Best of the Worst Cars to Collect

Sold for $26,000 on April 12, 2012

2.85 Litre  V-6 Engine
130 HP U.S. Version
One of 9000 produced from 1981-1983
4339 miles

1981 DeLorean DMC-12

The DeLorean DMC-12 (commonly referred to simply as The DeLorean as it was the only model ever produced by the company) is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean's DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 198182. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass "underbody", to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for its appearance as a modified time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy.

The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland (with the first DMC-12 rolling off the production line on January 21). During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in early 1983. The DMC-12 was the only model produced by the company, which would go into liquidation as the US car market went through its largest slump since the 1930s. In 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed to still exist.

The engine is a Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) 2.85 litre V6 which was designed and built under special contract with the DMC Company. These engines were a development of the 2.7 litre V6 in the Renault 30, and were built in the PRV Factory in Douvrin, Northern France. The gearbox, also designed by PRV, was built at the Renault facility near Caen in Normandy. The engines and gearboxes were shipped weekly by sea from the PRV Factories to the DMC Factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.

John DeLorean had originally envisioned that the car would produce somewhere around 200 horsepower (150 kW), but eventually settled on a 150-horsepower (110 kW) output for the engine. However, United States emissions regulations required that parts such as catalytic converters be added to the vehicle before it could be sold there. This caused a 20 horsepower (15 kW) reduction to the vehicle's power output, a loss which seriously impaired the DMC-12's performance. This combined with the changes to the suspension system, meant that the performance of the US version was regarded as disappointing. DeLorean's comparison literature noted that the DMC-12 could achieve 060 miles per hour (097 km/h) in 8.8 seconds, respectable for the early 1980s, but Road & Track magazine clocked the car at 10.5 seconds. It is possible that the factory performance numbers were achieved using a European-spec car with the 150-horsepower (110 kW) engine.

Are these good investments in the current collector car market?  I would say "definitely no" at the price range above $20,000.  They just have not received serious investor car status and probably never will.  They are more of a curiosity and are primarily popular due the toe film Back to the Future.  However things can change.  This is one of the best ones I have seen.