Skip to comments.Car Developer John DeLorean Dies at 80
Posted on 03/20/2005 10:35:27 AM PST by Mr. Mojo
NEWARK, N.J. - John Z. DeLorean, the innovative automaker who left a promising career in Detroit to develop the stainless steel-skinned, gull-winged sports car bearing his name and was acquitted of charges he planned to sell $24 million worth of cocaine to support the venture, has died at the age of 80.
DeLorean died Saturday at Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J., of complications from a recent stroke, said Paul Connell, an owner of A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors in Royal Oak, Mich., which was handling arrangements.
DeLorean, whose namesake car was turned into a time machine in the "Back to the Future" movies, was among just a handful of U.S. entrepreneurs who dared start a car company in the last 75 years.
DeLorean "broke the mold" of staid Midwestern auto executives by pushing General Motors Corp. to offer smaller models, auto historians said.
While at GM, he created what some consider the first "muscle car" in 1964 by cramming a V-8 engine into a Pontiac Tempest and calling it the GTO.
Although he was a rising if unconventional executive at GM, and was believed by many to be destined for its presidency, he quit in 1973 to launch the DeLorean Motor Car Co. in Northern Ireland.
Eight years later, the DeLorean DMC-12 hit the streets with its unpainted stainless steel skin and gull-wing doors.
Its angular design earned it a cult following, and the car was a time-traveling vehicle for Michael J. Fox in the "Back to the Future" films of the late 1980s.
However, the factory produced only about 8,900 cars in three years, estimated John Truscott, membership director of the DeLorean Owners Association.
DeLorean's company collapsed in 1983, a year after he was arrested in Los Angeles, accused in a sting of conspiring to sell $24 million of cocaine to salvage the company.
DeLorean used an entrapment defense to win acquittal on the drug charges in 1984, despite a surveillance videotape in which he was shown calling a suitcase full of cocaine "good as gold."
He was later cleared of defrauding his investors, but continuing legal entanglements kept him on the sidelines of the automotive world. He declared bankruptcy in 1999.
Damn - Time is passing. Had no idea he was that old. I guess I have no idea I'M this old!
The 24-Karat gold plated DeLorean
My brother in law will be dancing up and down. Lost about a quarter mil investing in a dealership with this guy.
A beautiful creation. .....from '65.
Yeah, me either. We must be getting old. Hearing a muzak version of AC/DC in a grocery store the other day doesn't help.
I've never been into hod rods, muscle cars, etc. These days I go out of my way to purchase cars that can sustain a scratch or dent without setting me aflame with ire - something common and a little ugly so sas not to incur expense or gain attention.
That being said, your picture has me wondering if that '65 might be a keen thing to cruise around in some day. Nice pic.
DeLorean was, without a doubt, a crook. He only managed to escape the Feds drug sting by the "entrapment" defense. I'll bet that there are a few former Northern Irish govt. officials that will lift a pint at a local pub to "Slippery John's" demise as well.
Heck, I'm younger than all of you!
File under the category of "Didn't even know he was still alive."
Are you sure that's a 65?
I don't think he was a "crook" in the traditional sense. I think he had a dream and, as happens to so many, he cut corners and did things he shouldn't have in an "ends justifies the means" way.
That certainly doesn't make it any less painful for people who lost out, but there is risk with any investment. If you can't afford to lose it, keep it in the bank.
After his acquittal he did not pay his attorneys.
Donald Trump now owns what was the DeLorean estate here in NJ.
Buying a huge quantity of cocaine that he planned to sell is hardly cutting corners.
I rememeber how his beautiful, disgraced, but very loyal wife, stood by him. Only when the trail was over and he beat the charges, did she take her children and leave him.
Yeah. Call it keeping in character - A necessary trait for a B Level actress/model. Is she still around or did she OD and I didn't hear?
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