The press launch of the DeLorean presaged John Z’s rise and fall


Set the way-back machine for Spring 1981. That’s when I was whisked to Northern Ireland as one of John Z. DeLorean’s guest for a taste of The Future. John Cleese sat across the aisle on the Mach 2 ride in the Concorde to London. John Z. rode up front with his son Zachary. Following a night to decompress at the London Ritz hotel, we journeyed sub-sonically to the DeLorean manufacturing plant in Dunmurry, near Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the first test drives of this fabled sports car.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/15/stories-from-delorean-press-launch

Outstanding article. Mr. Sherman proves that automotive writers hold dear the art of great storytelling. This piece on its own would make a great mini-movie. I’d also add that Hagerty deserves a lot of credit for employing some remarkable talent to write these items, and make what might have been just another company-based website into an enjoyable E-magazine, like the glossy paper mags we had to wait for every month on a news-stand or in the mail, enjoyed back when the DeLorean was the hot story. Thank You.


As the owner of an '82 DMC-12, I can say that it is the one car in my collector that never fails to get a lot of attention at car shows or parades that we take it to. Mechanically, there have been challenges along the way, but my low mileage sharp looking DeLorean is a a “wow” car where ever I take it. Given more time and financial backing, I am sure that John DeLorean’s car company would have been successful. But it fizzled before making money, the kiss of death for any startup company. But his car design remains one of my personal favorites and I can’t wait to start driving it again this spring…


I agree, this was a really good article by a great writer. Those DED days were the best C&D days as well. Nice to hear a little of the back story on car intro’s. Thanks.


I remember you, Mr. Sherman. I read as many C/D magazines in high school that I could get my hands on. Then one day the DMC-12 started showing up on all the covers of the car magazines. I remember the comparison issue with the Corvette, Porsche, DMC, and others. In fact, I still have a copy of that issue along with the other issues of magazine featuring the DeLorean. So now the archives of my old high school are missing those issues since I stole, uh, liberated them from the school library.


Great article. I’ve long been a fan of the DeLorean. I finally purchased one last fall. It was fully rebuilt in 2008 by DMC Florida. I have the upgraded Stage II engine. It’s a blast to drive and you are almost guaranteed to be the center of attention wherever you go, much to the dismay of the guys who spent way more for their Porsche/Ferrari/Corvette etc.

I truly believe that if DMC could have hung on for another 6 months or so they would have been successful. The twin turbo model that was tested on Long Island in November of 81 had awesome performance and would have been exactly what DMC needed to push them out of the red. A four door sedan would have followed. There was even talk of the DeLorean factory being used to manufacture the Triumph TR7 and TR8.

Unfortunately none of that happened. DMC ran out of money and time, and we’re left with what I consider to be automotives greatest near miss in history.