DeLorean. Since his dad worked on the actual DeLoreans used in the Back to the Future films (Mr. Fusion, flux capacitor and all) back in the ’80s, he would drive Cameron to elementary school in Doc Brown’s time machine. At the time, that was pretty much every kid’s dream, but it was Cameron’s life.
He says it’s always been the same. Whenever someone meets him, they find out what his family does, and then it’s a cascade of relentless questions from there. He does his best to be patient with it, but after 20-some-odd years of living up to the DeLorean name and all the nostalgia it evokes from people, you can imagine the frustration.
James. My Brick House Tavern guide, but more importantly, the Vice President of DeLorean Motor Co. As well as the face as you’ve probably seen on television coverage of the DeLorean or Youtube videos. James has been with DeLorean for a decade now, and started out as a fan with 2 of his own.
Warren has been with DeLorean for 18 years and handles all parts sales and tech support for the company. If you’re a DeLorean owner and need a replacement part, you’ll probably be talking to Warren on the other end of that phone. Cameron told me Warren is to DMC as Scotty iLL is to The Hundreds. After meeting Warren, I’d say that’s about spot on.
Justin’s a mechanic with the build crew. He’s probably put in about 4 years or so.
And Bill’s been around for 14 years. Bill used to tutor Cameron on his homework everyday after grade school. I wanted to emphasize how tight this operation is by showing you how DeLorean is nothing short of a family and a tried-and-true, red-blooded American business. At the start of all this, if you were familiar with the DeLorean, you’ve probably got an entirely different appreciation for it now. At least, that’s what I hope.
Over this next week, you’ll start seeing the DeLorean x The Hundreds project come together as it hits THLA and THSF on Thursday morning. We will also introduce the much-anticipated The Hundreds DeLorean car!!.. that you will get to see up close and personal starting in LA and up to San Francisco this weekend. Both Hypebeast and High Snobiety are also doing special features on the project, and I have some video footage for you as well. Stay tuned, it’s gonna be fun.
In less than a week, the The Hundreds x DeLorean Motor Company project will be unveiled at both THLA and THSF. Over the past few days, I’ve taken you on a tour of the DeLorean factory and a history lesson on the DMC-12, which wraps up with these next 2 installments. Make sure you’ve read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV before you continue…
If you strip a DeLorean DMC-12 down, this is what you’ll find. As you may have already noticed, the engine is in the car’s hindquarters, and the trunk is under the hood. Maybe not so ideal for getting rear-ended, but awesome nonetheless.
The skeleton, right down to the chassis.
The original brochures and owner’s manual for the lucky few who bought a DeLorean in the early 1980s:
There are a couple thousand parts on a DeLorean. I know I got it wrong, but I think Stephen said something around 2,850? You’re looking at all of the original documentation and blueprints to every single part on a DMC-12.
A lot of you have been asking questions, not only about our upcoming collaboration, but the DeLorean itself. For example, wondering if a vintage DeLorean could be used as a daily driver vehicle? The answer is surprisingly YES. The owner of this particular car, for instance, has racked up 350,000 miles on it thus far, and it still drives like a dream.
Out in the DeLorean Museum is this piece on display. The factory guys call these “cave drawings,” inscriptions hidden within the actual panels of the car by the assembly hands that worked on them. Years ago, the guys here were pulling out a spare door from the remnants of the original Ireland DMC base, and stumbled upon a surprise.
“This is the last righthand door to be made at DMC. It was made by B Agkinson, Brian Boyle, Phil Gough, Hugh Barrett, RJ Cowden, K. Ferris, Boatman. The end of a dream. Or is it?”
This morning was our annual Black Friday at both The Hundreds LA and The Hundreds SF (and ONLINE, for the next 12 or so hours as a matter of fact). When we first kicked off the Black Friday sale through The Hundreds, we were one of the few streetwear brands to do so. This year, seemed as if everyone wanted to go all BLACK FRIDAY everything.
But our customers weren’t deterred. The doors opened at 4am today, but the first customers in line were here at 10am YESTERDAY. Many of the kids in line had families who brought them turkey dinner to eat curbside, but most just skipped Thanksgiving altogether. That’s dedication, folks.
How many customers told me they flew in from Hawaii for this year’s sale? Kinda crazy. Lots of good parents who lost a night of sleep to stand in the cold with their kids. For that matter, lots of good girlfriends and sisters who showed up with other girlfriends and sisters to take care of Christmas shopping. Met a buncha you who were DeLorean fanatics, and amped on the upcoming collaboration. On another random note, met a lot of you fellow Twitterererers as well.
Clearly, this guy was the MVP. Gomez plucked him out the crowd after he promised to break his pinky finger for a free hat. Check the video for proof, no broken promises, just broken fingers.
The sale ended at 9am and by then, everyone was a blubbering mess. Dude in the grey sweatshirt didn’t even bother claiming his spot in line, he was having so much fun with our host, Gomez Warren IV. Hey, once again, thanks for settling the natives, Gomez. Thanks to the THLA crew for holding down another chaotic Black Friday. And thanks to THSF who were just as victorious in the Bay… even with the RAIN. See you all next year.
As I was saying earlier, DeLorean Motor Co. acquired all the parts inventory from the original Ireland headquarters after they shut down in the early ’80s. They took everything from bolts to the forklift. They also continue to make new parts for whatever runs out, and stock them all here in Humble, Texas.
Gullwing doors, doors, and more doors. Cameron was telling me that his great-grandkids will be selling DeLorean doors.
Some more trademark DeLorean features. The wheels, for one.
And the rear tail lights, for another. We’re such fans of these, that you may see their likeness popping up somewhere in The Hundreds x DeLorean collection… hint hint.
Of all the parts that DeLorean did salvage, the one piece they do NOT have is the front-left panel. So far, they haven’t needed to replace any that they couldn’t fix, plus the tooling’s just not worth it.
More stories to come…
Since DeLorean stopped making production vehicles in 1982, the folks at DMC purvey refurbished cars for their niche clientele. Of the 9,000 original automobiles made, there are estimates that 6,000 or so still exist. But most aren’t on the road, they’re decaying in backyards and (believe it or not) barns.
DMC digs these cars up and fixes ‘em with authentic DeLorean parts and fixtures from the original factory. They will also make “built” cars, meaning they will strip the car down to its core, then rebuild it with all brand-new materials. This is where the DMC purists complain, because the factory is willing to install modern-day conveniences like iPod players, Bluetooth, and finer interiors, but for the rest of us, it only makes sense.
That being said, every DeLorean being worked on in the shop is its own unique endeavor.
Bill is working on the first-ever DMC right-seat driver. It’s for a client in Singapore, and requires hours upon hours of labor, creativity, and innovation, since this has never been attempted before.
Check out the entrails:
Justin is working on Cameron’s new project, an all-black DeLorean with an all-black interior. Again, never been done before, but coming along oh-so beautifully.
I wasn’t kidding about the barns. Most DMCs are sitting in farmhouses across the MidWest. This car had been sitting in a barn for decades, and when the owner pulled it out, rats had turned it into a nest and eaten all the insides. When the mechanics started pulling it apart, they found dead rats lodged everywhere inside the fittings, lodged in tubes, under the seat, ALL RAT EVERYTHING.
Something about these shots reminds me of the scene in Back to the Future II when the flying DeLorean descends into the alley. I dunno.
Right around the corner is the warehouse… up NEXT.
This Friday, after our Black Friday Sale ends at THLA and THSF, at 11am, both The Hundreds stores will release BADAM to the world. You may have seen Badam sneak up behind Adam Bomb here and there, being the genuine coolguy hater that he is, but now he’s finally yours to own. 2 colorways of the BADAM t-shirt. 3 colorways of the BADAM New Era 59/50 fitted cap.
Friday. Morning. 11am. THLA. THSF.
DeLorean Motor Company is located deep in a rural suburb of Houston, Texas. Literally, right off a dirt road. Yet, they still get eavesdroppers and lurking visitors on a daily basis. Parents teaching their kids about a pop culture relic, Japanese tourists armed with cameras, and of course, the DeLorean fanatic like me who is in 7th Heaven.
This is the main showroom. The guys recounted a story of a local school teacher who is a regular DMC visitor. She first came into the shop as a college freshman and let it be known that it was her dream to leave the lot with a DeLorean one day. Every year since, she’s come in, sat in the driver’s chair, and vowed to come back the following year.
2 months ago, she came in and bought a DMC-12 with her savings. That’s how a typical DeLorean owner’s story goes.
Like I was saying before, there are many signature accents that are unique to a DeLorean.
The middle console’s buttons are another unique attribute. The first and last buttons are for decoration, but the arrows operate the windows.
Inside the showroom is also the DeLorean Museum, chronicling the story of the legendary car and the mythology enveloping its creator and legacy.
For example, all DeLoreans have the same grey interior, but John DeLorean had plans of different colorations. Here are the prototypes for red parts.
And there was never anything but a stainless steel exterior in the original production run. But they had plans for painted colors, and here are 2 panels that indicate what they were working on before shutting down.
One of DeLorean’s greatest stories is the legend of the gold car. In 1981, DeLorean and American Express worked on a cross-promotional campaign to introduce the Gold Card to the public. You could purchase a 24k-gold-plated DeLorean for $85,000, but you had to buy it on an American Express Gold Card. They planned on making 100 cars.
Only 2 were ever purchased. 1 sat in a bank vault in Texas for years, before being donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum right down the street from THLA on Fairfax. The other is sitting at Harrah’s in Reno. It was bought by a doctor who used the gold DeLorean as a daily driver on his commute into San Francisco. But he eventually had to give it up because the insurance on a gold-plated car was exorbitant (Ya think?).
Although only 2 gold DeLoreans were ever produced, at the time, DMC made enough gold-plated panels for the 2 owners in case their cars were ever damaged. BUT, they didn’t have a spare for 1 of the doors. Somebody bought the panels, and actually constructed a 3rd gold DeLorean, but the door is noticeably off-color. To this day, a private seller in Maryland is hawking his makeshift gold DeLorean for no less than $250,000.
Next, we’ll step foot into the body shop…
About twice a week, I get in a fight with Benjie here in the office about Lady Gaga. He thinks she’s wack, that her routine’s all processed and gimmicky and a slap in the face to true innovative pioneering women in music like Bjork. Okay fine. But I’ll admit, I think Lady Gaga’s kinda cool. (Did you hear that? That was the sound of 40,000 of you jumping to another site). You’re right, I’m not a pop music aficionado. But the fact that the newest music queen isn’t all body glitter and cherry chapstick, as it’s been since Britney Spears danced in high school hallways, is encouraging.
Gaga makes catchy tunes (thus, pop music), plays the piano (rather well), cites David Bowie as an influence, makes music videos with charred skeletons in Russian bath houses, she (and/or her stylist) has great taste in fashion. She can be shocking and scary, blood and broken glass and androgyny. You gotta admit, it’s refreshing to see teenybopper girls latch onto someone who’s pushing the envelope in a new direction. Maybe deliberately, yes, but still. The industry likens her to the new Madonna, but I think we should let Madonna be Madonna. I think Gaga can still be Gaga.
And hey, you best believe I still love Bjork.
Here are some shots I took of Lady Gaga at a signing tonight with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine (Beats by Dre).