Thursday, January 28, 2016

Texas Company Ready To Start Making “New” DeLorean

When John Z.DeLorean shuffled off this mortal coil after snuffling untold quantities of white powder up his nose, the assets of his car company were purchased by DeLorean Motor Company of Humble, Texas. It has quietly stayed in business repairing existing DeLorean cars, thanks to a large stockpile of original DeLorean parts.
DeLorean reborn as a replica
Now, a change in federal law is opening the way for it to actually start putting those parts together to make “new” DeLoreans, according to The Verge. The law exempts small volume car manufacturers from the safety requirements applied to most new car makers. It only applies to “replica” vehicles, which means cars that resemble the body of another vehicle produced at least 25 years ago. Think the original Shelby Cobra, the 65 Mustang and of course, the DeLorean.
“It’s fantastic! It is a game changer for us. We’ve been wanting this to happen,” Stephen Wynne, CEO of DeLorean Motors told NBC News in Washington. He estimates he has enough original and replica parts on hand to build 300 new DeLoreans. He will start by making one a month, with hopes to get that up to about one a week in time. Because he has all those original parts, “There’s no need to change the appearance of the car,” Wynne said.
The new law does not apply to engines, however. They must still conform to all current emissions standards. Wynne is investigating the purchase of new crate engines from different manufacturers. All of the engines he is considering have between 300 and 400 horsepower — almost triple the 138 horses supplied by the original four cylinder engine. The new cars will also get larger wheels and tires, Wynne says, because nobody makes high performance rubber for the original 14″ or 15″ wheels any more.
There are still a lot of regulatory hoops to jump through before production can begin. Both DOT and NHTSA regulations must be complied with. Assuming that process goes smoothly, Wynne foresees starting to build cars in the first quarter of 2017. He anticipates the cars will sell for between $80,000 and $100,000 each. That seems like a bargain for a genuine low volume iconic car like the DeLorean, especially one with a healthy increase in horsepower. Maybe Wynne should take reservations the way Tesla does.
John Z. was an interesting fellow. He created the Pontiac Firebird and the original Pontiac GTO. After he left General Motors, he pioneered an innovative 6 wheeled motor home with an air suspension that is still highly prized by the RV crowd. When he decided to build his own car, the government of Northern Ireland made him an offer he couldn’t refuse in order to induce him to build a factory there. The government desperately wanted to create manufacturing jobs at that time.
DeLorean picked out the site himself, but there was a problem. There was a large whitethorn tree right where DeLorean wanted his factory built. He ordered the workers to rip it out. Now, not all of our readers may be steeped in Irish legend as I am, but everyone in Ireland knows the fairies make their homes in the roots of whitethorn trees. Disturbing the “little people” is akin to calling down all the bad luck imaginable upon your sorry head.
The workers tried to convince DeLorean to change his plans but he was having none of it. The rest, as they say, is history. Perhaps now the “little people” have rescinded their curse and are ready to let the DeLoren be reborn, faster and better than ever. It won’t have a flux capacitor, but with up to 400 horsepower, it will have no problem reaching precisely 88 miles per hour.
Photo credit: DeLorean Motor Company

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