The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Delorean dreams reborn in Texas


Last updated 4/13/2011 at Noon

In the early 1970s, John Z. Delorean, a long-time employee of General Motors, realized his dream of creating a dependable, durable sports car. He created the Delorean Motor company in 1975 and began to work on his dream car.

The man contemplated that the ideal car should be “fun to drive, safe to operate, and long-lasting.” After many setbacks, he opened a factory in 1981 and began production of the DMC-12, the only car that the company would ever produce.

Tommy Parker, of Orange, fell in love with the unique car that received so much public attention. In the first year of production, he bought one off the lot. The car was immediately celebrated for its uniqueness.

The shiny creature boasted an unpainted stainless steel body, chosen for it durability. With no clear coat or any other coating, it was as shiny as a “brand new kitchen sink” that needed only to be polished. It had “supercool” gull-wing doors like something out of a science fiction novel. It was sleek and solid and fast, with a top speed of 130 mph. The car could not have been in better hands. Tommy treated it like the treasure that it was and, in the years that he owned it, only put 7700 miles on it.

Both men were quite pleased: John with his new Delorean Motor Company, and Tommy with his shiny new Delorean DMC-12. For both, however, the dream was short-lived.

The Delorean Motor Company met overwhelming adversity in its first year of production. The first manufacturing facility in Ireland was a complete disaster. The owner admits in his autobiography that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the war-torn country of Ireland, the Catholics and the Protestants were at the height of their aggression. The facility was unsafe.

The economic turmoil caused his $18,000 car skyrocket to $25,000 in America, his intended market. There were thousands of back orders for the DMC-12, which could not be produced fast enough to keep up with demand. Desperate for cash to make his operation a success, John Delorean was caught up in questionable activity and arrested in 1982.

Although he was cleared of all charges in 1984, his company had already collapsed into nothingness. Demand for the cars went up after the collapse. Only 8500 Delorean cars were ever completed. And Tommy Parker owned one!

The young Parker soon discovered, however, that the insurance on such an exotic car was even more than the car note was. He loved his car, but he could not resist one opportunity to sell his dream to a collector in 1984. The clean car slipped through his fingers and into the annals of history.

In 1985, the DMC-12 peeked out onto the scenes for a minor comeback, one that must have made Tommy Parker a little sick to his stomach. Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, sported the car as a time machine. What a choice! This time machine could go much faster than the 88 mph speed necessary for time travel. The popular movie certainly played a pivotal role both in the car’s popularity and in its permanent mark on automobile history.

But fate had not yet decreed the death of John Delorean’s dream. In 1995, thirteen years after the last car had been produced, Stephen Wynne contacted John Delorean with the hopes of starting a limited production of Deloreans in Humble, Texas. John offered the young man his permission and best wishes. After buying the remaining parts, Wynne re-established the Delorean Motor Company in 1997 and began producing new Deloreans in 2008. He met with tremendous success. But fate had yet another dream to revive.

Twenty-seven years had passed since Tommy Parker’s Delorean had vanished into the past, when a very strange thing happened. He noticed a DMC-12 on the front page of the Beaumont Enterprise. The car had his personalized plates on it. The 8TONE was a sight to behold!

He called the collector and confirmed that it was indeed the same car and that it had never even changed ownership. The car was in the same pristine condition that it had been in 1984, and still had 7700 miles on it. The collector was not thrilled about selling the car back to the original owner, but he decided to do it anyway.

Parker, who got his car back just a few days after his silver wedding anniversary, said he was “tickled to death.” He was able to get almost the same vanity plates that he originally had: 8TYONE. He had just finished cleaning the mechanical beast with a scouring pad. A scouring pad! He said that he is having the car restored in those areas that time can affect: hoses, fluids, and wires.

Sometimes dreams are crushed beneath the harsh realities of life. But every now and then, they are reborn with a vengeance that cannot be quelled.


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