John Zachary DeLorean, flamboyant car maker, scoundrel, unconvicted cocaine trafficker and walking financial disaster area passed away at the age of 80 at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey on Saturday night. DeLorean is best remembered for the innovative DeLorean DMC-12 gull-winged sports car manufactured in Northern Ireland. About 9,000 cars were produced of which approximately 6,000 are still running. The car is perhaps best remembered for being the time machine in the 'Back to the Future' movies. Most people would prefer to forget that the company eventually went down the gurgler taking with it over US$100 million in British government funding and putting a couple of thousand people out of work.
DeLorean was a colourful character who was arrested in 1982 by British undercover police for selling them a suitcase full of cocaine. He was eventually acquitted of all charges by claiming police entrapment but his reputation was justifiably shattered. Financial disaster for the company followed quickly.
Notwithstanding DeLorean's personal problems, the car was every young man's dream at the time. I would have loved one myself but for reasons now unknown I settled for a new Ford Laser instead.