back to article Back to the Future's DeLorean is coming back to the future

DeLorean Motors has announced that it hopes to resume construction of the DMC-12 sports car made famous by 1985 flick Back to the Future. In the film and its two sequels, the car houses a time machine that operated when the stainless-steel-mobile hits 88 miles per hour. The DeLorean was chosen for the role because it looked …

For a US$100,000 ... ?

For that price it had better be the flying version!

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Re: For a US$100,000 ... ?

I'd have thought the time travel feature would be the optional extra of choice!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For a US$100,000 ... ?

It can time travel. Just not beyond 2015.

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Should have priced it

at $121,000 or 1.21 giga dollars

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Re: Should have priced it

Isn't a giga 10x9? So wouldn't it be $1,210,000,000?

[DISCLAIMER]

Maths is not my strong point!

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Re: Should have priced it

Don't we have a Register standard for money, yet?! - With base units like the cosst of pair of "Bulgarian airbag", etc?

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Re: Should have priced it

mine neither, obviously, that's why I find comedy much easier...

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Re: Should have priced it

"Suitcase full of cash" is an obvious contender.

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Re: Should have priced it

Have to pull a Doc move and rip off the Libyans (or select a modern equivalent) to afford it.

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Thumb Up

Re: Should have priced it

@NotBob

I'd upvote you again if I could, ripping off the Libyans - Classic!

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Re: Should have priced it

"Isn't a giga 10x9?"

Probably. But in BTTF Doc Brown uses "Jiga-" not "Giga-" and that is still currently an undefined prefix in the SI scale :-)

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@John Brown (no body): (was: Re: Should have priced it)

I'm pretty certain that "giga" has the same root as "gigantic" ... Methinks "Doc Brown" actually had it right ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Should have priced it

"Isn't a giga 10x9? So wouldn't it be $1,210,000,000?"

I'll just trade in my Facebook shares for one then.

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Re: @John Brown (no body): (was: Should have priced it)

The origin seems to be the Greek Gígās which as far as I tell from a cursory Google is pronounced with a hard G as in Google, not a soft G as in Giant.

Happy to be corrected by any Greek speakers here though :-)

Damn! You made me do research! I might get my commentard badge pulled for that!

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Re: @John Brown (no body): (was: Should have priced it)

"Greek Gígās"

does that rhyme with "big ass"?

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A couple points ...

"supposedly possessed of the amazing acceleration required"

Uh ... No. It just needed to get up to "88". Which it could. Barely.

Side note ... One of the most ill-handling supposed "sports cars" I've ever driven. Worse than the Porsche 911s of the era. Hanging a huge ass out behind beautiful bodywork is not consistent with day-to-day driving in the real-world.

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Re: A couple points ...

Both the gutless performance and wallowy handling have their roots in Californian emissions and safety laws at the time, respectively. American petrol is lower octane than its European equivalent so the engine which wasn't that great to start with was already down on power in America, and then California insisted that a load of emissions control equipment (catalytic converter etc) were added as well (such things weren't as widely used at the time as they are today).

On top of that, California road safety laws required a front bumper at a very specific height from the road, and the Delorean was too low slung to meet that requirement. In the end the company got around that problem by taking the path of least resistance and simply raising the suspension to the bumper would be at the required height, but this ruined its handling characteristics in the process.

The result was a "sports" car that could barely even get to 88 mph and rolled like a marble.

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Re: A couple points ...

Ohh don't mention octane ratings to Americans. They are soon to point out that (as per usual, yawn) their octane ratings are just different to the rest of the world and are in fact superior.

That's just the way it goes. Sorry.

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JDX
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Uh ... No. It just needed to get up to "88". Which it could. Barely.

Well as the article points out, acceleration is a factor when you need a road long enough to GET to 88. Although in the USA, long straight roads are hardly a rarity. In the UK, it would be much more of an issue.

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Facepalm

Re: A couple points ...

Even at the time critics said:

Too low power an engine

bad handling

Stainless Steel skin shakes off the fibre glass body.

Questions about safety of gull wing doors (other gull wings since can open if car on roof)

He was a con man and the car was just styled to look distinctive, it's rubbish really.

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Re: A couple points ...

Well, it was made for the American market. If you try a lot of the USA sports cars from those days they do not handle any better (though most have significantly more power on tap).

What did you expect? A Renault 5 GT Turbo? A Peugeout 205 GTI? Both date from about the same time.

Oh, I forgot, something like that would have never made it into the USA market by the pure nature of it being too small. And driveable too.

The original DeLorean best likeness are those fake Ferraris which people make out of a Fiat Coupe. Put a fake Ferrari body on top + horse badge and a HUGE fart pipe. Under-powered, handles like a coffin and has the safety level of a coffin (I would really not like to try to get out of those gull-wing doors after a roll over).

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Re: A couple points ...

I guess those American regulations explain the pig-fugly bumpers plastered on to European designs like the American MG B or- even worse- their version of the Fiat Strada/Ritmo.

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Re: A couple points ...

> Side note ... One of the most ill-handling supposed "sports cars" I've ever driven.

I was a snotty-nosed teenage car nerd at the British Motor Show when the DeLorean was launched and I remember sidling through the crowd to ask the large American salesman why they had decided to put the engine way in the back where it was terrible for driving dynamics. His reply has stayed with me:

"It's because of the design of the motor car."

As unanswerable now as it ever was. And generally re-applicable to any poor product design.

Q. "Why have you made such a sub-optimal use of technology in your product?"

A. "It's because of the design of the product."

Thank you. Of course that's the reason. Silly me for asking.

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Re: A couple points ...

Made for the American market...in Northern Ireland. Wanders off wondering why (British Govt subsidies perchance?)

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Paris Hilton

Re: A couple points ...

You mentioned huge ass behind a beautiful body and didn't use the Paris icon?

What were you thinking man!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A couple points ...

You mentioned huge ass behind a beautiful body and didn't use the Paris icon?

I think the "beautiful body" bit was missing..

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Coat

Re: A couple points ...

"Hanging a huge ass out behind beautiful bodywork is not consistent with day-to-day driving in the real-world."

Hang on, I thought we were talking about the DMC-12, not the DeLorean Kardashian...

Joking aside, the question we're all asking, of course, is "Does it come with a lightning conductor?"

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Re: A couple points ...

And IIRC Lotus got involved somehow too.

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Re: A couple points ...

Wanders off wondering why (British Govt subsidies perchance?)

$120m in 1978. Say £74m in 1978 prices, so about £330m at 2015 values. Which means the British taxpayer paid a subsidy in today's money of £36k per car completed.

Put another way, 2,500 people were employed for two years, so that's £132k per head in current values, and £66k per employee per year, for jobs that (again in current money) would be about £21k average salary.

Good to see that HM Government has always been consistent in the value for money it offers taxpayers.

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Re: A couple points ...

When the original design began to fall apart they turned to Chapman to try and fix things. The chassis used for this car is to all intents and purposes the one from the Esprit. Except on stilts and wobbling all over the place like a clown car.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A couple points ...

Octane doesn't do what you think it does. Octane ratings tend to be like trouser snake measuring contests. People see that some exotic sports car needs insanely high octane and conclude that if they put higher octane go juice in their grocery getter it somehow gains performance.

One exception: on a modern high-performance engine, performance will be reduced by the engine computer to compensate for use of fuel with lower than recommended octane levels.

Octane just makes it harder for the fuel to go "boom" before it's supposed to. Put low octane fuel in a high-compression ratio engine and it starts to turn into a diesel. The compression starts igniting the fuel-air mixture before the spark does, which is a problem if the piston is still on its way up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A couple points ...

Lightning conductor? That's so 1950s. Everyone is asking two questions: 1) Does it need roads? 2) Does it come with a Mr. Fusion?

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Re: A couple points ...

@Ledswinger

All valid points, however I suspect that it was hoped that DeLorean was going to last more than the two years. If it had surrived 5 or 10 years, the subsidies would have looked at lot cheaper then having those 2,500 folks out of work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A couple points ...

"Octane doesn't do what you think it does"

Increased octane simply cause the fuel/air mixture to yield a faster and more controlled burn, which is necessary in high performance engines to achieve tighter intake/compression/combustion/exhaust cycles - therefore maximising power per combustion and also improving the ability of the engine to achieve more complete combustions in shorter time - therefore power through into higher rpms.

A low performance engine won't notice high octane fuel, in fact may even perform worse. A high performance engine conversely will be held back by low octane fuel.

I used to notice a dramatic difference between 'normal' 97 octane petrol and Shell 'super unleaded' (98 octane) in my 750cc motorcycle, which was a fairly high performance spec engine. Especially on a cold day when the higher octane fuel combine with nice cold dense air yielded heaps of extra power.

I know a BP garage on the A406 (north circular road) in North London, which has a single pump which dispenses 102 octane unleaded. I never got to try it out in the bike, as it was always sold out when I visited... shame!

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Re: A couple points ...

"British Govt subsidies perchance?"

Yes, a massive fraud on the British Goverment, which ran alongside the other Northern Ireland high-tech scam, the LearFan

Both involved novel plastic / composite designs which didn't work

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Re: A couple points ...

"And IIRC Lotus got involved somehow too"

from memory Lotus designed the plastic body, but not the mechanicals or roadgear

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hanging a huge ass out behind...

It's the Kim Kardashian of sports cars.

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Joke

Re: A couple points ...

"Ohh don't mention octane ratings to Americans. They are soon to point out that (as per usual, yawn) their octane ratings are just different to the rest of the world and are in fact superior."

It's true! Our octanes are measured in gallons while your are measured in liters and everyone knows that gallons are bigger.

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Re: A couple points ...

"You mentioned huge ass behind a beautiful body and didn't use the Paris icon? What were you thinking man!"

He was thinking (correctly) that Paris has a skinny little butt.

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Re: A couple points ...

no - its just that Americans octanes are really disguised hexanes

they flash more quickly but have far less performance power

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Pint

Re: A couple points ...

AC: "Increased octane simply cause the fuel/air mixture to yield a >>faster<< and more controlled burn."

You spelled 'slower' incorrectly.

And so on...

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Re: A couple points ...

That's exactly why. They got huge subsidies for setting up production although I worked in a place along with two guys who left Ford to work there and they said it was a great company to work for. Mind you it doesn't stop the cars being a bit naff but at least the people building them were happy.

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Pint

Re: A couple points ...

""It's true! Our octanes are measured in gallons while your are measured in liters and everyone knows that gallons are bigger.""

Not the US Gallon my boyo that's significantly smaller than the ""IMPERIAL GALLON""

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Re: A couple points ...

"British Govt subsidies perchance?"

Yes, a massive fraud on the British Goverment, which ran alongside the other Northern Ireland high-tech scam, the LearFan

A fraud that got Arthur Anderson banned from British government work until Tony Blair entered 10 Downing Street...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/1791168.stm

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Re: A couple points ...

'It just needed to get up to "88". Which it could. Barely.'

Acceleration as tested: 0- 88 mph in 26 years.

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Vic

Re: A couple points ...

One of the most ill-handling supposed "sports cars" I've ever driven.

And yet it's from the same design studio as the Lotus Esprit - which is one of the best-handling[1] sports cars I've ever driven...

Vic.

[1] If not exactly the fastest...

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Re: A couple points ...

"it's from the same design studio as the Lotus Esprit"

perhaps Colin Chapman didn't want any extra competition?

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Re: A couple points ...

A high performance engine conversely will be held back by low octane fuel.

That's only true, and then only a little bit, if the octane1 is low enough that the engine suffers from compression ignition. Once you pass that point, the octane rating makes no difference.

And it doesn't matter whether the engine is "high performance". What does matter is whether it's "high compression", because the greater the compression ratio, the more susceptible the vapor is to compression ignition.

In the olden days, when compression ignition happened, you'd get "knock" - the vapor igniting prematurely at the wrong point in the cycle. Obviously that was bad for engine output, among other things.

For many years now, cars have come with knock sensors, and if the engine sees compression ignition it'll retard the timing to compensate. This makes the engine less efficient, but not a lot less powerful.

Higher-octane-rated mixes are less likely to ignite from compression (just as octane ignites at a higher pressure than hexane does). Thus cars with high-compression engines specify higher-octane-rated fuel. Such engines have higher output per unit displacement because they use a higher compression ratio, not because of the fuel they use.

1Really should be "nominal octane". Gasoline / petrol is nominally a mixture of hexane and octane, for octane-reporting purposes; but really it's a hydrocarbon cocktail of various things the refinery cracked out of longer petroleum chains and decided to mix together, along with detergents and oxidizers (where mandated) and whatever other crap they decide to throw in. No one makes gasoline out of mostly octane.

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Re: A couple points ...

The government wouldn't have known in advance that the car was a lemon or that the owner would have his collar felt.

If it had taken off it would have been worth it.

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Re: A couple points ...

Our gallons are bigger than your gallons!

( 6 us gallons = 5 uk gallons, roughly ).

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