Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

One of John DeLorean's mistakes in designing a unique, personal coupe, was making their stainless steel coats indistinguishable from one another. Well, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe DMC-12 is different, but will its price have you seeing red?

Not surprisingly, 77% of you found yesterday's Toyota Paseo convertible's price to be squarely in Crack Town, and even more of you lamented that you had forgotten about the car on purpose. But if that car was so lame that even a convertible top and shiny red paint job couldn't overcome its obviously excessive price, then maybe it's not worth remembering after all.

On the other hand, today's candidate remains one of history's most memorable of cars, and stands as a cautionary tale for many a would-be automaker. Like Malcolm Bricklin before him, John Z DeLorean envisioned a great American sports car to carry his name. Also like Bricklin, DeLorean chose to build that American sports car somewhere other than in the U.S.A., Malcolm choosing Canada, and John settling on Dunmurry Ireland. Strangely coincidental, both cars also sported gull-wing doors.

It's legend that Henry Ford once claimed buyers could choose any color they liked for their Flivvers, as long as that color was black. John DeLorean must have admired the cut of Henry's job as the DMC-12s rolling off the end of the assembly line during its short '81-'82 production run were all uniformly hued in silver. That color was established by the coupe's bare stainless steel bodywork and matching rubber baby buggy bumper front and rear caps. Now, as they were all Ferrous Bueller's Day Off, it's hard to tell one DMC-12 from another.


But that's not a problem with today's 1982 DeLorean, as at some point in its life, it received a paint job that would make Dorothy's ruby slippers green with envy. Up against the sea of silver that is the traditional DeLorean color, this 8,845-mile DMC-12 stands out like Jackie Robinson on his first day with the Dodgers. Along with the color, which accents the still-fresh Giugiaro design nicely, comes some accent stripes on the boot lid and flanks which do not. It looks like those are easily removable decals, however, and not irrevocably tattooed on like the late Tammy Faye's eyebrows.


Inside, the car looks as stock as the exterior does not, and the light grey leather appears un-torn and only marginally butt-stained on the seats. The seller claims everything is in excellent working order, right down to the still-working A/C, which is a bonus as the ventilation afforded by the ‘toll booth' windows is not what you would call adequate. Those tiny ports are required by what is probably the DeLorean's most famous feature, which is its pair of gull-wing doors. If you've ever driven a DeLorean, getting in requires ducking under the raised door and, then shimmying between seat and wheel before you're firmly planted. Then it's a pretty long reach up and a healthy tug to pull the door shut, making this a poor choice for anyone concerned about their under-arm odor.

Claustrophobics might also want to give the DMC-12 a pass, again because of the windows and the ever present fear of turning turtle, rendering escape impossible. For the rest of us however, the interior is a pretty nice place to be, especially if you're a fan of the Lotus Esprit, as that's what the styling in here most closely resembles. There's a five speed stick falling handily to your right, and that connects to a transaxle that is fed by a 140-hp PVR V6 hanging, dingleberry-like, off the back end. That gives the car a kind of frightening 37/63 weight distribution, but also makes the steering pretty light. The original design of the car was dubbed the DeLorean Safety Vehicle, and the 2,712-lb production version's near 11 second zero to sixty time kind of fulfilled that promise.


The DeLorean began as one man's dream, and ended up as a punch line after John Z's questionable fundraising efforts fell through. But these days that has become more folklore, and just adds to the car's mystique. They also enjoy an almost cult-like following and have seen their perceived value creep up. This one is offered for $21,500, which, as it is in such nice shape, and in so unique a color, might make it high on the list of desirable DeLoreans. Or, maybe that price just means the seller is high.

You decide!


eBay or go here if the ad disappears to November 5th, 1955.

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.