The Delorean Story
John Z. DeLorean was born in 1925 in Detroit. After high school he attended the Lawrence Institute of Technology and eventually earned a master’s in engineering from the Chrysler Institute. After graduation, he worked in the prestigious Packard Research and Development group for a while but soon left to go to work for General Motors.
The early 1970s were difficult times in Detroit and Delorean in his autobiography, DeLorean, wrote that the ethical and business problems he had with General Motors had become so substantial, that he simply wanted out. Truth be told, this allowed him to become a well-paid independent consultant whereby he could raise funds build his own dream car.
In 1975, Delorean founded two companies: Composite Technology Corporation (CTC) and the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC). CTC was developed to research and develop new, cutting-edge automotive construction materials.
To build his first dream car, the DMC-12, DeLorean hired the famed Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and Colin Chapman of Lotus. To build his cars, DeLorean settled on Northern Ireland, which offered him the best business deal. The factory’s formal opening was in 1981. As the story goes, the first 70-80 cars to roll off the assembly line were so bad they were parked, unfinished, along the factory’s fence for weeks.
Despite the setbacks, though, there were orders for thousands of DMC-12s. DeLorean tried to ramp production up to 14,700 a year to meet demand but cash flow problems developed quickly.
In 1982, the DeLorean Motor Company was put into receivership by the British government in and in his desperation, John Z. pursued “questionable sources of funds” to keep his company afloat. He ended up in a dramatic DEA cocaine bust in October 1982 that became a world-wide news event. By 1984, he was found not guilty of all counts against him, but his car company was gone by then.