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DeLorean goes back into production

Flux capacity: The DeLorean Motor Company has a stockpile of thousands of OEM parts with which it will build around 300 modernised DMC-12 sportscars.

Iconic DeLorean DMC-12 to roll again following low-volume law revision


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28 Jan 2016

DELOREAN has made it back to the future following a change to the United States Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which will allow the iconic DMC-12 to return to production after a 33 year hiatus.

When the original DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) went into receivership in 1982, the company's assets, including the name, were acquired by a separate company that started renovating original factory built cars with the extensive parts archive, but regulations prevented it producing 'new' cars.

Under previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulation, DMC was subjected to the same hefty compliances of larger mass-produced brands ruling out 'new' car production, but a revision to the laws in December 2015 has slackened the leash on smaller car-makers.

According to the new regulatory structure, companies producing a limited number of vehicles that “resemble the appearance of cars produced 25 years ago or more” are now less heavily scrutinised, creating a business case for the DMC-12.

While it is understood the company has enough original parts to build hundreds of new DeLoreans, the cars will have to comply with standards set by organisations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Californian Air Resources Board (CARB).

The DeLorean's original 2.8-litre V6 produced a meagre 97kW and would struggle to meet today's strict standards, which has spurred DMC to look for a more efficient, cleaner and powerful powerplant.

“The new law allows the low volume vehicle manufacturer to meet the standards by installing an engine and emissions equipment produced by another auto-maker (GM, Ford, etc.),” says DeLorean.

By changing the underpinning drivetrain, 2016 DMC-12s are categorised as “resembling” the original cars and are therefore permitted under the new guidelines.

With modern engines and transmissions, the new models are expected to significantly better the original zero to 97km/h acceleration time of 8.8 seconds or 10.5s when fitted with the three-speed automatic transmission.

Electrics, electronics and features are also expected to be brought up to 21st century standards, while the classic and immediately identifiable bare stainless steel body, gull-wing doors and silver wedge profile will be retained.

The new production run is limited by the stockpile of existing parts, but as the company owns much of the original tooling as well, sufficient demand could prompt DMC into restarting the production of rarer components. With a greater pool of components, the complete car production run could be extended.

United States pricing for the 'new' DMC-12 is unconfirmed at this stage but reports speculate a figure of around $US100,000 ($A142,000).

Original DMCs were manufactured in Northern Ireland, but the new run of vehicles will come from the DeLorean Motor Company's base in Texas.

Fewer than 20 of the 8583 1980s DeLoreans were produced in right-hand drive configuration, making an Australian compliant right-hand drive version unlikely as part of the modern batch.

The original DeLorean was not known for high-performance or sharp dynamics, but instead was recognised for its unique Giugiaro-penned styling and was later immortalised by the 1980s film trilogy Back to the Future.

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