John DeLorean

In 1925 John DeLorean was born in Detroit, as the eldest of four sons of Zachary and Kathryn DeLorean. Despite growing up in the harsh conditions of the Great Depression, John found his passion in the technology that dominated the era – automobiles.

His father worked at a Ford factory, so his experiences dated back from early childhood years. DeLorean followed his professional interests and earned an engineering degree at the Lawrence Institute of Technology.

Chrysler and Packard Motor Car Company saw the potential in the young man, hiring him for the first time to perform various business tasks. His career really took off when DeLorean moved to General Motors in the 1960s.

Credited as a key person behind the Pontiac GTO and Firebird models, John became one of Detroit's biggest stars. He was the chief engineer at Pontiac division with large plans for the future.

Following his innovative approach, Pontiac image of conservative car manufacturer was soon replaced with a popular muscle cars developer brand. DeLorean also introduced a number of practical novelties such as concealed windshield wipers and vertically stacked headlights. Described as the Auto Prince or the Detroit dream merchant, American people either loved him or hated him.

Many of his coworkers described him as vain and impulsive person who was relatively hard to work with. The general public was more interested in his private life, the love affairs with supermodels and celebrities. Famous names of the time like Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch and Christina Ferrare were all closely connected with him. Unfortunately, this Hollywood lifestyle began to overshadow the professional life at General Motors.

Amazing success with a classic hot rod Pontiac GTO and a $650,000 annual salary for DeLorean's knowledge weighed down heavily on the General Motors management. But the public pressure did even worse things to John DeLorean. He believed in the mythical image of himself that he had helped to create. A portrait of a dreamer and maverick was developed around a typical American dream story.

John DeLorean represented the poor guy who became rich using only hard work and his skills. In 1973, he left General Motors to pursue his own car brand. DeLorean wanted to end the domination of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors on the American car market. Eager for success, he designed the sporty DMC-12 model. It was a stainless steel muscle car with unique gull-wing doors, powered by a 130hp Renault engine.

According to some estimates DeLorean needed at least $175 million to finance his company. Using all the media attention, he attracted over one hundred investors. The biggest included the British government, which invested $156 million in grants in return for the DeLorean Motor Company factory located in Northern Ireland. John lived like a king for years on the most expensive locations in the United States, with personal wealth estimated at $28 million in 1982.

The same year all the negative aspects came to light. The sales were horrible and the DMC factory was sent in receivership. Desperate John DeLorean got involved in the drug smuggling, hoping to earn much needed funds. At the time FBI was planning an operation to capture the cocaine smuggler William Hetrick. In the aftermath, DeLorean was arrested for putting up $1.8 million to bring 100 kilos of cocaine in the United States.

He stood to gain $24 million needed to save his dream, the DeLorean Motor Company. There was a hint of fate involved in his actions, since he missed an important one phone call while being caught up in the illegal activities. It was a call from a reputable banker with an offer of $200 million loan to restructure the company. Still, the name DeLorean became iconic when Hollywood took it over in the very popular time travelling movie "Back to the Future".

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