DeLorean Dream Dying

The boom that has hovered over the head of John Z. DeLorean since his cocaine-trafficking trial has finally been lowered by a federal grand jury in Detroit. DeLorean was the only one named in the 15-count indictment that charged him with racketeering, mail and wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen money, income tax evasion, and causing false income tax returns to be filed. At the heart of the matter is some $17.65 million of DeLorean Motor Company funds that allegedly disappeared in an intricate investment scheme.

The indictment comes on the heels of an announcement that DeLorean intends to build a new sports car. Based on the stainless steel-bodied sportster marketed in 1981 and 1982, the new car will use substantially more powerful engine which, says one of its backers, will make it “the fastest car in the world.”

Dubbed the Firestar 500, the gullwing’s styling is similar to that of the earlier DeLorean, with wider front and rear fenders and an elevated rear wing not unlike that of a Plymouth Superbird. According to Gordon Novel, a New Orleans businessman and one of the backers in the venture, present plans call for the car to be powered by a 4-valve fuel-injected all-alloy V-8, expected to produce in the neighborhood of 500 hp. By lightening the previous DeLorean up to 500 lb, Novel expects the power-plant to propel the Firestar 500 from 0-60 in less than 4 sec and to a top speed of 220 mph with Boneville-type tires.

Motor Trend Magazine : volume 38 number 1 (January 1986) : p17