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Classic Sports Car - - Letters -

Since, as the third and fi­nal CEO of Delorean Mo­tor Cars Ltd, I gave the keys to the auc­tion­eers at the Delorean plant in Dun­murry, North­ern Ire­land, in Fe­bru­ary ’83, I have been a con­stant re­mover of nu­mer­ous myths about the man, the car, the com­pany and its peo­ple. In an oth­er­wise ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle about the Auburn Cord Due­sen­berg Mu­seum in In­di­ana (Clas­sic shrines, May), Michael Milne has cre­ated a new one: the ‘rare fac­tory red’ Delorean. So rare, as a cou­ple of own­ers have ob­served on so­cial me­dia, that it’s one of none!

John Delorean’s ob­jec­tive of cre­at­ing an eth­i­cal car – one that would last 20 years (two-thirds of the 9080 made have al­ready lasted 35!) – in­flu­enced the de­sign of the fac­tory as well as the car. At the time of its cre­ation in 1974, body paints were oil-based rather than to­day’s wa­ter-based. As such, the spray­ing process within a paint shop cre­ated a mas­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lem when dis­pos­ing of the residue that did not make the body sur­face. John’s so­lu­tion was to spec­ify un­painted, brushed stain­less steel for the ex­te­rior sur­faces, hence no need for a paint shop, hence no fac­tory red – and no other fac­tory colour for that mat­ter.

At the time the com­pany en­tered re­ceiver­ship in the UK and Chap­ter 11 in the USA, the Cal­i­for­nian end of the busi­ness – un­der the lead­er­ship of CR ‘Dick’ Brown – was ex­per­i­ment­ing with the use of coloured lac­quers that al­lowed the stain­less grain to show through. No car was ever com­pleted in that con­di­tion, how­ever. Soon af­ter, one or two deal­ers and an im­porter in the Mid­dle East painted a few cars in reg­u­lar colours, in an at­tempt to speed up the move­ment of un­sold stock. It seems likely that the red car in the mu­seum is one of those. Bar­rie Wills

Meri­den, West Mid­lands

Red DMC-12 wasn’t a fac­tory job, says former Delorean CEO Wills

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