When the subject of independent U.S. automakers from the past comes up in a discussion, I’m guessing that most people, especially those over 50 years old, can name several that come to mind. They’ve been gone for a long time but departed brands like Studebaker, Nash, Hudson and Packard would surely be recalled by many. More likely smaller automakers like Fraser, Bricklin and maybe Kaiser might be forgotten by now. There is one independent brand, however, that fell off the cliff way back in late 1982, but I’m willing to bet that a very high percentage of Americans are familiar with the never-say-die DeLorean.
Like few other departed auto brands in our history, the memory of the DeLorean has not faded away but has actually grown exponentially. We have Marty McFly and Doc Brown to thank for that. Only three years following the demise of the DeLorean Motor Company the movie “Back to the Future,” featuring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as “Doc” Brown, arrived in theaters. It was 1985’s blockbuster movie and besides Mr. Fox and Mr. Lloyd, the third major figure in the movie was a car ... a very special car in a sci-fi get-up with gull-wing doors and all kinds of futuristic enhancements attached. The car was, of course, the DeLorean. Fox’s Marty character, as well as the DeLorean automobile, would become part of Hollywood lore and inspire in the decades to follow two sequels, in 1989 and 1990, an animated series, a theme park ride, several video games, some comic books and a stage musical. Happily for those who are DeLorean fans, and I’m one of them, it appears that the time is not that far off when a brand-new, modern DeLorean may be available to purchase. Here’s the story.