As you well know, I was in Houston, Texas last week. Not just to eat good BBQ and hang out at Brick House Tavern all day. I was in town to visit the DMC factory, theDeLorean Motor Company.
Next week, The Hundreds will proudly present a collaboration project with DeLorean Motor Company. Leading up to the release, I’ll be taking you through the DeLorean factory, the history of DeLorean, the DMC-12 (the only model ever produced), and the reasoning behind the collaboration. All culminating to events at both The Hundreds LA and The Hundreds SF to celebrate the joint venture.
Whenever I bring up DeLorean, the most common responses usually fall along “Isn’t that the car from Back to the Future?” (Yes) “Didn’t the owner go to jail?” (NO) and “DeLorean?! Are they still around?!” (YES!).
DeLorean Motor Co. was founded by John DeLorean, a former GM executive, in 1975. Noted for his sex/drugs/RNR lifestyle, DeLorean dated supermodels, partied at Studio 54, and was eventually charged with drug trafficking in the early ’80s. Although he was acquitted, he never quite recovered from ensuing legal battles or the stigma. DeLorean died in 2005 due to a stroke, and as legend goes, he was in the midst of drawing up a second DMC car. There’re even a few movies in the works touted as DeLorean’s biopic. Sony’s in the lead with George Clooney set to play the automotive visionary.
The DMC-12 (which is virtually interchangeable with the word DeLorean) was the only car ever produced by DMC, with about 9,000 of them ever being built between ’81 and ’82, when the original DMC factory in Ireland closed its doors amidst bankruptcy and controversy surrounding its owner.
The DeLorean DMC-12 was designed to be the answer to monotony in 1980s auto design. The car catered to high-profile clientele, it was a celebrity in itself. There are many trademarks of the car, one of the most prominent being the gullwing doors. People like to joke that it must be impossible to get out if you’re parked next to somebody, but in actuality, the doors only require about a foot of clearance, which is much less than a regular car needs.
After the demise of the original DMC, British businessman (but mechanic at heart) Stephen Wynne moved in and not only acquired the rights to the DeLorean name, but all of the original blueprints to the car, and the entire original parts stock from the Ireland factory. ..moving it all to DeLorean’s new global headquarters in the smalltown of Humble, Texas! Situated smack in the middle of the country, the factory is surrounded by a rural neighborhood and looming freeway overpasses, yet it is THE source for DeLorean parts, refurbished DMC-12s, and even “new” built cars (that number at approximately 12 a year).
See the car in the forefront? DMC-12s take gas under the hood, which means you have to lift the entire hood whenever you fill the tank. The later production cars had a cut-out in the hood to allow for gas intake but twisting the cap against the stainless steel accounted for lots of bloody knuckles.
Speaking of which, the stainless steel is another trademark characteristic of DeLorean. As far as I know, there has never been another production vehicle that used this type of metal, mainly because it’s 5x more expensive than regular materials. But it embodies the ’80s, it’s sexy and sleek, and iconic. Something modern-day Apple computers can attest to.
Alright, sit tight, next I’ll take you inside the DeLorean factory…