Many announcements have been made since 2016, when word first came out that the U.S. government announced the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act. DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), the manufacturer of the iconic 1980s gullwing-door sports car/time machine of Back to the Futurefame, announced that they will be using this new law to produce brand new DeLorean DMC-12 sports cars from a combination of new and old stock.
The unique stainless steel-bodied rear-engined sports car became the star of the Back to the Future movies in the late ‘80s, then was left to fade to obscurity amid the company’s—and founder John Z. DeLorean’s—financial and legal troubles.
The new Act allowed low-volume manufacturers to build up to 325 cars per year without needing to meet modern safety regulations, provided the engine meets current emissions standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was tasked with implementing the law, but the formulation of guidelines was put on the backburner following the 2016 presidential election. But after some legal wrangling from the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the NHTSA finally released guidelines for the law, which means the revival of the DeLorean could finally begin.
DeLorean executives have said that the updated model will conform closely to the ageless styling of the DMC-12. The new body is said to emulate that of the ‘80s original in all its wedge-shaped low-slung beauty, but have modern touches, which we assume should include features like LED headlamps and taillamps. Under the hood (which means under the rear hatch), the car could pack a 350hp engine—a sizable increase from the original version’s 130 horses—while the upscale interior will boast modern amenities, which we expect should include a touchscreen infotainment system with the usual smartphone connectivity.
The new engine, expected to come from a volume manufacturer like Ford or GM, should improve one aspect of the original DeLorean—lackluster performance. That pioneering DMC-12 was powered by a smooth but anemic (130hp/207Nm) 2.8-liter V6 sourced from the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo consortium at the time. A turbo or even normally aspirated V6 should easily deliver 350 horses. Heck, they can even decide to put in an all-electric drivetrain and source it from any number of EV suppliers from the US. (Now that’s a futuristic ride.)
Although the new law allows DeLorean to make 325 cars per year, company execs say the upcoming run could be as low as one or two vehicles per week. DMC didn’t give any firm dates regarding production or release but has previously stated the new DeLorean could be priced at around US$100,000. That’s slightly higher than the US$90,000 US-market price of a base Porsche 911 Carrera, which has a 370hp flat-6 motor.
Without a doubt, the 911 is the better and more thoroughly developed sports car, but guess which car will turn more heads at the country club or hotel driveway. Yes, the DeLorean has truly traveled back and forth through time.