Back to the metal
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