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Thread: You may try and talk me out of getting a DeLorean

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date:  Nov 2019

    Posts:    51

    You may try and talk me out of getting a DeLorean

    I know, I know. I'm prone to flights of fancy about wanting certain things. I'm definitely going to sit on this for a long time, to see how much reality sinks in. And for practical purposes, I'm a least a year out.

    So, some background. I'm in the Bay Area - in fact, that guy in Alameda with the black one is really really close. This is most definitely, (at least in some of the cities), Tesla country. In fact, I have some very strong (if indirect links) to Tesla that I won't go into here. For a lot of reasons, it's not practical for me to own one here, so if this happens, it's going to be after a move elsewhere.

    So some background. I'm not, by any stretch, a "car guy" - despite watching numerous Netflix shows. I'm probably not going to be doing traditional mechanical work - I'm much more at home with an screwdriver than a wrench. So that means buddying up with someone to coerce/pay to do the major work, or find a shop close by that knows how to work on such things.

    In the meantime, I'm slowly trying to read the accumulated wisdom here - well noted things about "paying up", issues with the originals, and in general things you expect to go wrong with a 40 year old car. I also spotted today the buying guide. I'm also painfully aware of how difficult it can be to buy a "regular" car,

    My present car is a VW Eos, which has a fantastically complex hard top convertible roof - which was amazing until it broke. I spent 6 months trying to research, fix and generally poke at it. I found out a number of things that hadn't be published anywhere, and got a lot of abuse from a forum. I couldn't find anyone locally who'd even want to touch it - realistically it needs 2 or maybe even 3 people to work on it! And probably the repair would be more than the car is now worth - so that all left a bad taste. The current plan is to drive that until it gives up. The other car is a much more practical Subaru Outback.

    So some practical questions (I'm sure I'll have more):

    - What's rear visibility like when backing? I never got around to fitting a reversing camera, and the EOS's rear is high and rear window is small.

    - Is it a "compact". I know the doors much it much easier to park in confined spaces.

    - Can a booster seat be stowed in the area behind the seats (small child)

    - There's no computer/ECU as such is there? I think this ought to be obvious from 1981, but I have to ask.

    - Non leather interiors - I'm vegan, so any rework here is gonna be fabric or faux. Has anyone done this?

    - My final concern here with the car is that it's gonna attract a huge amount of attention, especially as a DD. It's not really a car you'd want to leave unattended for a long, is it?


    And to cap it off, some more about me:

    I'm a software engineer, in fact, an exceptional one. I have a ton of knowledge, but something which is relevant here is control and network systems - for my day job, I wrote software for robots. Slightly less relevant on an older car, but still - and yes, I saw the digital dashboard project.

    Also, I happen to be an accomplished technical writer - I'm great at gathering stuff, and presenting it in complete and thorough form.

    Thanks! Appreciate any feedback.

  2. #2
    Banned Michael's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Posts:    3,918

    Quote Originally Posted by MrChocky View Post



    - Non leather interiors - I'm vegan, so any rework here is gonna be fabric or faux.
    Well you are going to have to remove the seats and recover and don't forget the steering wheel cow parts removed and recovered with non cow parts lest you bee wrapping your hands around a dead cow part and don't forget if you get a 5 speed, your hand may graze the dead cow part of the shifter boot, so that will have to be removed as well. You will also have to replace the tires with tires that do not contain stearic acid which can be taken from animal products. A lot of the glues used also contain animal products, so you will have to completely disassemble the car and reglue with ??
    ummmm, you know what, never mind.
    Last edited by Michael; 11-24-2019 at 01:49 PM.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date:  Feb 2013

    Posts:    52

    Quote Originally Posted by MrChocky View Post
    I know, I know. I'm prone to flights of fancy about wanting certain things. I'm definitely going to sit on this for a long time, to see how much reality sinks in. And for practical purposes, I'm a least a year out.

    So, some background. I'm in the Bay Area - in fact, that guy in Alameda with the black one is really really close. This is most definitely, (at least in some of the cities), Tesla country. In fact, I have some very strong (if indirect links) to Tesla that I won't go into here. For a lot of reasons, it's not practical for me to own one here, so if this happens, it's going to be after a move elsewhere.

    So some background. I'm not, by any stretch, a "car guy" - despite watching numerous Netflix shows. I'm probably not going to be doing traditional mechanical work - I'm much more at home with an screwdriver than a wrench. So that means buddying up with someone to coerce/pay to do the major work, or find a shop close by that knows how to work on such things.

    In the meantime, I'm slowly trying to read the accumulated wisdom here - well noted things about "paying up", issues with the originals, and in general things you expect to go wrong with a 40 year old car. I also spotted today the buying guide. I'm also painfully aware of how difficult it can be to buy a "regular" car,

    My present car is a VW Eos, which has a fantastically complex hard top convertible roof - which was amazing until it broke. I spent 6 months trying to research, fix and generally poke at it. I found out a number of things that hadn't be published anywhere, and got a lot of abuse from a forum. I couldn't find anyone locally who'd even want to touch it - realistically it needs 2 or maybe even 3 people to work on it! And probably the repair would be more than the car is now worth - so that all left a bad taste. The current plan is to drive that until it gives up. The other car is a much more practical Subaru Outback.

    So some practical questions (I'm sure I'll have more):

    - What's rear visibility like when backing? I never got around to fitting a reversing camera, and the EOS's rear is high and rear window is small.

    - Is it a "compact". I know the doors much it much easier to park in confined spaces.

    - Can a booster seat be stowed in the area behind the seats (small child)

    - There's no computer/ECU as such is there? I think this ought to be obvious from 1981, but I have to ask.

    - Non leather interiors - I'm vegan, so any rework here is gonna be fabric or faux. Has anyone done this?

    - My final concern here with the car is that it's gonna attract a huge amount of attention, especially as a DD. It's not really a car you'd want to leave unattended for a long, is it?


    And to cap it off, some more about me:

    I'm a software engineer, in fact, an exceptional one. I have a ton of knowledge, but something which is relevant here is control and network systems - for my day job, I wrote software for robots. Slightly less relevant on an older car, but still - and yes, I saw the digital dashboard project.

    Also, I happen to be an accomplished technical writer - I'm great at gathering stuff, and presenting it in complete and thorough form.

    Thanks! Appreciate any feedback.
    The car may have been assembled by a mutton fed Irishman. Does this matter? 🤔

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Norton, MA

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrChocky View Post
    So some background. I'm not, by any stretch, a "car guy" - despite watching numerous Netflix shows. I'm probably not going to be doing traditional mechanical work - I'm much more at home with an screwdriver than a wrench.
    I'm not either, but shops can be expensive and take a lot of time, and I'm impatient. Over the last 15+ of DeLorean ownership I've gone from "I'll let someone else do it" to "I can replace an engine". As long as you're willing to learn, it's not to hard to do a lot of the work yourself. But it's good to know a mechanic how you can have it towed to if you get in over your head.

    - What's rear visibility like when backing? I never got around to fitting a reversing camera, and the EOS's rear is high and rear window is small.
    Backing up isn't really a problem, thanks to the fact that the car isn't very long. I did install a backup camera when I did a double-DIN radio recently, and it makes it even easier. You do have significant blind spots between the side and quarter panel windows, though, and the latter will fog up on you, which can be annoying.

    - Is it a "compact". I know the doors much it much easier to park in confined spaces.
    It's short, but wide. But not super wide. I never tried to park in a compact space when I lived in CA, and we don't seem to really have those in the northeast, so I can't speak to that. But you're so low and the hood is so visible that it took me a week or so to get used to parking next to other cars without worrying about hitting them. Now it's no problem.

    - Can a booster seat be stowed in the area behind the seats (small child)
    Someone has done this, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's not designed for that, and it will block your rear view visibility. It really is a two seater.

    - There's no computer/ECU as such is there? I think this ought to be obvious from 1981, but I have to ask.
    There are "computers", but we'd think of them as Radio Shack kits by modern standards. There are a couple behind the driver's seat for the Lambda and ignition system, and the automatic transmission computer, but that's about it. If you want to hook up your own computers, you'll be using Pis and Arduinos to read voltages from wires, not plugging into a serial port or CAN bus. You can convert to EFI if you want information from the engine, but that's its own project.

    - Non leather interiors - I'm vegan, so any rework here is gonna be fabric or faux. Has anyone done this?
    Not that I'm aware of, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been done. It'll probably have to be custom, which means expensive. In my view, those cows have been dead for 40 years, and you buying a DeLorean now didn't contribute to that, so your hands are clean, so to speak. Unless you have a significant aversion to being in contact with leather, I'd say to wait until the interior wears out and then replace it with more animal-friendly products them.

    - My final concern here with the car is that it's gonna attract a huge amount of attention, especially as a DD. It's not really a car you'd want to leave unattended for a long, is it?
    Mine had been off the road for about 6 years as I slowly did a 3.0L engine swap due to a hole in the 2.8L engine block, and I had forgotten just how much attention it gets. I drive it whenever I can, and will routinely leave it at movie theaters, shopping centers, etc. I've seen people taking pictures of the car from across the parking lot, that sort of thing, but no one has ever messed with it that I'm aware of.

    -- Joe

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    None of the stock ECUs use a microprocessor. They are all discrete components and standard ICs.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member mr_maxime's Avatar
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    Does a vegan interior really matter? If you're buying something with animal products in it, what difference does it make? Seems like buying a steak just to throw it in the garbage, then ordering something vegan. Why not just buy a vegan friendly car to begin with?

  7. #7
    Delorean Guru
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    A Delorean is really not a good candidate for daily driver. It does not have many of the newer, more modern safety features like airbags, power steering, lane departure warning, collision avoidance etc. Visibility is limited. Putting a child seat behind the seats would not be legal, there are no tethers or seat belts to attach it to. As for reliability, which would be necessary for a daily driver, very few shops will service the car and many of the parts are not quickly available the same day. That said you can make the car reliable but it will take a lot of work to make it so and keep it reliable. Expect a lot of attention, no getting around that. The car is pre-OBD so there are no "computers" per se, just some discreet electric controllers for some of the systems. It will cost a lot to remove the leather and fabricate cloth or plastic to replace it (is it really that important to do that?). The animals that were killed to get that leather died over 35 years ago.The car will still burn fossil fuel, will that be OK? For backing up, some owners have installed back-up cameras. Most owners just open the door and look back for the rare times you have to back up. In an area of the country as populated as the Bay area, driving a Delorean can be dangerous because a Delorean can be difficult to see, being so low and under the wrong lighting conditions it can "blend in" and be hard to spot. Then there is the problem of insurance. Most insurance companies will just insure it like any 35 year old car and Blue Book it. If it gets totaled they will hand you $1,000 and you're done. You would need to find a company that will insure it for "Agreed Value" but of course that will cost a lot more (if you can get it). Finally, in California you have to deal with inspections. Probably the toughest in the country and always getting tougher. Currently you should pass if the car is in good tune but with the rules getting tougher and tougher every year it is just a matter of time before it will be impossible to use a Delorean as a daily driver in California. The "pro" argument is that is one of the coolest cars on the planet. So much so that Tesla is going to make a pick-up that, arguably, looks a lot like a Delorean!
    David Teitelbaum

  8. #8
    Sometimes Owner louielouie2000's Avatar
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    Location:  Austin, TX

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    When Special T Auto/DeLorean Auto Parts was still open they offered vinyl replacement seat covers. There might be a set or two floating around somewhere that hasnít been installed yet. Iíve seen a number of DeLoreans over the years that have had their original seats reupholstered in cloth, too. Robert/DMCVegas on here has cloth seats, I believe.

    As far as back up visibility, thatís somewhat overblown this day & age. So many modern cars have rising window belt lines with sloping ďcoupeĒ roofs & massively thick roof pillars. When viewed in that light, DeLoreans arenít so bad. Since Iím very tall and my head sticks up into the concave section of the door headliner, I always found it easiest to simply keep the door open while backing up my DeLoreans.

    DeLoreans can in fact be daily drivers... several members on here do just that. I was t-boned by a 4,500 pound Cadillac in one of my DeLoreans and walked away with only glass cuts... so considering what they are, theyíre probably safer than you would think. I think the biggest issue with DeLoreans being daily driven is the current state of the American automobile. Everyone drives massive trucks, SUVs, & crossovers now. A DeLorean is so short it is about door handle height on a Camry. Point being, youíre practically invisible to all the massive vehicles around you. The other issue with daily driving is reliability. Almost any DeLorean thrown into daily service will have issues arise. Until you flush all of those out, your car will take a lot of trips on a flatbed.
    Louie Golden

  9. #9
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    A thought considering your comments of "not being a car guy", "does it get a lot of attention?" and "is it okay to leave parked somewhere?"

    I am of the opinion that it is better to be someone who loves attention than someone who is a car guy. And not just loves the attention, but thrives in it. Goes looking for it in fact. Someone that feeds off being noticed and can't get enough of it.

    Because this is what owning this car is about.

    Tending towards being thin-skinned, introverted, loving your own time and space and peace and quiet, and generally not being in the mood for people 24/7 are poor choices for character traits for life with a DMC. I wish it weren't that way, but it is. You can't turn the attention off and it will come to you whether you want it or not. That sounds fun and exciting and novel and it will be, right up until you've had enough of it and then, surprise, it keeps coming. Relentlessly. Say goodbye to minding your own business. So long to the days where you could have your garage door open and be in the backyard without feeling anxious about who is lurking around the driveway trying to check out the car. And adios to those times where you go for a drive to just chill out and unwind. Because if the take-offs and landings aren't bad enough for you, wait until your first speed-matcher scares the crap out of you because that cool photo for his Facebook buddies is more important than your safety and getting to your off-ramp in time.

    The car guy stuff is pretty easy all things considered. Start with simple stuff and add more complicated things as you get experience. Buy some tools, find a place to work on the car. Don't park it out somewhere public like a common area for your building. Have your own garage with the ability to close and lock the door. That's an insurance thing mostly, but it's also a peace of mind audience thing too. You ever put together some IKEA furniture and it's not going so well? How about when you've got an audience, like your wife or mother-in-law chirping you about dinner's almost ready and you said you would be done that thing an hour ago? Expect crap to break or not work right on your car at precisely the moment when your audience arrives. And the bigger the number of onlookers the bigger your break down problems will be.

    You mention doing technical writing. Whatever your field may be, do you find it is easier to teach someone the technical skills first or the writing skills? Teach them to be the engineer first or teach them gooder English (kidding)? If your trip to Mars aboard the good ship Tesla needs scientific astronauts, do you start with a physicist first or a pilot? The car stuff is a joke on our cars compared to the people skills. And the most amazing mechanic in the world will still come to hate the cars if he doesn't realize what else is in store.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Well you are going to have to remove the seats and recover and don't forget the steering wheel cow parts removed and recovered with non cow parts lest you bee wrapping your hands around a dead cow part and don't forget if you get a 5 speed, your hand may graze the dead cow part of the shifter boot, so that will have to be removed as well. You will also have to replace the tires with tires that do not contain stearic acid which can be taken from animal products. A lot of the glues used also contain animal products, so you will have to completely disassemble the car and reglue with ??
    ummmm, you know what, never mind.
    Was waiting for it, bwuahaha
    - OCT81 DeLorean DMC-12 Vin 5312 "DeLores"
    - 1978 Lotus Esprit S2 "Problem Child"
    - 1995 Mazda Miata Turbo "Happy Daily Driver"

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