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Thread: Vin 537 - found!

  1. #1
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    Vin 537 - found!

    There were four DeLoreans sent to the DOT for various purposes. 515, 517, 531, and 537. Each of these has been thought to be lost in the sands of time. 515 and 517 were crash-tested and need extensive repairs. 531 and 537, although both believed to be DESTROYED, came up for purchase very recently -- 531 vanished without a trace (potentially parted out, although I'd hate to think this), but what was 537's fate? Well, she's mine now!

    First things first: major, MAJOR thanks to a fellow member who I shall call "J" (unless he wants to out himself -- please do if you're comfortable man!) who found these two for sale and saw them in person. 531 sold before he could get his hands on it, but 537 did not. He sent me an email about it, and after doing some very basic research, I got in touch with the dealership. The more I look into it, the more I realize what an amazing, amazing purchase this is. I won't post pictures until I have her safely in my hands, but I do have 50 from the for sale page. She's in extremely rough shape, and it'll take at LEAST an estimated $80,000 to restore her to her former glory, money I unfortunately do not have at the moment. She doesn't run, but the motor does turn freely by hand, and other than the T-panel, ashtray, trunk components, cargo net, steering wheel center, etc., she's 99% complete!

    To prove I'm not "faking" this information, here's some things you can blatantly tell from the pictures:
    - The engine cover underside is white. This was NOT painted to look white, but rather the exact opposite -- it was left unpainted entirely! Thanks to Tony Swann for pointing this one out on Egull, and now I'll have a comparison point for 559's engine cover as it gets restored by DPI.
    - The binnacle is leather, and stitching is clearly visible. Excellent original condition, and another reference point for DPI.
    - Steering wheel is vinyl, with center section missing
    - Passenger-side wiper fluid hole present, as well as small holes in the hood
    - Engineering label found directly underneath Driver's B-pilliar, blends in with stainless
    - Extra wires/tubes found in various locations in the engine bay and rear parcel shelf, including what appears to be some kind of device attached to the air inlet hose/tube that Egull does not have (EPA hardware?)
    - Pontoons are smooth, NOT textured like most 500-series VIN's
    - Door handles match the stainless of the door, NOT the black of the trim (for comparison, Egull's are still the OEM plastic on both driver and passenger sides)
    - Driver's door sill VIN plate is missing entirely (Just like 559!), and the dashboard VIN plate is bare aluminum.
    - Blackout A/C panel. No, that is not a typo, the ENTIRE A/C panel is completely BLACK! Only VIN 500 is known to be like this, so this alone makes it 1 of 2. And guess who's willing to share pictures of it??? (I'm looking at you, kajcienski )

    That's the good. Now here's the bad and the ugly:
    - Many stainless panels suffered damage, and T-panel is missing entirely. Rear driver's quarterpanel is a massive tear and wrinkled section, hood has a major X in it and creasing, LFF is okay, but slightly warped
    - Front fascia has cracks in the upper corners, and each of the outer headlights is horribly aligned. Looks to have been in some kind of undocumented fender-bender.
    - Front bumper has residue in the shape of a license plate, although full VIN (which differs from most DeLoreans -- no details until she's in my hands ) shows up zero records in publicly available databases -- likely done in the early 80's rather than in the modern day
    - Windshield has either been replaced or was originally installed without the antenna, although the radio is present and intact. Driver's wiper missing, but passenger is present (just like Egull!)
    - Passenger window is off the track and tilted forward, driver's side is closed, so not sure if it suffered the same fate or not
    - Seats are horrendously torn up, including missing pieces. While not terribly uncommon, odometer shows <20,000 miles, although the paperwork from the dealership indicates it may have rolled over at least once (which I strongly doubt)
    - Rear license plate bezel missing
    - Dashboard either has a crack or a manufacturing mark that goes from the glovebox to the windshield. Not sure until I get a chance to inspect it personally
    - Driver's hood strut missing
    - Frame status: unknown 100%, but surface rust does exist on many components. Deep rust yet to be determined, but it's all there, which is good news
    - Trunk area basically vacant. No jack cover, no trunk mat, no spare tire, no fuel access cover, apparently scavenging of DeLorean parts started WAY earlier than first thought

    So that's how it stands now. I've already worked out financing, so she's mine.

    With regards to 559 vs. 537, there's a major difference to how I'm approaching both cars:
    559 (Egull): heavily scavenged, most parts not original, why not make it even more unique than it already is? Now I call her a "21st Century Time Machine" -- the result of what would've happened had Doc Brown designed and built the time machine today instead of in 1955 through 1985. All modern components are used in this, including Arduino Flux Capacitors, LED BTTF vents, etc.

    537 (name TBD): heavily preserved, most parts ARE original, why not keep it that way but give it a nice refresher?

    So I now have two D's, one custom and one stock. I see both sides of the coin, and the pros and cons of converting vs. not converting. Bottom line: 537 will remain as stock as possible, with one small exception: any rubber hoses that have silicone replacements available will become silicone. I am NOT losing 537 to an engine fire like so many DeLoreans before when there's no need for it!

  2. #2
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    I am very happy to have told Shep about 537 which was believed to have been bought in bulk with VIN 531 by a dealer in California. 531 sold a few days ago and with my help Shep is the proud owner of VIN 537 congratulations my friend.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasflaphoodfan95 View Post
    I am very happy to have told Shep about 537 which was believed to have been bought in bulk with VIN 531 by a dealer in California. 531 sold a few days ago and with my help Shep is the proud owner of VIN 537 congratulations my friend.
    There he is, the man of the year/decade/era! Just wish 531 resurfaced in safe hands. With any luck, someone got it to hold onto it, not to part it out or anything.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
    I won't post pictures until I have her safely in my hands, but I do have 50 from the for sale page.
    Do you still have the link of the add where we will be able to see a few pictures before you post them?
    Any idea where VIN531 has landed?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domi View Post
    Do you still have the link of the add where we will be able to see a few pictures before you post them?
    See here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
    I won't post pictures until I have her safely in my hands, but I do have 50 from the for sale page.
    I'd prefer NOT to post a link in case someone else tries to sabotage the deal. That being said, I saved every single picture from the ad, plus the page itself, so even when they take it down, I'll have everything. Once she's en route, I'll post the pics and a link to the ad. And once they take it down, a link to my backup copy, to be hosted online.



    Quote Originally Posted by Domi View Post
    Any idea where VIN531 has landed?
    Same place, although since it has sold, I'm not sure where it'll turn up. I'll scan eBay the next few days to see if anyone tries to sell it, but I have heard it was in far better shape than 537.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Domi's Avatar
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    Okay, no problem
    I'll wait till you have the car home

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domi View Post
    Okay, no problem
    I'll wait till you have the car home
    Didn't say "home", I said "en route" -- don't have to wait quite that long

    And on a related note, MAJOR thanks to DPI Josh for helping as much as he has -- he's providing me with a few thousand dollars (the exact amount of which I'll let him disclose if he desires) and put it on my tab, so I'll pay him back when 559 gets her next oil change and has previously-unaddressed cosmetic work done (i.e. stuff that I told Josh "no" to before during the restoration, but want done now that the drivetrain is 99% problem-free, 1% overdue oil change). Or sooner if that gets delayed for whatever reason. He will also be arranging shipping for me, so that's one less thing I have to worry about. Hopefully we don't get another broken-English-speaking Russian driver like I did with 559. And definitely no to Jared from Shipping Wars -- 5000's fate was pretty bad in that enclosed torture chamber (kidding! ...on the hospitality part, not the Jared part).

    To quote Joe Walsh, "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. Life's been good to me so far!"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domi View Post
    Okay, no problem
    I'll wait till you have the car home
    Congratulations on your find. Good luck with the resto but I find it hard to understand why you are estimating $80K. To try to restore as many of the body panels as possible you need to get Chris Nickleson to fix you up. You didn't mention anything about your paperwork. I hope you got a Title you can register the car with. Obviously you must replace any missing parts with whatever you can locate but if you intend to keep the car as original as possible you must repair as many of the original parts as possible. The car has some history and "provenience" but you need to document it all. Be careful spending money on it, as historically important as it may be, it is only worth so much. IMHO it is not worth $80K.
    David Teitelbaum

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    I find it hard to understand why you are estimating $80K. To try to restore as many of the body panels as possible you need to get Chris Nickleson to fix you up. You didn't mention anything about your paperwork. I hope you got a Title you can register the car with. Obviously you must replace any missing parts with whatever you can locate but if you intend to keep the car as original as possible you must repair as many of the original parts as possible. The car has some history and "provenience" but you need to document it all. Be careful spending money on it, as historically important as it may be, it is only worth so much. IMHO it is not worth $80K.
    $80,000 was Josh's estimate, not mine, so you'll have to ask him where that number comes from. I'm definitely not spending that much on it right away. For now, I'll get it running, then worry about the cosmetics, then go for the full-off resto long-term once I've saved up some funds.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
    $80,000 was Josh's estimate, not mine, so you'll have to ask him where that number comes from. I'm definitely not spending that much on it right away. For now, I'll get it running, then worry about the cosmetics, then go for the full-off resto long-term once I've saved up some funds.
    The $80K probably includes labor then. Could be as much as 1/2 of the estimate. Yes, the immediate plan should be to stop any further deterioration and do what you can to make it driveable. The cosmetics can wait but in the meantime you should be stockpiling any parts you need and can find.
    David Teitelbaum

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