Back to the Future's DeLorean is coming back to the future

300 of Doc Brown's time-travelling gull-wing DMC-12s may be built for sale in 2017

DeLorean Motors has announced that it hopes to resume construction of the DMC-12 sports car made famous by 1985 flick Back to the Future.

In the film and its two sequels, the car houses a time machine that operated when the stainless-steel-mobile hits 88 miles per hour. The DeLorean was chosen for the role because it looked amazingly cool in 1985, although its 2,849 cc engine and 0-60 speed of 8.8 seconds meant it was a poor choice for a car supposedly possessed of the amazing acceleration required to achieve time travel on suburban streets (early-1980s Ferraris, for example, had it covered).

An unashamed sports car, the DMC-12 suffered from debuting in 1981 during a mild recession but was nonetheless hailed as representing a bold new player in the American automotive industry. The hype didn't translate into sales: DeLorean Motor Company founder John DeLorean budgeted to sell between 10,000 and 12,000 to break even but sold only around 6,000 cars. By 1983 the company slumped into receivership.

Back to the Future gave the DMC-12 cool factor it could have done with when the company was alive, but also cemented the car's reputation and probably made yesterday's announcement of a revival possible.

The reconstituted DeLorean company now says recent amendments to the United States' Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act (H.R. 2675) mean it is now possible for “small companies to produce a limited number of completed replica motor vehicles that resemble the appearance of cars produced 25 years ago or more” provided they meet current Clean Air Act standards.

DeLorean, the company, says it's chatting to engine-makers to put their plant under the hood of DMC-12 chassis but that “A number of hurdles exist before production can begin, and we're still early on in this process of determining the feasibility of moving forward.”

Those hurdles aren't so high that the company's execs won't do things like chat to US television network NBC and mention a price tag of at least US$100,000 and an intention to replicate the original's chassis. There's no word on an interior upgrade, or if flux capacitors will be an optional accessory. ®

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