John Collier, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT, May 3, 2022 ~ In an exclusive interview, John DeLorean‘s daughter, Kat DeLorean Seymour, gives 760 WJR‘s Marie Osborne a unique perspective on what it was like to call an automotive icon “Dad.”
May 3, 2022 ~ Brilliant, bold, and brash. John DeLorean was the original disrupter in the 1970’s when he left General Motors to start his own auto company. With its low profile, sleek, stainless steel body, and unmistakable gullwing doors, DeLorean’s DMC DeLorean remains one of the most recognizable cars ever made. Of the 9,000 produced, 6,500 remain in the hands of collectors. DeLorean’s only daughter, Kat DeLorean Seymour, talks with 760 WJR Senior News Analyst Marie Osborne about what it was like calling an automotive icon, “Dad.” Photo: Junfu Han via USA Today
ABOUT JOHN DELOREAN:
John Zachary DeLorean was born in Detroit to immigrant parents on January 6, 1925. Displaying promise at an early age, John was accepted to Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, an institution designated specifically for honor students. While there, his academics and musical talents earned him a scholarship from Lawrence Technological University, (then called Lawrence Institute of Technology).
DeLorean’s education took him straight to the jobs market, where in 1953, he took a position at the iconic Packard Motor Company. While there, he quickly moved up, becoming head of research and development after just four years with the organization.
In 1956, DeLorean accepted a position in General Motors‘ Pontiac division, gaining recognition for the creation of the musclebound Pontiac GTO, named after the Ferrari 250 GTO. The project catapulted Pontiac into a renaissance, shifting the brand as GM‘s performance-led division, and shot Pontiac into third place in US annual industry sales.
(CONTINUED) At just 40, DeLorean became GM’s youngest division head, where the Camaro-based Firebird, and an all-new Grand Prix were created under his direction. The sleek, sporty 1969 Grand Prix outsold the 1968 model nearly three-times over, and in 1969, he was promoted to lead General Motors’ flagship Chevrolet division.
John left GM in 1973 to form the famous DeLorean Motor Company, where he developed his magnum opus, the DMC-12, which entered production under the name DMC DeLorean. Unfortunately, production delays meant the cars produced did not reach the consumer market until 1981, nearly a decade after the company was founded.
The recession of the 1980s left more than half of the 7,000 cars unsold, and DMC was $175 million dollars in debt.
In October 1982, John DeLorean was charged with trafficking cocaine after James Hoffman, a confidential informant tipped off the FBI, saying DeLorean approached him to set up a massive cocaine sale.
In truth, the the informant — who was aware of DeLorean’s financial struggles — suggested the deal, which John then accepted. As a result, DeLorean successfully defended himself using the procedural defense of police entrapment, arguing that the FBI and DEA targeted and entrapped him.
(CONTINUED) Given DeLorean’s lack of criminal history, the informant’s background of career criminality, and DeLorean’s secretary’s call log indicating the initial call came from Hoffman, DeLorean was acquitted on all charges.
By then, DMC had already crumbled into bankruptcy, and DeLorean’s reputation was irreparably tainted.
DeLorean spent his golden years working to resurrect the defunct DMC. He planned to develop a new car —called the DMC2 — gathering funds by selling high-end watches under the name DeLorean Time.
In 1985, the legendary film “Back to the Future” was released, featuring the DMC DeLorean as Doc Emmet Brown‘s time-travel machine. John DeLorean was thrilled with the inclusion, and wrote to Writer and Producer Bob Gale thanking him for immortalizing his car.
A new company, DeLorean Motors Reimagined LLC, (doing business as DeLorean Motor Company or DMC) was founded in Humble, Texas in 1995. Founder Steve Wynne subsequently acquired the remaining parts inventory, as well as the original stylized DMC logo, and trademarked naming rights.
The current company is not, nor has ever been, associated with the old company, and John DeLorean was not involved in the business. However, the company supports DeLorean owners via service, restoration, and the sale of aftermarket and replacement parts.
The company’s upcoming DMC Alpha 5 EV is expected to be revealed at the 71st Annual Pebble Beach Councours d’Elegance in August 2022.
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