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John Z. Delorean-Back In Business?

Shiftright-just saw an article of an interview
with JZD . He lloks great (still out of jail) and
is planning a new car venture! My question-given
his track record, is it likely he will attract new
investors? (I don't think the British Govt. is keen
on lending him money). Still, he was a brilliant
engineer, and had a good head for styling. Was the
demise of the DMC-12 all his fault? Or was it
basically a bad design that never could succeed?
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    NO, I dont' think the demise of the Delorean was all his fault. Actually, it could have been a pretty neat car, but it turned out to be a pretty bad one. The biggest problems were a) not using the orginal plan for a twin-turbo Lotus engine (they plugged in a Renault V-6 at the last minute and it was a slug), and b) the labor problems in Ireland was insurmountable, resulting in a car of very poor build quality and dubious reliability.

    So what John D had to sell was a nice looking, underpowered, overpriced badly built car. The outcome was obvious from the beginning...it was doomed.

    Do you think that it's any accident that no one, EVER, has built a car of stainless steel before or since the Delorean? There are some lessons to be learned from history!

    Does John D have any credibility left? I doubt it. I think the man has used up all the good will and respect he may have earned while at GM. And that, I think , is indeed his own fault.

    MODERATOR

  • that the DMC had a Volvo engine in it.
  • I must be missing something incredibly obvious here, but why is it bad? It seems like the ideal material, strong and rustproof. I thought someone turned out a stainless Airflow (?) one-off in the 30's, but...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    Stainless, oddly enough "stains" to the touch. It's also difficult to straighten, hard to paint and expensive to replace. It's a pretty impractical choice (one may even say "stupid") for large body panels on an exterior, moving surface like a car, which is exposed to many physical and environmental hazards.

    The V-6 engine used in the Delorean was shared by Renault, Volvo and Peugeot I believe, and was quite troublesome in all those cars.

    MODERATOR

  • Wern't new owners of the DMC-12's advised to clean their cars with steel wool? I also understand that you could paint them-the light shining through the paint made for a very different look.
    Regarding the Renault/Vovo/Peugeot V-6: it was indeed a piece of crap-poorly balanced and fragile. I believe that this engine was the source of several VOLVO recalls.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    I've seen them painted, they look okay, nothing special that I've ever noticed. They look better in bare metal, IMO.

    Yes, that V-6 was a very poor unit. You don't want a 1980s era V-6 Volvo, that's for sure.

    MODERATOR

  • Why dont you see more cars with doors other than the standard type? The only ones I can think of is the DMC and Lotus gull wings. Which lotus is that?
    Is there some problem with these for tall people? Why dont you see these more?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    Because a) they are really expensive to produce, b) they are prone to faulty operation, leaking and wind noise, and c) quite frankly, as a practical design element, they are kind of a bad idea. (difficult in and out, overhead and side to side clearance, can't put in a roll down window).

    MODERATOR

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I wonder what would have happened to the idea if Edsel had pioneered gullwing doors instead of Mercedes. I wonder if every flash-in-the-pan auto maker would have used them for instant cachet. But John Z. did some good work at Pontiac.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    How the heck to you open the things in a crowded parking lot? With front hinged doors, if you can get it open 6 or 8 inches, you can squeeze out, but with a delorian, you'll have to, I dunno what, climb out the back hatch? No, wait the engine's bacj there. Did they come with a sunroof?
    FWIW, the delorian has miserably failed Shifty's "strip it down to the bare bones and see if it still looks beautiful" test. Saw one at a cruise night this weekend. Wasn't really in that bad of a shape, but it looked like a tired old 20 year old car would. Kinda sad looking. At first I thought it was a mid-eighties Camaro that was beginning to come apart. Thing made a lot of noise too. Still, it was kinda cool to see the back to the future car.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Posts: 414
    Don't forget the Bricklin.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,661
    May possibly be the WORST mass produced engine built in the last 20 years. They were used in some Volvos and Peugeots also and they were pure garbage. Among other things, the cam bearings would fail around 40,000 miles. This was something like a 2000.00 repair fifteen years ago.

    Volvo would like to forget about that.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Bricklin was the other one I was thinking of that tried to use the gullwing mystique. At least it came with some proven engines, either the AMC 360 or Ford 351W as I recall.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    Sometimes it's better not to try and rip off a GREAT CAR design...the only Gullwing is the 300SL Mercedes and unless you come up with one hell of a car, nobody's going to buy this "gullwing" business. You can wear Mohammed Ali's pinky ring and a "I Am the Greatest" t-shirt, but that doesn't make you great.

    It was very pretentious to presume the gullwing design was going to save a less than laudatory automobile.

    MODERATOR

  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Are making me see things. Last night on my way home, I saw one about two blocks from my house!

    OK, it was on the back of a flatbed tow truck, but there was no mistaking it. By the way the stainless finish looked like all of them that I remember - dark and dirty. Needed a good brillo-padding in my opinion.

    It didn't look that bad from that angle, high up on the truck , but I didn't hit the brakes, jump out and make an offer either.

    Now nobody mention old Dodge Monacos with rich corinthian leather, please.. don't need to start seeing any of those around my house.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    Ah, Delorean consciousness-raising.

    No the Delorean isn't all that bad looking, but most of the 80s "wedge-designs" are looking dated right now...the Lotuses of that time and most of the Italian cars.

    You know, if John D had insisted on a twin-turbo engine and normal paint jobs, he might have made it. I say "might" because, in fact, no person has ever succeeded in putting his own car into production and keeping it there for any length of time since Walter Chrysler in 1924 or so. Kaiser failed (big time), as did Bricklin and all the rest...even Mclaren, Bugatti, etc. It's a tough row to hoe, trying to create your own car and compete with the big boys. Latest madman to try is Steve Saleen with a $300K+ supercar called, I believe the S7.

    It takes a certain amount of monster ego to attempt to make your own car and sell it to the world these days.

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,661
    We can thank John for the mighty GTO!

    Nobody can take that away from him. He should have stopped there!

    Now...a stainless GTO...?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Also thank him for the OHC6 Tempest, one of the more interesting ideas from the '60s. Not the answer to a question anyone was asking then, but an interesting idea. I had a '64 Le Mans with the regular six, and it was by far the best-balanced Pontiac I ever owned, lots of fun in the hills. It just needed a few more horses, and that's where the cammer cam in. The 4 bbl was pretty quick.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    Yeah, but an engine with lots of problems. I just can't understand GM back then putting things on the market before they were thoroughly tested. The OHC6 ate camshafts and valves, as you may have found out (hopefully not).

    MODERATOR

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Way I heard it, Ralph Nader killed the OHC6. No, wait, that's another GM product that wasn't thoroughly sorted out.

    What I did hear is that "the early engines had top end problems", which implies that the "later engines" didn't, but I've never owned either. Except for the '64 Le Mans, all my Pontiacs have had 8 cylinders, the way God and Nature intended.

    There's an article in the May '65(?) issue of Hot Rod, apparently based on an SAE paper, that goes into page after page of lascivious detail on the OHC6. Either some editor thought it was the Next Big Thing or Pontiac bought a lot of advertising.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    My GTP has 6 cylinders, as did a Grand Am I owned. Obviously trying to forget both.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    I don't think the OHC 6 had time to be "early" and "late". It came and it went pretty quickly.

    As for the GTO, this was more clever marketing than engineering. All John D had to do was come up with the idea of stuffing the bigger engines in the line into the smaller bodies in the line. A shrewd move, to be sure, but not rocket science.

    MODERATOR

  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 581
    rolled off the assembly line last friday, Oct 5, 2000. It drew some ooo's and aaa's. You gotta love the Avanti if you buy one. Love makes people do irrational things sometimes...ya know...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    I'm amazed they didn't come up with a new name. How can they rely on brand recognition when the car has failed so many times already? Does the world need another Delorean-type car that will go begging at auctions all over the country?

    Well, like you say, dreams are dreams and I guess it's more admirable than sitting on the couch drinking beer. Fair enough argument right there.And hey, even GM and Ford make mistakes in the marketplace. I do wish, however, that money followed vision more often.

    MODERATOR

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,661
    Is financing this mis-guided attempt to bring Avanti back to life yet another time?

    No smart Venture Capitalist would even think of such a thing!

    This car will have more sequals than a Rocky movie!

    I wish the venture luck! They are going to need it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,619
    I'd like to see the business plan. I'm curious as to where they think the market is for a 1965 fiberglass Studebaker. Of course, I haven't seen what it's made of underneath...maybe it's a C5 chassic and driveline with a new bodyshell...that would be a credible car, albeit not as good as a C5 and costing more (not a good way to sell cars).

    MODERATOR

  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 581
    ....from one who knows little...

    Isellhondas - A person named Mike Kelly, owner of
    of several resorts in the Golf of Mexico and the
    Caribbean and one of the "dreamers who bought the
    assets of Avanti", is one of the mis-guided who is
    venturing into this...

    On his staff is Tom Kellogg, one of the
    original design team members of the the Avanti.
    He is also the designer of the 2001 Avanti.

    The CEO of the Avanti Motor Corp. is a guy named
    John Seaton....

    SR - The Business Plan, like all business plans,
    can be seen in the "Articles of Incorporation"....you'll have to contact them if
    you want something like that.....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,661
    Maybe this will be a new IPO! Hey Shifty!

    Want to drop a bundle on this one..?

    Seriously, I hope they are successful. I just can't fathom anybody buying one.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I think there's a market for distinctive cars--witness Aztek--but the styling has to either be radically modern (Aztek) or quasi-classic. The Avanti doesn't seem to fall into either category. It's a classic design, but not in the sense that the guys with big egos think "classic". And that Stude baggage is pretty heavy.

    No, the GTO wasn't a sophisticated design or engineering exercise, but it was a remarkably salable blend of first-rate marketing and solid engineering. Just like the Mustang, but done behind the corporate back. A properly optioned GTO, with quick-ratio manual steering, HD suspension, full gauges and maybe some real brakes, was just as satisfying as an MGB, at least to me.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,661
    I would MUCH rather have a nice '65 GTO than an MGB! The goat would start most of the time, the headlights would stay on in rainy weather and the GTO would eat the MGB alive!

    But...I've been thinking...Maybe Avanti could hire John to help out. Hmmm...An Avanti with gull wing doors...Hell, there might be a supply of those V-6 engines sitting in some warehouse someplace..

    A stainless Avanti ?
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