John Z. DeLorean


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - John Z. DeLorean, the innovative automaker who left a promising career in Detroit to develop the stainless steel-skinned, gull-winged sports car bearing his name and was acquitted of charges he planned to sell $24 million worth of cocaine to support the venture, has died at the age of 80.

DeLorean died Saturday at Overlook Hospital in S ummit, N.J., of complications from a recent stroke, said Paul Connell, an owner of A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors in Royal Oak, Mich., which was handling arrangements.

DeLorean, whose namesake car was turned into a time machine in the "Back to the Future" movies, was among just a handful of U.S. entrepreneurs who dared start a car company in the last 75 years.

DeLorean "broke the mold" of staid Midwestern auto executives by pushing General Motors Corp. to offer smaller models, auto historians said.

While at GM, he created what some consider the first "muscle car" in 1964 by cramming a V-8 engine into a Pontiac Tempest and calling it the GTO.

Although he was a rising if unconventional executive at GM, and was believed by many to be destined for its presidency, he quit in 1973 to launch the DeLorean Motor Car Co. in Northern Ireland.

Eight years later, the DeLorean DMC-12 hit the streets with its unpainted stainless steel skin and gull-wing doors.

Its angular design earned it a cult following, and the car was a time-traveling vehicle for Michael J. Fox in the "Back to the Future" films of the late 1980s.

However, the factory produced only about 8,900 cars in three years, estimated John Truscott, membership director of the DeLorean Owners Association.

DeLorean's company collapsed in 1983, a year after he was arrested in Los Angeles, accused in a sting of conspiring to sell $24 million of cocaine to salvage the company.

DeLorean used an entrapment defense to win acquittal on the drug charges in 1984, despite a surveillance videotape in which he was shown calling a suitcase full of cocaine "good as gold."

He was later cleared of defrauding his investors, but continuing legal entanglements kept him on the sidelines of the automotive world. He declared bankruptcy in 1999.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Many did not understand Mr. John Z. Delorean.
John presented himself to the people with a first step to the future.
John Z. Delorean was a professional .

Is his younger brotherstill alive, we were in same fraternity in Long Beach Calif, in 1958- 59

From one old car guy to another rest in peace John your work here is done.Thanks for putting all those great ideas to good use .

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. My generation will always remember the Pontiac GTO.

Rest John, until you hear at dawn,
the low, clear reveille of God.

Thank you for your service to this nation.

I was the first person you hired at Pontiac and I worked with you for 8 years, I considered it a privilage. you mad a few mistakes but left the world much more. I will miss you.
John Lividotti

For John...


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour...

To John's Family: March 12, 07

The 1st time I had the pleasure to meet John was in the GM Pontiac Design Studio. At all of 18 years I was impressed by his quite professionalism. Over the years at GM I became more impressed with John's Leadership as man of integrity & class. John was truly a man ahead of his time in a large bureaucratic organization like GM. He had a dream & vision that was difficult to find in automotive circles; clarity of purpose in automotive...