Many DeLorean owners who visit the Humble-area dealership have a love-hate relationship with popular 1980s film “Back to the Future,” said James Espey, DeLorean Motor Company vice president.
While some collectors are also interested in the features of the car, such as the stainless steel body and gull-wing doors, people they encounter often cannot get past references to the movie.
“Every time you stop for gas, it’s ‘Where’s the flux capacitor,’” Espey said. “Or ‘What happens when you go 88 miles per hour?’ You hear it all.”
However, the pop culture gravitas of the film has given the DeLorean an advantage over specialty car competitors like the Brickland SV-1, a sports car created in the mid-1970s that also has gull-wing doors.
“People probably wouldn’t remember the DeLorean as much if it hadn’t been for ‘Back to the Future,’” he said. “I guarantee you someplace in the world right now one of those three movies is on TV and somebody is seeing it for the first time. It might be somebody 8 years old, and they say, ‘Wow that’s a great car.’”
That advantage will serve the DMC well as it begins producing new DeLoreans in 2018, Espey said. The dealership also offers body work and maintenance work for DeLoreans with its four technicians and warehouse of spare parts.
A 2015 federal amendment to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act allows a manufacturer to produce up to 325 cars per year that resemble a vintage car without having to meet current safety standards, Espey said. The new cars still have to pass an emissions test, he said.
The company expects to release 22 next summer, 50 in 2019 and reach production of one per week by 2020. Espey said the cars will retail for about $100,000 each.
The new DeLorean will have triple the horsepower but the same look and feel of the original car.
“We’ve already got a list of close to 4,000 people who inquired about putting a deposit down,” he said.