From development hang-ups, to its subsequent sales failure, the DMC DeLorean (or DMC-12, as most would call it) had a difficult life and a scandalous end. Of course, we all know the lengths John DeLorean took to save his company, but that just accelerated the brand's demise. It eventually redeemed itself and became an icon thanks to a certain movie franchise.
It could be said that the DeLorean owes a lot to the Back To The Future franchise. Without it, it might just be another footnote in automotive history failures. But the movies were box-office smash hits, and the car has had a cult following since. However, its star power doesn't hide the fact that the standard DeLorean's driving experience was nothing to write home about.
That's the impression of road testers about the original DeLorean in later years. That said, contemporary reviews from the early '80s were more a little favorable and more forgiving of its faults. Perhaps that's the result of it being a hodgepodge of parts. While the chassis and construction had input from Lotus, cost overruns and delays meant the company had to yank components from, well, everywhere.
Most notable was its use of the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine. The heavy six-cylinder wasn't just an anvil at the back, its numbers weren't too exciting either. The PRV V6 made 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts) and 153 pound-feet (207 Newton-meters) of torque. Its figures were pretty middle of the road even by the standards of its era. So it wasn't fast by any means, but did it handle? Can the DMC-12 impress around a race track? After all, Colin Chapman did have direct input in its re-engineering.
The man to give that conclusion is Top Gear's Chris Harris. So what did the British presenter have to say about it? We'll get straight to the point and say he made pretty scathing statements about the car's on-track performance. It's safe to say he didn't like DMC-12 very much, but the car's fans are quick to defend it. Either way, the general consensus of the car has been it doesn't go as fast as it looks unless you start modding it.
But does the acceleration and iffy handling make it terrible car as a whole? Of course, you don't have to agree with Harris' opinion. Either way, the car is a pop culture icon for better or worse.