Italdesign previews ‘2021’ DeLorean DMC-12

The firm that designed the original 1981 machine will apparently reveal a new version 40 years on

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, January 22, 2021 / Loading comments

Italdesign has released a teaser image of a car with gull-wing doors and an illuminated DMC logo, suggesting it has developed a new version of the DeLorean sports car it designed 40 years ago. Aside from the single picture of the mostly obscured '2021' car, Italdesign is giving nothing else away, so it's impossible to tell if this is a one-off sponsored by a hardcore DeLorean fan or an in-house design project – or a restomod of the original. 

The Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed 1981 machine is, of course, famous for its starring appearance in the Back to the Future film series, but it had amassed a cult-like following for its design before the 1985 movie came out. John DeLorean's firm had gone bust by that point, with its 2.85-litre V6-powered DMC, offering 130hp, not exactly flying out of showrooms. Sellers desperately priced cars for “immediate” collection.

Notoriously loose, not to mention gutless, the DMC was available with a five-speed manual but could also be had with what must have been a terminally depressing three-speed auto. What looked good on paper – handsome body, rear-engine, rear-drive layout and a 1.2-tonne kerbweight – never translated into the real world. Despite its film-based heroics. 

Add that to the issues with the Belfast factory, which was chosen because DeLorean was keen to take advantage of the UK’s Export Credit financing, it meant the project suffered numerous problems from the start, including inexperienced staff and unworkable inefficiencies – so virtually everything was stacked against the DMC. 

But the car is still hugely famous, and there's nothing people like more in 2021 than reminiscing about the recent past. It’s yet unclear whether Italdesign took it upon itself to celebrate the car’s 40th year or it's tied into some other venture. What engine will it use? Will it retain the brushed stainless steel body panels? Will Einstein jump out? Honestly we can't wait to find out…

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