Aside from what most automotive journalists think, the DMC-12 DeLorean was one of the dopest cars ever made. Of course, that isn't due to its 130hp fuel injected V6 engine or suspect build quality, but for its iconic role in the Back to the Future Trilogy and also for its unforgettable, boxy design, brushed stainless steel exterior and gullwing doors. Founder John DeLorean's fall in a fake cocaine arrest to save the company from bankruptcy also has be one of the wildest narratives in automotive history!
About 9,000 units were sold between 1981 and 1983, so as you can imagine, finding one today could cost you quite the pretty penny. We've seen several recent auctions turn up low-mileage DeLoreans for $50,000+! Almost thirty years later, they remain a beloved symbol of the eighties and they're also skyrocketing in value rather nicely, which is why Nick Allen went to great lengths to source one of his own and give it a modern day refresh.
Nick's based out of ,London and he's had a long list of project cars from a fully done-up, old school VW Scirocco, to a bagged Volvo wagon. He tells me that the DeLorean is in fact his 26th build, but easily the most unique one on his resume. He also chose the DeLorean, not just for its cool factor, but as a long-term investment. "I love it because it's boxy and I've always wanted one. They're just the most '80s icon out there. I also figured that they're going up in value so quickly at the moment that if I didn't get one now, I may never get one. My accountant said that I should buy an asset worth the value of one year's rent that isn't a part of my business or house. In the event of the business going tits up, I can sell it and cover the rent for a year." Sound advice. Most car guys I know might've invested in perhaps an aircooled Porsche, but Nick seemed to hit his stride with the DeLorean.
Picking up a DeLorean in the UK isn't as obtainable as it is here in the States. At launch, the DMC-12 was intended for sale in the U.S., with right-hand-drive models never built from its Northern Ireland assembly line due to the company's shortcomings. Nick got his off a fellow DeLorean enthusiast who had already imported one from the States which, according to Nick, was in fact the first example imported into the UK.
Overall, the mileage was very low (5,600 miles on the odometer), and chassis in above average shape. The fragmented body was what brought its resale value down (and perhaps made it affordable) as Nick was tasked to remove 252 dents from the stainless steel exterior. Nick explains it was likely a hailstorm which caused the damage, demonstrating how fragile these DeLoreans can be.
After the bumps and bruises were healed, it was time for Nick to get creative. He reached out to Intermotiv Limited to develop a one-off air suspension system for the car, then teamed up with Rad48 to supply him with a thin, multi-spoke wheel that complimented the DMC-12 design perfectly. The final wheel specs ended up being 16x8" front, 17x10.5" rear with stretched Continental tires. Nick admits he had to pull the fenders slightly to ensure the car could safely lay out on the ground without any hiccups.
You'll notice in some of these photos are illuminated Turbofans. There's a backstory that Nick wanted to elaborate on: "I really wanted to do something different with the car because it's essentially just bags and wheels. Racking my brain to make something as '80s as possible, I thought about all the usual neons, lasers, and then holograms came into my mind. I searched the internet and found these hologram fans that are often used for advertising. They were perfect, but all I had to do was make them work. Getting the right size was the hardest bit, but I eventually found one that fit completely flush inside the rear wheels. I then designed a mount and was able to 3D-print them to mount the fans in the right place, perfectly flush with the lips. I turned it on and it worked first time - couldn't believe it!" The fans are only for show while parked as the fronts still poke out and there's wiring required for the hologram. Nick's endgame is to sort out a way to reengineer them so he can drive with them on.
Nick's DeLorean is unquestionably breathtaking whether you're a fan of Back to the Future or not. Most DeLoreans I see are really cheesy reenactments of the movie car, while Nick's version has been carefully restored and he's added his own personal style to teleport to today's trends. If you don't like it, perhaps you can 'make like a tree, and get outta here!'
Big thanks to Igor Gurgel and Sam Joey of Notomoto for snapping these sick photos of Nick's DeLorean!
OWNER Nick Allen
HOMETOWN London, UK
OCCUPATION Managing Director of 3dprint-uk.co.uk
POWER 130hp, 153 lb-ft of torque
ENGINE 2.85-liter SOHC V6 engine (6,600 miles on it!)
DRIVETRAIN three-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
FOOTWORK & CHASSIS Intermotiv Stealth shocks and bags; KNTRL air management; strengthened lower control arms
BRAKES 10" front, 10.5" rear stock rotors
WHEELS & TIRES 16x8" front, 17x10.5" rear Rad48 DLR wheels; 195/40R16 front, 235/40R17 rear Continental tires
EXTERIOR full body restoration and rebrushed stainless steel with 252 dents removed; pulled fenders
INTERIOR Back to the Future hoverboard with Bluetooth-enabled speakers
THANKS Jonathan at Intermotiv; Mario at Rad48; Chris at PJ Grady; Peter at KNRTL; my accountant