- The first of two 24-karat gold-plated DeLoreans.
- It was offered as part of a promotional campaign for American Express “Gold” cardholders and appeared in the December 1979 American Express Christmas catalog for $85,000.
- At the time of production, insurance was approximately $1,000 a month.
- A mere “door ding” had a potential repair cost of $24,000 at that time.
John Z. DeLorean began his career in the automotive industry with Chrysler in 1948, later serving Packard and General Motors. After a remarkable record of achievement during a sixteen-year career with GM, DeLorean left that company and began raising money to build a revolutionary sports car to rival the Corvette. Between 1974 and 1981, he conceived, financed, and launched an independent, mass-production automobile manufacturing facility in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. It was called the DeLorean Motor Company.
Production of DeLoreans began early in 1981, with a first shipment of 500 cars to the United States taking place in April. The DeLorean cars were styled by Giugiaro, Italian auto designer, and featured gull wing doors and unpainted stainless steel bodies. The cars had a low center of gravity “backbone” chassis, allowing the occupants to be seated quite low. The rear-mounted engine was a Renault OHC V-6 with electronic fuel injection, delivering power through a Renault 5-speed transaxle. The engine location, however, gave the DeLorean somewhat disappointing handling characteristics, including understeering when cornering. In spite of engineering faults, sales for the $25,000 DeLorean cars were good. However, in January 1982, unsold cars began piling up and the company ran out of money. By late February, the Dunmurry factory had passed into receivership and DeLorean attempted unsuccessfully to raise more funding.
This gold car is the first of two 24-karat gold-plated DeLoreans built. The cars were offered as part of a promotional campaign for American Express “Gold” cardholders, appearing in the December 1979 American Express Christmas catalog. Cost, a princely $85,000! Insurance rates at the time amounted to approximately $1,000 a month. A mere “door ding” had a potential repair cost of $24,000!
Donated to the Museum by: Sherwood Marshall
Built By: DeLorean Motor Company
Dunmurry, North of Ireland
Price When New: $85,000
Engine: SOHC Fuel Injected Renault, V-6, 130 hp
Bore: 3 9/16"
Stroke: 2 7/8"
Displacement: 174 Cu. In.