The last time a DeLorean rolled off a production line, the 70s were coming to an end, Robert Zemeckis was working to get a movie titled Back to the Future in front of executives at Universal Studios and Michael J. Fox was busy starring in a TV show called Family Ties.
Adjust your time circuits to today's date and DeLorean Motor Company (not directly related to the original) has announced that it will commence production of replica versions of the DeLorean DMC-12 at its headquarters in Humble, Texas.
"It's fantastic. It is a game-changer for us. We've been wanting this to happen," DeLorean CEO Stephen Wynne said.
The DeLorean facility at Humble currently houses a number of DeLorean vehicles from around the world that are sent there to be refurbished or have flux capacitors fitted. The original DeLorean was actually built in Ireland.
The company had tried to reignite production earlier, but ran into issues with emissions and safety requirements.
That was until last year when the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 allowed manufacturers to build replica versions of cars that didn't meet current safety standards. But, production would need to be capped at just 325 units.
"That was a green light to go back into production. That was prohibited. It was against the law to do it."
What about the engine? Well, unfortunately — or fortunately, given the lack of power of the original — the engine needs to meet emissions standards. That means that the original Peugeot-Renault-Volvo 2.85-litre six-cylinder engine, which was built under contract with DMC, will need to be reworked or replaced to meet emissions standards.
Ironically, the DeLorean DMC-12 had already ended production by the time Back to the Future was released and became a blockbuster hit. By that point just over 8500 were produced with good examples currently fetching well north of $50,000.
DeLorean says there is enough stock to build around 300 cars and that the design would remain unchanged and command a price tag of around $100,000.
"It's huge for us. It means we're back as a car company again," Wynne said.
"There's no reason to change the appearance of the car. As we go into the program, we'll decide what areas need to be freshened up," Wynne said.