EXCLUSIVE: V-8 DeLorean on the way, based on C8 Corvette
You almost certainly know about the original DeLorean, the time-machine car from Back to the Future. You may also know that there are multiple car companies with “DeLorean” in their names. You probably do not know whether to believe the rumors that one of those companies plans to build a new DeLorean car based on the current-generation Corvette.
Believe them, the CEO of DeLorean Next Generation Motors (DNG) told Hagerty.
“I needed to find a way to build an affordable car for the DeLorean community,” says Kathryn DeLorean. “They’ll be heartbroken forever if I don’t give them something.”
Her solution: Buy a Corvette and have DeLorean Next Gen Motors replace the Chevy fiberglass with a body of DNG’s own design, complete with gullwing doors. The changes will be more than skin deep, too: DNG is working with aftermarket performance builders to bring this car to market.
Hang on, you may be thinking. What about the other DeLorean company, the one that’s making the Alpha5? That outfit is based in Texas, not New Jersey, and headed not by a member of John Z.’s family but by Joost de Vries, an executive who spent six years at Karma Automotive. Further complicating matters is that de Vries’ company is not to be confused with Classic DMC, founded by Stephen Wynne. A Liverpool mechanic who claimed rights to the DeLorean name in 1995, Wynne obtained the original company’s parts inventory and factory drawings. With them, he built a successful business servicing and reproducing parts for the original 9000 or so DMC-12s. (Wynne holds a minority ownership stake in what now bills itself DeLorean Motor Company, the makers of the Alpha5 who were until recently known as DeLorean Reimagined.)
If you smell a legal battle in the future, that nose is working.
Company origins aside, the products proposed by each DeLorean-named firm are easy to tell apart. Designed by ItalDesign and unveiled at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Alpha5 shown above is only available as an EV. Specs are few: a targeted range of 300+ miles, a battery pack with a capacity of more than 100 kWh, a drag coefficient of 0.23, 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, and a top speed of 155. Cambridge Audio will supply the stereo. Kelley Blue Book says that the company is targeting a starting price around $125,000. Like all the numbers above, that, too, is an estimate.
Rather than take on the Alpha5 with a direct competitor, DNG has chosen a two-pronged approach, aiming significantly below and above Alpha5. At the top of DNG’s proposed hierarchy sits the Model JZD, a hand-built model of which only 42 will be made. (If you have to ask why, you haven’t read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) It will, naturally, be priced far above $125K. The Corvette-based model, which so far does not have its own name, will be the more accessible model in Kat’s portfolio.
A base Corvette, as she pointed out, is a car that many normal people can aspire to own. From that statement, we expect that the planned bodykit is intended for the base C8, which costs a hair below $70K and packs a naturally aspirated LT2 V-8 making 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. (Corvette faithful will note we were assiduous in our pursuit of affordability and did not even spec the Z51 package for this theoretical exercise.)
Thanks to the traditional Corvette targa top, which required Chevrolet to route the rollcage away from the tops of the front-hinged doors, Kat says that a gullwing conversion is doable. Whether the DeLorean body kit would also fit on the wider-bodied Z06 or on the hybrid, AWD E-Ray, we don’t know. For now, all we have are renders, penned by Ángel Guerra, an automotive designer and modeler who spent six years with Croatian EV firm Rimac and stuck with the company after its merger with Bugatti in 2021.
Choosing a Corvette as the foundation of an affordable DeLorean is only fitting, Kat says. Though most know John Z. as the head of his own company, he established his career at General Motors, a firm with which he spent 17 years. From ’69 to ’72, he was head of Chevrolet and, according to his daughter, was pushing hard for the Corvette to move to a midengine platform, something the model’s godfather, Zora Arkus-Duntov, also supported. After John left Chevy in 1973 to found DMC, he even tried to purchase the engineering for the mid-engine Aerovette—but Chevrolet, understandably, denied him.
A DeLorean-bodied Corvette, Kat says, “allows me to finish my dad’s story. I’m building him his dream car.”
One thing is for sure: The story of the DeLorean car in the 21st century is only getting started.