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Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

  • DeLorean Was Caught On Tape But Was Acquitted When It Was Established That An FBI Informant Had Brokered The Entire Deal on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#13) DeLorean Was Caught On Tape But Was Acquitted When It Was Established That An FBI Informant Had Brokered The Entire Deal

    Despite being caught on videotape with large quantities of coke - even declaring it was "better than gold" - DeLorean was acquitted of charges in 1984. That the whole exchange had been orchestrated by an informant provided DeLorean a successful entrapment defense. To further bolster his case, DeLorean hadn't actually exchanged equity as a part of the deal - or ever intended to do so. After a 22-week trial, DeLorean walked away from eight counts of substance conspiracy, possession, and distribution.

    His legal problems were far from over, however. DeLorean's third wife, Cristina Ferrare, filed for divorce in 1985. She took custody of their children, Kathryn and Zachary, who would continue to struggle with their father's actions for decades to come. Ferrare later recalled:

    I was worn down…As much as I loved John and I know he loved me, he was emotionally unavailable... When I thought about all the stuff that he did, I said, "I can't. I have to move on." I lost all of my endorsements. No one would hire me. I was in a bad place, and I needed to get my children into a normal atmosphere.

    DeLorean's investors also began to take legal action. In 1985, DeLorean was indicted on federal fraud charges, accused of bilking investors out of $12.5 million. The indictment also claimed DeLorean used almost $9 million of the funds for personal purchases and to acquire Logan Manufacturing, a company that made equipment to groom ski slopes. 

    DeLorean escaped a fraud conviction but spent the subsequent two decades fending off civil litigation. He paid millions of dollars to investors, creditors, and shareholders, eventually having to declare personal bankruptcy in 1999. 

    DeLorean passed in 2005. By then, he'd married a fourth wife, Sally, with whom he shared a small, one-room apartment in New Jersey.

  • The Factory Had Separate Entrances For Catholic And Protestant Employees on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#7) The Factory Had Separate Entrances For Catholic And Protestant Employees

    The site of the DeLorean factory was near Belfast, a location called Dunmurry, and it opened squarely in the middle of conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. DeLorean feared conflict would break out among the workers, so he established separate entrances for Catholics and Protestants.

    From the perspective of residents, the different entrances weren't entirely the result of religious differences. Barrie Willis, former supplies director at the factory and eventual CEO, explained:

    It was misleading: the Catholic population lived on Twinbrook, and the Protestant population lived on Seymour Hill estate, on the other side of the railway line. So they came from different directions. Hence the two gates.

    DeLorean was concerned about his own safety and any actions taken by the Irish Republican Army, especially in light of the kidnapping and slaying of Thomas Niedermayer in 1973. Niedermayer had been the manager of the German Grundig electronics factory near the Dunmurry site.

    One additional concern for DeLorean was upsetting the spiritual order of the region. Fairy trees, located throughout the countryside, are to be honored and showed respect. They shouldn't be touched, trimmed, or cut down, but during the construction of DeLorean's factory, at least one fairy tree was said to have been upended by contractors.

  • DeLorean Resigned From GM After Someone 'Leaked' His Controversial Speech To The Media  on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#4) DeLorean Resigned From GM After Someone 'Leaked' His Controversial Speech To The Media

    As DeLorean made changes to his personal life, he continued to try to push GM in new directions as well. He advocated for smaller cars with better fuel efficiency. He criticized GM for not moving forward and for not being in tune with modern consumers, while simultaneously chiding the company for poor quality.

    The clearest articulation of DeLorean's ideas and vision for the future was presented at a 1973 GM executive conference at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. The speech DeLorean gave was toned down, at the suggestion of his colleagues, but the brazen, unedited version found its way into the hands of the Detroit News.

    DeLorean's speech alienated his colleagues at GM, supporters and opposition alike. It was never clear how the speech got to the media, although many GM executives believed DeLorean leaked it himself. Regardless, DeLorean left GM in 1973, either voluntarily or at the urging of the corporation, and endeavored to establish a car company of his own. 

    DeLorean told The New York Times in October 1973 that he had no regrets about leaving, expressing his dissatisfaction for sitting in meetings all day. "Even at $650,000 a year, if the job is not satisfying, you do something else," DeLorean said. "I can live on $60,000 or $70,000 a year. I have always lived conservatively."

  • John DeLorean Was An Eccentric Engineer Who Soared Up The Ranks At GM on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#1) John DeLorean Was An Eccentric Engineer Who Soared Up The Ranks At GM

    Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, John Z. DeLorean demonstrated technical acumen from a young age. He attended Cass Technical High School before serving in WWII, and later earned master's degrees in automotive engineering and business administration from the University of Michigan.

    DeLorean briefly worked for Chrysler before accepting a position at Packard Motor Car Company in 1952. In 1956, he took an engineering job at General Motors, helping GM revitalize the Pontiac division. By 1961, DeLorean was made chief engineer of the Pontiac division, a title that helped him move head with his sporty, fast-driving, powerful muscle car designs.

    DeLorean introduced the GTO in 1963, a car that essentially put a bigger engine into the Pontiac Tempest model. The GTO proved successful and DeLorean continued to rise within the GM ranks. He became a general manager in 1965 - the youngest ever at the age of 40 - and headed North American operations for GM in 1972

    As he rose to the top, DeLorean made few friends. He pushed boundaries and found loopholes when it came to car design and production, but after the success of the GTO, he took on a persona that made other executives uncomfortable. Long sideburns, dates with supermodels, and flashy clothes - all behaviors that tapped into the young culture he hoped to bring to the automobile industry - were physical representations of his rebellious spirit, narcissistic tendencies, and defiant personality.

  • The Company Unveiled A Crazy-Expensive 'Gold' DeLorean As A Promotion - And Sold Two on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#11) The Company Unveiled A Crazy-Expensive 'Gold' DeLorean As A Promotion - And Sold Two

    Sales of the DeLorean didn't meet expectations, with only about 6,000 finding their way on the roads by 1982. In addition to the standard DMC-12, the company also produced an even more expensive version of the car - this one plated with 24-karat gold.

    According to the original ad for the gold-plated DeLorean, it was "the car of the future - a sports car so spectacular that it surpasses the imagination." DeLorean indicated it would make 100 of the gold-plated versions, telling consumers that time was limited on such an exclusive luxury car. The DeLorean was equipped with...

    A richly appointed Connolly English and Italian glove leather interior, multi-speaker high output stereo system, air conditioning, full instrumentation and electrical locking, a rear-mounted, light alloy overhead cam PRV V6 2.85 litre engine, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, Lambda Sond/catalytic emission control, 5-speed manual, or 3-speed automatic transmission, counter-balanced gull wing doors with cryogenically pre-set stainless steel torsion bars - to name just a few of its features.  

    The price tag was $85,000 - "chargeable, of course, on your American Express Card account." For comparison, a Porsche 911 ran for $27,700 in 1980, while a Corvette cost just over $16,000 in 1981.

    Only two gold-plated DeLoreans were sold, one to a buyer in California and the other to a customer in Texas.

  • When The DeLorean Was Finally Unveiled, It Was Loaded With Problems And Didn't Live Up To The Company's Lofty Promises on Random DeLorean From 'Back To The Future' Has An Even Crazier Real-Life History Than We Imagined

    (#10) When The DeLorean Was Finally Unveiled, It Was Loaded With Problems And Didn't Live Up To The Company's Lofty Promises

    Car and Driver magazine had an "overwhelmingly positive" first impression of the DMC-12 but was well aware of the hiccups that went into production. The first five cars the publication saw "were abysmally short of any commercial standard of acceptability: switches popped loose, parts fell off, the rattles had squeaks, doors jammed shut, doors refused to latch, and windows fell out of their tracks."

    The problems characterized most of the first DeLoreans that hit the market. Many investors had pre-ordered their cars, including Johnny Carson, who'd invested $500,000 into the company.  Unfortunately, when Carson took his new car for a spin, it broke down just a few miles from the lot. A rescue vehicle sent to retrieve Carson also broke down. 

    The earliest DeLoreans were subject to a recall in November 1981 due to faulty suspensions - not to mention the features that had failed to deliver. The car didn't achieve the promised speeds and, in spite of being heralded as a car that would cost the same as a Corvette - roughly $14,000 - it ultimately ran about $25,000.

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About This Tool

DeLorean Motor Company is a mysterious automobile company in the United States. The special thing about the company is that it has only produced one model of car, called DeLorean.In the science fiction movie "Back to the Future", the car DeLorean that can travel through time and space, was mass-produced in real life, but the company went bankrupt before the movie was released. The founder of the company is John DeLorean. This Englishman was once known as the most daring car businessman in history, and may also be the biggest car liar in history.

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