Thanks to a new law it looks increasingly likely that, for the first time in 33 years, new DeLorean DMC-12s will roll off an assembly line in 2017.
For you millennials out there, that means you could buy and drive the two-seat sports car that Doc and Marty turned into a time machine in the “Back to the Future” movies. John DeLorean left his job at General Motors to start his own automobile company in the ’70s. His company, the original DeLorean Motor Company, went bankrupt in 1982 but only after it produced the DMC-12, which became popular after being featured in the film.
Stephen Wynne, the founder of the new DeLorean Motor Company-Texas, started producing “newly assembled” DMC-12s in 2008. The new company acquired DeLorean parts from the original suppliers and helped hobbyists maintain and refurbish their DMC-12s.
What Does This Mean to Metal Buyers?
It means more stainless steel will be necessary for the Humble, Texas-based automaker to start an assembly line to build all of those new cars! We’ve previously written about how the DMC-12 is pretty much the only stainless-steel-exterior car ever built. Wynne told SFgate.com that the new DMC has enough parts to assemble about 300 cars and a new DMC-12 will cost around $100,000. The tagline on their website is even “clean and timeless design. Stainless steel.”
It is thanks to the Low-Volume Vehicle Manufacturers’ Act of 2015 that new DeLoreans are even possible. The LVVMA was passed by Congress last year and essentially means that companies like the new DMC won’t have to conform to the exact same production and safety standards as mass-market automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors. The new DMC had run headlong into regulatory red tape for decades trying to produce a car that was originally designed and built in the ’80s that was expected to meet the safety standards of the new millennium.
Low-Volume, High Demand
Smaller automakers are still required to register with National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, and file annual production reports. The replica vehicles will be subject to equipment standards, recalls and remedies. While the vehicles must meet current Clean Air Act standards for the model year in which they are produced, the new law allows the low-volume vehicle manufacturer to meet the standards by installing an engine and emissions equipment produced by another automaker for a similar EPA-certified vehicle configuration or a create an engine that has been granted a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order.
Everything That’s Old is New Again
There are a lot of hurdles that still need to be crossed before you can buy your brand new, stainless-bodied, gull-wing doored DMC-12. They still have to find a new engine for the car, for one thing. The original’s low-power 2.8-liter V6 was named one of the worst “high-performance” engines of all time by Jalopnik. DMC-Texas is supposedly in talks with several engine manufacturers and hopes to have a new one soon. It will likely have to be a large automaker engine to satisfy the Clean Air Act requirement mentioned above.
Wynne also said the car will get an update so it has power windows, steering and all the things we now take for granted that didn’t exist in 1982. If they don’t include flux capacitors and a “Mr. Fusion” decorative “engine” on the back in at least one custom package it will be a huge missed opportunity.
Still, a new DMC-12 with more power, modern electronics, the same beautiful stainless panels and doors that open upward? Who says you can’t go back?