The Future Is Back: Jalopnik Tours New DeLorean HQ

Owners of the ultimate geek car, the DeLorean, are no strangers to modifying their McFly rides, including hovercraft and electric conversions of the iconic silver-skinned sports car. Now, thanks to the new DeLorean Motor Company, buyers of new DeLoreans and owners of the classic ones can outfit them with everything but a Mr. Fusion. We stopped by the new DMC's headquarters in Houston, where we got the scoop on the new DeLorean and more importantly, what you can now do with the old one.


Check out our drive of the DeLorean DMC-12!

We reported last year DeLorean Motor Company plans to make a series of "new build" modernized DeLoreans with all the amenities you'd expect in today's luxury cars. What we didn't know until our tour this past week, was all of the accessories for the new DeLorean (really, the "new build" DeLoreans will use 80% originally manufactured parts and 20% upgraded parts) are already available to current owners of the classic DeLorean DMC-12. What else would you expect from the ultimate "Geek" car?

At least that's how Stephen Wynne, sitting atop a mountain of parts large enough to rebuild hundreds of the steel-bodied, gullwinged Delorean DMC-12 sports cars, describes those who own and continually modernize the unique automobiles. But he means "geeks" in a good way. His company exists thanks primarily to the abundance of originally manufactured parts left after production stopped in late 1982. These parts are still being purchased today by owners of the approximately 6,000 to 7,000 cars still estimated to be driving around. Though most collectors of classics pride themselves on their ability to recreate their cars as originally and authentically as possible, the relative ease of doing so with a DeLorean has meant owners are creating modern cars within the old stainless steel shells.

Sure, you can point to the extreme end of the customization scale — cars like the Electric DeLorean, which is more than just a golf-cart motor and a few batteries. This is a fully-functioning electric car with a range of around 30 to 35 miles that's actually faster in the quarter mile than the stock, V6-powered DMC-12. Another extreme example is the DeLorean Hovercraft attempted by the crew at Monster Garage.

But it's at the mundane end where the real story is taking place. The stock original DeLorean came with an AM/FM radio and tapedeck, but DeLorean now offers an Alpine IVA system with a 7" display, Eclipse speakers, JL Audio subwoofer and Genesis P-5 Amplifier. Assuming you don't go back too far in the future (to before the advent of satellites), a navigation system with live traffic and satellite radio is available. Can't see past the flux capacitor? Try adding the backup camera. Gotta call back to Doc Brown's lab? The Bluetooth cellular interface is probably a smart option.

The iPod interface is also a good choice no matter what audio/video system you add; that way you can listen to Stainless Style, the concept album about the life of John DeLorean that's also a lot of fun to listen to.

To help push all of that new technology, DMC is also offering an upgrade to the engine that includes new stainless steel headers, muffler and tips, ignition system upgrades, a K&N filter, a cold air intake and other parts. The combination results in nearly 200 HP, making it perform at a level that'll allow daily drivers to survive on the highway. A refined sports suspension, featuring new shocks and springs, also helps keep the cars comfortable and sporty.

And if you're a super DeLorean geek, the headquarters outside of Houston, Texas is a must-see. In addition to the large collection of cars (it's strange seeing that many of them in one place) and nearly 1,000 of the gullwing doors, there's an original Back To The Future pinball machine in the lobby.