The DeLorean could soon be going back into production thanks to a new law that exempts small volume car manufacturers from the safety requirements applied to most new car makers. Also, I'm going to attempt to write this article without any Back to the Future jokes.
The law only applies to "replica" vehicles, that is, cars that resemble the body of another vehicle produced at least 25 years ago. Think stuff like the Shelby Cobra or the '65 Mustang — or the venerable DeLorean.
The DeLorean Motor Company, which acquired what was left of the original manufacturer 30 years ago, currently focuses on repairing and restoring all the DeLorean vehicles that are floating around the world. But now, with this specialty legislation, the company can use its millions of factory parts (and some that have been recreated from the original blueprints) to build new, 2017 model year DeLoreans complete with a crate engine from an outside supplier.
Up to 325 could be built each year
Buying the engine from a third-party supplier is key for two reasons. For one, it allows the cars to meet emissions requirements (the low-volume production bill only exempts them from things like safety requirements, not environmental), and it also provides a lot more horsepower than the original DeLorean. The company says it is examining a number of engine options, all between 300 and 400 horsepower. That's a big step up from the rather pokey 130 horsepower unit that was in the original. It's also moving to 17-inch or 18-inch wheels because it's not possible to get high-performance tires on the 14- and 15-inch original rims.
Much still remains to be done before new cars start rolling off the assembly line — both the DOT and NHTSA have many rules that need to be finalized by the end of 2016, but assuming the bureaucrats get their part taken care of, DeLorean anticipates new cars to begin assembly in the first quarter of 2017.
Pricing is expected to run between $80,000 and $100,000.
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