The DeLorean DMC-12, regardless of how good or bad it was as a sports car, is without a doubt one of the worlds most iconic machines. Its stainless steel body is etched onto the memory of everyone who has ever laid eyes on it. The brief rise and dramatic fall of the DeLorean Motor Company is well documented, what is not so well known is that in 2005 John DeLorean was about to announce the rebirth of his company and a new car to wear the DMC badge. Small details, interviews hinting and some interesting patents scattered across the internet have lead to this article. Whilst Mr DeLorean is not here today, what appears to be evident is that he had something to announce just weeks after his stroke in 2005.
The first piece of the puzzle relates to a set of notes and sketches that emerged. Now owned by DeLoreanWiki, these golden nuggets of information appear to be written by John DeLorean himself. They relate to a highly unusual engine design known as hydristor or axial. In essence three cylinders surround a driveshaft and are connected via what is known as a swashplate which, as each piston fires, causes the shaft to rotate. This design gets even quirkier with the fact that each cylinder contained two pistons. It is absolutely fascinating and totally unique. Ahead of its time? Overly ambitious? Maybe, but that was John DeLorean’s style. In a letter to his lawyer Mr DeLorean even mentions a means to recover kinetic energy and redistribute it to a turbo or supercharger. Amazingly this doesn’t sound too dissimilar to the KERS we see today, but this is completely combustion driven as opposed to electrically.
Next to play its part in this jigsaw puzzle is a phone call national radio show host Tom Torbjornsen had with Mr DeLorean two weeks before he died. Whilst setting up a live interview, of which John sadly would never attend, the topic of a new dawn for DMC arose. He spoke of this revolutionary new engine as well as a Renault power unit that would go into a new DeLorean sports car. Mentions of working with Burt Rutan, SpaceShipOne designer, to create a carbon and fibreglass body for the car adds further intrigue.
Scouring the internet for a few hours and finding further claims that back up a lot of this has brought me to the following conclusion: John DeLorean was about to announce to the world that DMC would be building a new lightweight sports car. With two engine options, one likely a V6 from Renault and the other a unique hybrid engine of his own design, this car would be throughly modern but retain key design elements of the DMC-12. Mr DeLorean died before he could action what could have been quite the comeback.