Are you an oddball scientist on the cusp of discovering time travel? These days, you probably wouldn’t choose a DeLorean as your time machine because of how cliche it’d be. A Hummer, Saab, or basically any car from a defunct auto brand would suffice. But the DeLorean is still a solid choice, for obvious reasons. And now Back to the Future aficionados have another reason to celebrate: the DeLorean Motor Company might finally be allowed to start building new models.
The DeLorean Motor Company is something more than a spiritual successor to the company started by John DeLorean. In 1997, DeLorean Motor Company of Texas purchased the remaining inventory of factory parts and the right to distribute them. Those parts, and the world’s undying love for Robert Zemeckis’ magnum opus, have seemingly sustained the company’s business for over two decades now. Unsurprisingly, the company is dedicated to providing service for all the remaining examples of the DMC-12 models out there.
If everything went according to plan, the company would have already been building new models by now. The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 essentially cleared the way for smaller automakers to build new versions of older cars. Unfortunately, the various executive agencies tasked with codifying the act into law never fulfilled their legal mandate. As a result, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, aka SEMA, sued the federal government, and it appears the litigation may have finally motivated the two agencies to act. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have both completed drafts for the new rules and are set to move the process forward. At this point, the only thing stopping the drafts from becoming finalized is the lack of leadership at NHTSA, which has not had an administrator since early 2017.
If the drafts become law, the new DMC-12 will be updated with modern equipment. They’ll basically be restomods right from the factory. With the new law, low volume automakers are exempt from complying with crash safety standards. But they will have to equip their vehicles with emissions compliant powertrains that have already been certified by the EPA. For the DeLorean, Autoblog detailed the company’s original intention to outfit the new models with a 3.5 liter V6, which is no longer possible because that particular engine is slated for retirement. That sure sounds like the company planned on buying a crate version of Ford’s 3.5 liter V6. The last vehicles to use that engine were the D3 and D4 models produced at Chicago Assembly. Instead, the company is flirting with an engine of unknown displacement that puts out about 350 horsepower. Ford’s 2.3 liter EcoBoost four cylinder almost fits that bill. In any event, it is highly unlikely that anyone will miss the original PRV 2.8 liter V6, which made an unimpressive 130 horsepower.
Powertrain aside, a number of creature comforts like upgraded headlights, bluetooth audio, and power steering are also expected to be equipped on the new models. Rumors of a standard flux capacitor are unconfirmed as of this writing. The DeLorean Motor Company believes the rules will be finalized sometime this year.