$248K for a Kia-powered DeLorean? Great Scott!

Bring a Trailer | Ted Seven

We’ll keep the Back to The Future jokes to a minimum here, but we can’t help wondering: Could the modern flux capacitor be … a Kia six-cylinder? This 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 just crossed the virtual block on Bring a Trailer, and both the restomodded driveline and the eye-watering final sale price prove that, even 35 years after the original flick, this iconic stainless-steel wedge possesses serious magic. Someone performed a labor of engineering love to keep this DeLorean on the road … and someone else paid $248,000 to call this DMC-12 their own.

The main area of interest, of course, is the car’s engine bay. Gone is the DMC-12’s Renault-sourced 2.8-liter V-6. In its place we find a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 from a Kia Stinger. We’ll be honest, the Korean-built liftback isn’t the first candidate when we think of engine-swapping … well, most anything, but variety is the spice of life, right?

At least it’s not a direct drag-and-drop affair. The Korean mill boasts upgraded Garrett G25-550 turbos, as well as a sweet custom intake manifold built by OMD with DMC machined into its face. That bolstered engine bolts up to a six-speed manual transaxle with a limited-slip rear diff, both of which were plucked from a 996.2-gen Porsche 911. Along with a few other upgrades and tweaks, a recent dynamometer visit showed 487 hp to the wheels, and the car comes with data showing a quarter-mile pass of 11.65 seconds at 124 mph—not too shabby!

The rest of the hardware suggests that this is more than a stop-light racer, too. A set of stoppers from a Ferrari 348 Challenge car clamp down on AP Racing rotors. KW coil-overs at all four corners drop the ride height and give this DMC-12 a menacing stance. There are polyurethane bushings and reinforced control arms as well. The latter are fitted up with Inconel trailing-arm bolts, which will cope with the added grip from a set of Toyo Proxes R888 R tires.

Inside, the period Alpine head unit with matching amp and Kicker speakers should kick out your favorite soundtrack, whether you’re in pursuit of July 3, 1985 (whoops) or a C5 Corvette at your local track day.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 Stinger-swapped Interior center stack
Bring a Trailer | Ted Seven

But really, we’re just floored by that price. Sure, the build is nice and the finished piece looks solid, but two hundred and forty-eight grand? That’s nearly two and a half times the standing record for an unmodified (read: stock powertrain) DeLorean, a title currently held by a movie tribute build that sold in August of 2021 for $178,088, also on Bring a Trailer. The creative add-ons clearly weighed heavily in that particular case, since a #1 (Concours) condition DMC-12 in stock form is worth $78,200. This Kia-swapped oddity is certainly clean … but it doesn’t have film-correct gadgetry.

Is this $248K sale a stainless-steel bellwether? Hardly, according to Hagerty Valuation analyst James Hewitt. “The only relevance it has is to modified DeLoreans,” he says. “It’s as relevant as someone completely renovating, [and] modifying a house similar to yours, then flipping it for a lot of money. Their completely modified house price doesn’t affect yours even if it once was similar.”

So, we’ll take this result for what it is: A testimony to the DeLorean mystique, which not only prompted the original builder to attempt this passion project but also convinced someone to spend Lamborghini Diablo money for the finished product. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all—in this case, the one cutting the check.

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