DeLorean DMC-12 Reviews - Page 3 of 5

1983 DeLorean DMC-12 2.8 Liter V6 from North America

Model year1983
Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.8 Liter V6 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired20512 miles
Most recent distance20650 miles
Previous carMazda RX8

Summary:

A beautiful car with acceptable performance, given the Delorean's age

Faults:

Upon delivery several problems existed:

- Passenger power window inoperative

- Passenger power door lock inoperative

- Rough idle

- Worn steering column bushing

Nothing uncommon for a 22 year old car. Overall, however, the car was in excellent condition - no rust, dings/scratches, and the interior looked practically new - indicating that the car was manufactured with quality materials that will last (if properly maintained).

General Comments:

I am writing this review on day 3 of Delorean ownership. In this short time I have learned a few things, good and bad:

GOOD:

- In Los Angeles (where Porsches and Jaguars are as common as Miatas and Accords) this car attracts an amazing amount of attention.

- Photos cannot do this car justice. This car appears sleeker, lower, and more sophisticated in the flesh than can ever be captured on film.

- The interior is comfortable and visibility seems quite acceptable to me (though some not used to low slung sports cars may not agree).

- Acceleration, while not stunning, is quite acceptable. Handling, at real-world speeds, is rewarding. Finally, steering is communicative and direct at speed.

BAD:

- With all the attention it attracts, everyone will want to touch this car... leaving unsightly finger prints behind.

- Road/wind noise is excessive, and creaks from the body are common. However, as this car is 22 years old, some noise is expected.

- Steering is extremely heavy at parking lot speeds.

Can't comment on reliability yet, but have read that with proper care, these cars are very dependable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th July, 2005

27th Mar 2006, 07:23

" Photos cannot do this car justice. This car appears sleeker, lower, and more sophisticated in the flesh than can ever be captured on film. "

I completely agree. I test drove one I saw in the paper several years ago and was stunned at how it looked 1000x times better in person.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 2.8 PRV from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.8 PRV Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired47654 miles
Most recent distance50012 miles
Previous carChevrolet Corvette

Summary:

Exceptional style, reliable performance, a privilige to own

Faults:

With regards to the DeLorean, only a very few technical issues have arisen.

Firstly, the "cold-start-switch" which regulates the air/fuel mixture according to engine temperature malfuntioned. This meant the car "thought" it was already at operating temperature even if the engine was stone cold, and had been sitting for hours. This resulted in having to crank the car three to four times (depending on how cold it was) in order to get the car to start. Thankfully this was a cheap part to both find, and install - being easily accessible at the "front" of the engine.

The steering rack bushing which connects the steering shaft to the main steering rack has gone, and I've been told this is common. The result is a slightly "jumpy" steering wheel, even when it is fully "locked" into position by the adjustable steering wheel controls. The part is easy to obtain, relatively inexpensive, but somewhat time consuming to install.

The camshafts are a bit noisy. When I first bought the engine, I had a local Volvo specialist do a very thorough examination of the car, since the engine that comes stock in a DeLorean was used in many Volvo cars during the 80's. Apparently the only bad thing about the engine was its relatively "soft" camshafts, which tended to be somewhat noisy due to a lower amount of oil reaching them. Thought no damage to the engine can result from this, the noise (though not loud by any means) is noticeable, and can make passers by curious as to what the engine is doing! This problem could be fixed, but seeing as how no damage can result truly, it would be wasted funds.

The angle-drive, the device attached to the left-front wheel of the car which spins the speedometer, has died. The angle-drives gear teeth were notoriously bad in this vehicle, being composed I believe of a very soft metal. The part is somewhat pricey considering how minor it is (50 to 70 USD) but is fortunately easy to install.

Lastly, on a minor cosmetic note, the drivers seat leather is starting to crack in areas. Due to the fact that I bought this car in Arizona (though I live in Canada, and brought it here) I attribute the relatively premature cracking to the intense dry Arizona heat, rather than any quality issues.

Other than this, regular maintenance issues are all that have been needed - a set of front brake pads and a few oil changes. The clutch is starting to slip a little, but by 50,000 miles, many European cars start to need a new one.

All in all, though I have attempted to be as detailed as possible, the issues with the car have been relatively minor ones - relegated to smaller "fit and finish" parts, making their malfunctions simply annoying, rather than ones that make the car undriveable for a long period of time.

General Comments:

This car is not perfect, and anyone who would tell you so is far too biased to be writing a report on it. I have loved the car ever since I saw it as a child in the "Back to the Future" movies, and at the ripe old age of only 22, I managed to get my own at the cost of about $18,000 US. Though I love the car, I must say the following:

You will no doubt appreciate this car greatly for its looks. Truly, there literally is nothing else on the road that looks like it. It is no exageration that people driving Ferrari's and Lamborghini's will pull over to take a look at it. You will attract a huge amount of attention, cause accidents, and suffer numerous greasy hand prints all over your stainless steel exterior.

With regards to the stainless steel, it is both exceptionally difficult to clean thoroughly, and scratches easily. Simply washing the car as one would a "regular" car will still leave it looking dirty, and greasy. A good quality stainless steel spray-polish and buffing is needed to make this car shine - and shine it does. It will look beautiful for no more than about a week, given optimal conditions, before needing cleaning again. With regards to scratches, the steel is as aforementioned, very easily damaged. The good news is however that apart from "deep" scratches, nicks, marks, skids and any other truant abrasions can be taken out by a common heavy-duty Scotch-brite pad by rubbing the steel in the direction of the grain. Tedious it may be, but it does allow you to fix any minor blemishes. Be forewarned though - unless your car is a "trailer queen" you will indeed pick up a few irremovable scratches - though these are often times only seen under certain lighting conditions, making them much less of an eyesore than one might think.

Mechanically, and in terms of performance, this car does score well - far better than many of its critcs might have you believe. Its problems are certainly almost never of the major kind - they're more of the minor type, but the number of them can sometimes be annoying. A small squeak here, a little rattle there. A small part like a spedometer gear, or an engine thermal switch. All easily fixed, but their preponderance can at times be annoying.

The engine is a rock-solid motor, being a Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) hybrid. Much like any Volvo, it definitely takes a licking, and keeps on ticking. Ones installed in Volvo's sedan's have been known to last well into the hundreds of thousands of kilometers range. It is fairly basic, and no more expensive to fix and maintain that your average 1980's Volvo. It does however lack in power, as all DeLorean owners know. This car is by no means slow. It's not even average. It is certainly "quick", but given the luxury and exotic taste of the car, the engine really is the least impressive feature of the vehicle, and does not live up to the GT/Sports car image as well as a slightly beefier block could have.

The transmission is smooth shifting, and one never hears the grinding of gears. Parts are readily available from almost any European car shop (though fortunately I've never needed any).

Handling is the car's true strength, and it does indeed corner exceptionally well, riding on its Lotus-designed suspension. It also stops exceptionally quickly, and has superb traction with the engine being directly over the rear driving wheels.

Overall, the Delorean is as much an experience as it is a car. It evokes memories not only of a certain famous movie series, but of a old-fashioned vision of what a "futuristic" car would look, and drive like. The car performs well, is safely designed, cannot rust, is quite reliable considering both its age and its pedigree, gets more than acceptable mileage per litre/gallon of gas, is exceptionally stylish and unique, and truly is a privilege to own and drive. While I feel some people take their DeLorean's a little *too* seriously, and are exceptionally hostile when it has anything poor said about it, this car does deserve a great deal of respect.

I do not believe there is any other car that can be had for under $20,000 that is as unique, attractive, and enjoyable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd September, 2004

3rd Sep 2004, 13:50

That is my review above. I should note I did not "buy" the engine as stated in my second paragraph - I meant to say when I bought the car. The engine is stock, and came with the vehicle. The entire car is original, and unmodified.

7th Jan 2005, 16:07

Thank you for your review.

I am 23 I was born in the USA and for 16 years I live in Portugal. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to buy one in the States and import it here. Too expensive and to much trouble doing so.

I do have that feeling every time I see "Back to the Future"... "I need that car!" :) And believe me, I've been seeing it since I was 6.

Good luck with the car.

Davidmorais@netcabo.pt.

Average review marks: 6.3 / 10, based on 13 reviews