I wonder if the readers of the February ’82 Road & Track that this ad came out of knew what a failure the DeLorean was going to be. The ad certainly promises prospective buyers the moon, and only knowing this story’s epilogue, it’s hard to say how good this ad, which seems over the top, was. A lot of money went into the full two-page spread (click to enlarge), ensuring that readers would have a hard time ignoring it, and with 345 dealers, it would seem there was a decent initial investment. With most of the cars already built by the time this ad ran, it would also seem that, even ignoring John DeLorean’s legal predicament, the DMC-12 was already in trouble.
Vintage Ad: 1982 DeLorean – Live The Dream
– Posted on April 6, 2014
De Lorean wrote “on a clear day you can see General Motors”. It is an interesting read, but when you consider the mess the De Lorean Motors turned out to be, one has to wonder how seriously to take it.
I did see a picture of a De Lorean with a license plate that read “snow”. This was a long time ago and I don’t remember where, possibly Road & Track or Car & Driver.
Years ago C&D featured a pic of a DeLorean with the plate NO COKE
I remember seeing this ad the first time. And agree with your assessment Perry. There was already issues appearing with DMC, when this ad ran. I didn’t recall seeing DMC ads like this, in Road and Track for example, when the car was being introduced.
Even as a teen, I knew something was up, as to why they started to advertise with splashy ads now. Well after the car was first being sold to the public.
Perhaps it was because it was winter, and the ad used cold colors. But I found it a bit stark.
I subbed as a teacher the first year after I retired. Got put on parking lot duty one day and a youngster drove up and parked one of these. Don’t know the year (was there more than one?) but it was his DD. He told me he inherited it from his grandpa.
There was also one parked in the display area of ET motors in New Caney, Tx, a dealership specializing in work trucks. Only two I remember ever seeing up close and they were within a couple miles of each other in a small town just North of Houston.
You must have been in Humble, home of the DeLorean Motor Company. They own pretty much all of the remaining stash of NOS parts and have all of the drawings to make new ones. They do restorations and have built complete cars out of their parts stash.
I lived in Kingwood (just north of Humble) for a number of years. It isn’t unusual to see a DeLorean driving around the NE Houston burbs. When I first moved to KW there was even a high school kid delivering pizzas in a rough looking DeLorean.
Not Humble but close. My last school system was New Caney and I worked at the High School from Y2K till 2010. The student was from there (school districts is adjacent to KW) and the car dealer was ET motors in New Caney. Northbound feeder just south of 59/1485.
I don’t think I knew that about the delorean collections but that would explain two good looking examples in East Texas.
I know exactly where ET is. The place decorated with all the vintage gas station signs, right? If you just have to have an old Southwestern Bell/AT&T truck, that’s the place to go!
My ex-wife taught at New Caney 9th Grade for a few years before moving to the DFW area. She worked for Humble ISD prior to that. The NC/Porter area sure has changed a lot with all the new subdivisions populated largely by refugees from “Occupied Kingwood”. (as KW is referred to by folks who lived there before Houston annexed it) I sure as hell never imagined that NCHS would become a 5A school.
Did they come with snow tires?
I saw a new one in Blackpool when I lived there in 1982,the salesroom was in a warzone behind the Imperial Hotel.2 years later there was an unsold one in the Ulster Folk Museum.Not my cup of tea,the 1980s was generally pretty horrible,just as I asosciate the Austin A35 with Miss Banks a very unpopular French teacher I asosciate the De Lorean with the awful music and clothes of the 80s
The ad copy is straight ahead standard car copy you’d see from any era. I think if they invested in a unique ad campaign, better selling the lifestyle/vision, it would have helped. For a few more years, at least.
And I believe the guy was found not guilty? Something everyone cares to forget? Yeah, little facts like that could ruin an entertaining story. Little matter of Federal entrapment.
It makes better copy if that little piece of info is left out, not to mention it destroyed the man and his dream that became a nightmare
Syke, the letter of the law says the man was not guilty. But if you read the surveillance transcripts which were published, this man was under no illusion as to what he was doing. In a desperate last ditch attempt to finance his car business, he got involved in the importation of a large amount of cocaine.
@fred. You are right to question the veracity of ‘On a Clear Day..’. It is a self serving document, but for the most part reads well. The history of the book is summed up in Ivan Fallon and James Srodes’ ‘DeLorean’ published 1983.
In 1974, JZDL approached J. Patrick Wright to help him with a book to ‘open up the board room from the inside’. He gave Wright copious notes, GM memos, business analyses, rough drafts of chapters and other documentation. Wright finished his manuscript by Labor Day 1975.
Then JZDL changed his mind. He feared the book would anger GM execs ‘who he said would make it difficult, if not impossible, to build and market an ‘ethical sports car’ which he was developing.’ (Wright’s words)
For four years JZDL stalled publication of the book, even trying to buy Wright out with the promise of $5000 and 20% of any future book he might publish. Wright demurred.
Wright could not find a publisher, so published it himself at a reported cost of $50,000. It became a best seller and Wright is said to have made about $1 million on the book. With the book’s success came JZDL’s embrace of it.
Still, it is Wright’s cleaning up of JZDL’s story. I like reading ‘On a Clear Day..’ but when you read the Fallon and Srodes book you get a much clearer sense of JZDL’s character.
DeLorean was never convicted of any of the various charges against him (of which the cocaine trial was only the first salvo), but, as the British press noted with some glee after his death, the Crown still had a standing warrant for his arrest on fraud charges related to missing DMC Ltd. funds. DeLorean was charged in that case, which also resulted in the imprisonment of former Lotus executive Fred Bushell, but was able to avoid extradition.
Yep, the car as its development progressed was less and less as originally envisioned. But the attempts to keep the venture afloat read very poorly for JZDL. Fallon and Srodes appear to be scrupulous in their representation of the continued corporate ‘malfeasance’.
To add even more to some of the DeLorean lore, there is the rumor that Colin Chapman faked his own death to escape charges in relation to missing DeLorean funds.
Well, the judge who sentenced Bushell did say that if Chapman were alive to stand trial, he would have faced a 10-year prison term.
Supposedly, his wife has refused requests to exhume his body to confirm that it is actually Chapman buried there.
Hazel Chapman was there with Colin from the start. She even lent her boyfriend Colin the money to start a business called Lotus Engineering back in the early 1950s. All credit to her, its hard enough to find women who played a significant role in automotive history and she is one. If someone asked me to exhume my deceased partner for the sake of a few rumours…
I agree, but it does add to the mystery.
“Syke, the letter of the law says the man was not guilty. But if you read the surveillance transcripts which were published, this man was under no illusion as to what he was doing. In a desperate last ditch attempt to finance his car business, he got involved in the importation of a large amount of cocaine.”
Tempting desperate people through entrapment to do illegal things is a despicable act far worse then what surveillance transcripts suggest DeLorean did or didn’t know about what he was doing. He was set-up and found not guilty. I’m glad the courts saw it the same way
Oddly enough I saw this today
as a canuck we need to have a Bricklin on CC…..there used to be a shabby one at an apartment complex close by….. gone now 🙁
I’m pretty sure this was another car maker involved with financial wrongdoing
yes quite an interesting back story, will look for the car in my neighborhood to take some pics…it was in rough shape- semi-daily driver
The CC effect. I was walking back from church this morning and coming down through the East 60s, and saw the DeLeorean I have seen on several occasions parked on Lexington. I don’t know who owns it but it seems right at home.
There is a DeLorean car parked on the street close to where I live. It is often in different spots so I assume it is driven regularly.
Too much has already been written about this car and its maker, but it just goes to show how much hocus-pocus and holi-poli a guy like DeLorean can actually manage to pull off. Like, what was he thinking? The worst V-6 in the world hung off the back? A Malibu had similar performance. The whole thing always struck me as a gigantic sham, with DeLorean livin’ the jet-set style the whole time. Only Bricklin had more mojo than this guy!
JZDL was a major part in the 60s success of Pontiac. I don’t think he started his company as a sham. I believe he genuinely started with the best of intentions. But success within a giant corporation that allows you to focus on your core strengths is one thing, starting a car company from scratch with its myriad business requirements is something completely different.
He just bit off more than he could chew. His attempts to sustain the start-up put him in proximity to some very questionable business practices. The reality of putting a car together led to ongoing compromises to the packaging. I don’t think criminality was at the core of his character. But as things neared the end, desperation seemed to colour his decision-making.
I love what he was trying to do, its just that he failed and did so in the most spectacular way. And he has to bear a lot of the responsibility for that failure.
He was human, with all the complexity that entails.
+1 Pontiac would have gone the way of DeSoto & Edsel if John DeLorean hadn’t been involved.Whether he was involved in wrongdoing or not,he saved Pontiac and their best cars came about when he was there.The long slow decline started after his departure.
Delorean the GM exec was quite a different situation than Delorean running his own company. One has to remember that it wasn’t just Delorean at Pontiac; it was Delorean, ‘Bunkie’ Knudson, and Pete Estes. Within that trio (along with marketing guru Jim Wangers), Delorean at Pontiac soared.
It’s also kind of a portent of things to come in how Delorean skirted GM engine displacement/chassis rules to get the famous GTO into production. Supposedly, if the GTO had failed, Delorean would have been fired. It goes without saying that there was a lot of corporate jealousy within GM directed at Delorean. His flamboyance and meteoric success (which many felt was unwarranted) wasn’t liked very much by his peers. The auto industry, even under the best of circumstances, is a dog-eat-dog, cutthroat world but it’s as if Delorean had managed to make insider enemies of just about everyone (whether he deserved it or not).
It didn’t help when Bunkie, an important Delorean GM ally, jumped ship to join Ford, either.
I just started reading ‘On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors’ last night before I went to bed. It’s quite interesting to be greeted with this post first thing today!
I read the book at about the time it was published. One of our local libraries had it. DeLorean did some very good things at Pontiac to make the brand more attractive to younger buyers. The GTO was his idea and started the muscle car craze. While DeLorean was in charge of Pontiac, he did have to answer to upper GM management. What we learn from the DeLorean Motors failure is that DeLorean did not know as much about running a company as he thought.
From what I have read so far I would have to agree. I do however appreciate his concern for better engineering standards and improving vehicle quality at GM. Too bad his own idea for an ‘ethical’ sports car was a complete disaster from start to finish. The more books I read about the auto industry, the more disdain I have for car manufacturers and big business in general. It’s eye opening to say at the very least.
Don’t despair, there are plenty of good stories as well. Pop into Motor Book World in Camberwell and talk to David, he’ll point you in the right direction. Ask him for the Mark Donohue bio. Big business is big business, though.
A few years ago, 2011 IIRC, I worked in Bessemer, AL, just about 15 miles south of downtown Birmingham on main 4 lane highway that ran parallel to the interstate. That summer construction shut down part of the interstate for a month or so, first the north bound and then the south bound at separate times. During this, I could see all of the Birmingham commuters who would usually be on the interstate since they were now backed up on this 4 lane and every day I saw a DeLorean. Someone was doing at the very least a 40 mile roundtrip commute every day in a DeLorean.
Lovely car, I saw one of these in Seattle over the weekend, perhaps I should have gotten a photo.
There is a DeLorean up at Caboolture that is blue, I think it is plastic wrapped, and a couple on the Gold Coast as well. Not common but still to be seen around the place.
William Goldman once said that no-one ever goes out to make a bad film, but somewhere along the line things just go wrong. That pretty much covers the story of the DeLorean as well.
There was a supposed DeLorean bio-pic in the works several years ago, but it seems that maybe it was shelved?
I think it is on youtube now.
Being a C&D subscriber at the time, I still recall the (unrealistically?) flattering tone of their DMC 12 review. And of their Vector review. And of their GM X-bodies review.
When I was young and naive, I had a job interview, at DeLorean’s offices here in Irvine, for a position in the marketing department. I didn’t get the job, thank God; instead, I accepted an offer from a large ad agency across the street and spent 12 years there on the Hyundai account. I’ll always remember that the DeLorean exec who interviewed me mentioned that he’d come to DMC from a similar position at Bricklin. Guess he really liked gullwings.
Ah, Vector! Did they ever actually make anything except prototypes ?
Looks like they’re still around: http://www.vectormotors.com/company.html
Wish I hadn’t sunk all my money into that Dale stock…
Whatever happened to the creator of the Dale, Liz Carmichael? He/she went to prison, then disappeared.
The Dale has to be the absolute weirdest new car start-up, ever. It’s too bad it never actually went into production; it would have been a great CC.
2 versions,she died in 2004 or she lives in Mexico.He/she is very offensive to transgendered people
How come, Gem?
I remember when the whole Dale story was on “Unsolved Mysteries” with Robert Stack.
“You might be able to help solve……a mystery!”
It implies a mix of male/female and is used as an insult in the UK.I have a transexual friend I’ve known since school,she doesn’t like it,I also worked with a transexual who reported a co worker for using the term once to often and the guy got fired.He was on a final warning due to sickies,timekeeping and having a fight over a parking space and this was the last straw
Thanks. I’m still getting a handle on LGBIT protocols over here. Their radio station plays some mighty good dance music.
Not much of a dance music fan,though I’m straight I’ve had some good nights out in gay clubs and bars in Blackpool,Manchester and London
As I recall, Carmichael was not transgender, but a transvestite, like Dr. Frank N. Furter.