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View Full Version : Earliest known Pilot car found/photographed



DMCH James
08-11-2011, 09:55 PM
Sarah and I went to look at this car last week and took photos. She posted them up to the DeLorean Museum page on Facebook today:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-DeLorean-Museum-Inc/166957630003834

James

Dangermouse
08-11-2011, 10:10 PM
Awesome James. I remember you hearing about this late last year.

What sort of condition is it in? what's it's future

sean
08-11-2011, 10:24 PM
Very nice! Thanks for sharing.

jmettee
08-11-2011, 11:33 PM
I'm going to rib James a bit...why didn't you take a REAL camera instead of taking, blurry, dim cell phone pictures??? :bang:

Seriously, it's nice to see a locked away relic like this & find the differences.

Nicholas R
08-12-2011, 01:13 AM
Very cool! But I'm a little confused? I'm almost positive that the documentation I've read says that Pilot 21 (Ken and Cliff's Pilot Car) was the first automatic car made. It would appear this is not true. Very curious indeed...

Nicholas R
08-12-2011, 01:20 AM
Also check this photo out:
http://img814.imageshack.us/img814/6470/grainw.jpg

Is it just me or is the grain of this panel sideways?

dvonk
08-12-2011, 01:36 AM
what is going to happen to this vehicle?

Mark D
08-12-2011, 01:49 AM
Wow, what an amazing find. I can't wait to hear what else is discovered about this car.

louielouie2000
08-12-2011, 03:33 AM
It's so interesting how these pilot cars exhibit some characteristics which are closer to the much later DeLoreans such as silver wheels, lighter colored fascias, later style shift levers, etc. Also kinda odd this car also has mis-matching driver & passenger seats like one of the other pilot cars (they both have passenger seats with a different style back rest/bolster design).

sean
08-12-2011, 08:10 AM
Is it just me or is the grain of this panel sideways?

Looks it to me.

Delorean02378
08-12-2011, 10:59 AM
what is going to happen to this vehicle?

Ditto...

Did DMC Houston purchase the vehicle? If not is the current owner considering restoration?

Really interesting car. I'd be surprised if Stephen didn't want this one for DMCH if the purchase price was reasonable however the restoration will be timely and expensive.

Kirk

DMCH James
08-12-2011, 11:46 AM
Awesome James. I remember you hearing about this late last year.

What sort of condition is it in? what's it's future

It's rough as the pictures show. The car should not have survived, it should have been destroyed and it was assembled with that it mind. Fit and finish were secondary to getting the car into the test process. It would be a difficult restoration since all you can really do is clean up and refinish what is already there. Lots of handmade and one-off parts on the car.

The current owner has had it since the original DMC stiffed him on a shipping bill back in 1982. He's done nothing to it at except put a lien on it and get a title.


I'm going to rib James a bit...why didn't you take a REAL camera instead of taking, blurry, dim cell phone pictures??? :bang:

Seriously, it's nice to see a locked away relic like this & find the differences.

I thought I had packed it but it turns out it was left on my desk. The conditions for the photos, in an old poorly lit warehouse on a rainy day left much to be desired anyway.


Also check this photo out:
http://img814.imageshack.us/img814/6470/grainw.jpg

Is it just me or is the grain of this panel sideways?

On that one panel, the grain was vertical rather than horizontal. It's as if the blank was put in the press the wrong way. It was the only panel on the car like that.


what is going to happen to this vehicle?

Until someone comes along and buys it, it will continue to sit in the warehouse.


Ditto...

Did DMC Houston purchase the vehicle? If not is the current owner considering restoration?

Really interesting car. I'd be surprised if Stephen didn't want this one for DMCH if the purchase price was reasonable however the restoration will be timely and expensive.

Kirk

We're not a buyer for something like this - it's just not our thing. Based on my conversations with the owner, he's in no hurry to sell and likes having it around. We talked a bit about what he would want for it, and he was very non-committal. He doesn't need the money, apparently, but somewhere between $20-30K would buy it, I think. As I mentioned above, a restoration would be tough and time consuming. Perhaps 4 or 5 Pilot cars have survived, and they are all different so I think the most you could really do would be to clean and repair what is on the car. Separating the frame/body to address the frame rust would be a must. Any of the unique/handmade parts that needed attention would have to be dealt with by having replacements made or gently repairing what you have.

James

Dangermouse
08-16-2011, 09:26 AM
James,

can you remind us again while it may be D9 or D12 (or maybe a combo of both)> The photos would seem to indicate D12.

You thought this might be a Renault shifter panel:

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/282195_241791049187158_166957630003834_762020_7603 304_n.jpg

and indeed it is.

From a 1979 Renault 30:

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j300/falawide/renaut003.jpg

DMCH James
08-16-2011, 10:25 AM
James,

can you remind us again while it may be D9 or D12 (or maybe a combo of both)> The photos would seem to indicate D12.
]

The DMC paperwork with the car seems to indicate that the car is D9. In truth, we may never know.

James

crazycro
08-16-2011, 11:08 AM
Thanks so much for sharing!! Very cool treat to see it in it's original state.

loving the grain on that fender too

Domi
08-16-2011, 03:55 PM
Thank you for sharing your pictures!

nick sutton
08-22-2011, 03:40 PM
History of this car
In researching my book on the DeLorean venture “Journey Through a Dream” I was delighted to come across two or three of the key staff involved in the development of the DeLorean car then employed by Lotus Cars. They were eventually transferred for a short time to Dunmurry in 1981 to assist in the various and many production issues on the vehicle. I knew both of the engineers in question very well. Highly qualified and competent engineers

After one long conversation with one of the engine development guys he mentioned some bits of history that filled in some gaps that me and others have been researching for some time.

The first related to the Gold Volvo 264 purchased by Omar in Ireland Omar wanted to know the history of his new purchase. I asked about for some time but no one recalled the vehicle. It was in a sorry state when Omar bought the car with a number of indications that it had been at Lotus. My contact (who will be made known to you later when I have his permission) told me that the Volvo was a comparator vehicle used for EPA testing at Lotus and spent many hours touring the Lotus test track at Hethel. I have told Omar the news and he is delighted.

In another conversation today the same person told me of a DeLorean he was testing in the USA with registration plates OPW 651W. After a little research Robert Lamrock told me of the vehicle’s recent find as recorded by James Espey.

At the request of Bosch the car was used for hot climate testing at Yuma. There was a Lotus employee and one from Bosch testing the car four weeks in the Yuma area. After testing was completed the car was dropped off as arranged at Craig Radio headquarters at Torrents (Spelling?).

The initial paperwork and details for the cars flight out of the UK was incorrect and much had to be changed at the last minute.

The car was prototype 9.

He has photographs of the car taken during breaks in testing clearly showing the registration plates

The ex Lotus man is checking the facts this weekend with a work colleague but feels sure that’s the correct Pilot number.

I’ll let you know what he says

Nick Sutton

DMCH James
08-22-2011, 04:06 PM
Very interesting, Nick! Please keep us posted.

James

Domi
08-22-2011, 04:52 PM
He has photographs of the car taken during breaks in testing clearly showing the registration plates


Thank you for the story.
If you can, don't hesitate to post some historic pictures, it would be nice to share with us :)

nick sutton
08-22-2011, 05:17 PM
I have asked for permission to show a photograph and awaiting the answer.
Nick

Domi
08-22-2011, 05:20 PM
Thanks again :)

crazycro
08-22-2011, 06:57 PM
Nick, I think I speak for all of us here when I say it's really a blessing to have you part of our community. The stories you share are one of a kind and truly unique.

Thanks again, and I look forward to anything else you are able to share regarding this pilot car. :rock_on:

SamHill
08-22-2011, 07:50 PM
There might not be a more appropriate place on earth to do heat testing than Yuma... and I never imagined that I'd hear that one horse town associated with Delorean history in any way. The Bosch and Lotus representatives must have felt like they had landed on another planet.

It would have caused a sensation among the locals to know the car was there for testing.

Bitsyncmaster
08-22-2011, 08:29 PM
There might not be a more appropriate place on earth to do heat testing than Yuma... and I never imagined that I'd hear that one horse town associated with Delorean history in any way. The Bosch and Lotus representatives must have felt like they had landed on another planet.

It would have caused a sensation among the locals to know the car was there for testing.

They still do most of the new car R+D testing at Yuma proving ground. They have a real long oval test track. When I was there last year there was a car running the track. My work there was for aircraft telemetry but the track was near the site I was at in the middle of the desert.

nick sutton
08-25-2011, 08:43 AM
4454I have received permission from Paul Fricker to print details of his involvement in the DMC and to publish a photograph of Pilot 9 under test .Paul was involved in the development of the PRV engine at Lotus later he transferred for a short while to Dunmurry. The hot test activity was undertaken by Paul and Edwin Smuck of Bosch in late 1980 in Yuma. The photograph attached shows Paul during a rest period with the car. The photograph is the copyright of Paul Fricker.
More details to follow
Nick Sutton

dvonk
08-25-2011, 08:53 AM
neat! look at that side mirror...

sean
08-25-2011, 10:56 AM
Thanks for getting the permission and posting Nick!

Chris Burns
08-25-2011, 11:08 AM
Wow! That car is historical for sure and needs to be saved by someone with very healthy bank account.

Domi
08-25-2011, 05:26 PM
Thank you for sharing this picture with us.

tjd
08-25-2011, 11:28 PM
Interesting that if it's as early as it's number would indicate, it does have toll-booth windows. I know other pilots with higher designations still had sliding glass. That side mirror is something else.