John DeLorean Speaks Out
Recently, I had the rare opportunity to meet John DeLorean . Speaking as an honored guest at a banquet of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship International , the brilliant automobile engineer reflected on his past at General Motors, his financial crisis after founding the DeLorean Motor Company in Northern Ireland, and his federal cocaine trial .
I first became infatuated with DeLorean’s work while he was Pontiac’s chief engineer. He took a great car, the Pontiac Tempest, offered it with a 326 cubic-inch V-8 or a 389 cubic-inch V-8 , with 3 double-barreled carburetors for performance, and named the creation a GTO. DeLorean went on to manage the Chevrolet division, and eventually , most of General Motors. Later, his skill , talent , and creativity gave us the DeLorean motor car, with its gull-wing doors perfectly counter-balanced against gravity, its gray steel body built in Northern Ireland; a truly magnificent sports car. I am sure that most people remember John DeLorean ‘s arrest. For the few of you who do not, it was a major media event. Videotaped, choreographed , probably rehearsed, it was complete with theatrical props, cocaine i n particular. What many people may not remember is that John DeLorean was acquitted. That event, unfortunatel y , did not receive much attention from the media. The facts presented at DeLoreans’ trial demonstrated a major set-up, carefully planned and executed by a paid FBI informant. The informant’s sleazy scheme, utilizing coercion and threats, received the sup port of reputable FBI agents . The tactics employed during his trial, an intense courtroom drama, are documented in DeLorean’s new book, DELOREAN. It’s an exciting autobiographical account of his life and well worth reading .
John DeLorean would “delight in being able to resurrect the DeLorean car.” However, “when it looked like DMC might come out of bankruptcy . . . the British government ordered the 12 million dollars worth of body dies destroyed, dies essential for manufacturing the DeLorean motor car.” Some of the dies were dumped into Galway Bay. Scuba divers have photographed the dies lying on the ocean floor. With this move , the British destroyed the value of the 8758 DMCs on the road in America . John DeLorean is still struggling with litigation – against the British government. He hopes to salvage some of the dies so that parts can be made available to existing DeLorean car owners.
DeLorean’s future plans? He has al ways dreamed of building “another BMW .” DeLorean is and has been relentless as an innovator within the automotive industry . He promises his new car will be very different. Yes, he has gotten back the rights to make cars again! He hopes to disclose everything within 60-90 days . His engineering genius will be challenged by his strong ethics to design improvements based upon performance, and not simply some superficial , cosmetic modification . Knowing John DeLorean, I don’t think we will be disappointed .
This article was originally published in the July 1987 edition of Zundfolge