NERVES OF STAINLESS STEEL | AUTO MAVERICK JOHN DELOREAN

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John DeLorean

John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Co. in 1974, and a stainless steel-clad, two-seater sports coupe prototype was completed by 1976. Styling came from famed Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, with extensive engineering input from Lotus of England. The car had a rear-mounted Peugeot-Renault-Volvo single-overhead-cam, 2.8-litre V6, a steel backbone frame and gull-wing doors.

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1981 DeLorean brochure

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John DeLorean and His Famous DeLorean Car-- March, 1979.

John DeLorean and His Famous DeLorean Car-- March, 1979.

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John DeLorean never cared to fit the mold of a typical Detroit auto executive.  He was a young, free-spirited maverick that revolutionized the auto industry as the major force behind America’s first muscle car– the Pontiac GTO.  He was thought of as a hippie by his older peers for his longish, shaggy hair, and rebellious attitude.  But what they didn’t understand was that DeLorean had his finger on the pulse of youth and trend in a way that no one else did.  He had an uncanny ability to tap into the music, events and attitudes of the time and mine it for nuggets that translated to top-line success.  As the young DeLorean’s star rose, he supposedly walked away from his $650,000 salary at GM and decided to go it on his own.  DeLorean also became overly enamored with himself, the party scene and chasing women.

He was soon rubbing shoulders with Hollywood celebrities like fellow auto enthusiasts Steve McQueen and James Garner.  Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr. later became investors in his new upstart– DeLorean Motor Company.  Quite the accomplished playboy as well, he was romantically linked to beauties– Raquel Welch, Ursula Andress, Candice Bergen, Nancy Sinatra, Kelly Harmon and Cristina Ferrare.  DeLorean seemed to have it all– but he was headed for a major crash.  Production and deep financial troubles at DeLorean Motor Company, not to mention the resulting money laundering and drug charges, brought it all to a shameful end before the visionary could realize his ultimate dream.

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