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Thread: I'm Finally Making a Post - Starting to Get Serious About Buying a D

  1. #11
    Delorean Guru
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    When buying an old, used car the most important characteristic is condition. Fixing up an old car can cost a ton of money so unless you buy it cheap enough and can do a lot of the work yourself, my advice is to always buy a car in the best condition you can. Just about anything else can be changed but the more expensive things are the interior and the transmission so you should try to get the car you want with those at least. If you don't know what you are looking at, ie, you don't have a lot of mechanical experience with cars and Deloreans in particular, you should get someone to help you examine the car when you are ready to purchase it. Get in touch with local owners. They can offer a lot of assistance. Don't buy the first one you see and don't buy one just because it is local. If you take your time there are plenty that come up for sale and by then you will have learned what to look for.
    David Teitelbaum

  2. #12
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    ++ on David T's advice.

    If you're not already using this book be sure to pick up a copy to augment what you know so far. James Espey's Buyer's Guide to DeLorean Automobiles. As a long-time lurker you probably already know about it.

    Expect your wish list to get a little longer before you make up your mind but you're off to a good start. Hood, stripes and antenna type are all important factors but the engine and frame condition are the real keys if you plan to keep it a while. Body panel fit and fascia condition may also be important considerations.
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  3. #13
    Senior Member Riley88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    You mean 2 seconds right?

    I never got the hood issue myself. It never bothered me my hood is flat as I really like the Delorean badge and let's face it, the grooves make it hard to put a badge on and it not look out of place. If I had a flap and/or grooved hood I would be just as content. Sure I have my preference but in the big picture, hood styles, interior color, even drivetrains pale in comparison to overall condition with me. I wanted a black interior flapped hood 5 speed, I got a black interior flat hood auto because I didn't let nuances prevent me from scoring a first class car. Actually the only original part of my car is the vin plates. Nobody has noticed or cared yet.

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    My advice is A: Don't worry too much about originality. 40 year old injector lines can burn a car to the ground on a 1,000 mile per year car too. B: Don't let details deter you from an otherwise nice car vs. buying a rougher car that has what you want. I would much rather replace an antenna fender or a flat hood or peel off a stripe than replace the cylinder liners. I mean how much fun is that gas flap if you can't take it to the gas station?

    Edit: sometimes though you can have your cake and eat it too
    I included the time it takes to fill up the car but yes
    - OCT81 DeLorean DMC-12 Vin 5312 "DeLores"
    - 1978 Lotus Esprit S2 "Problem Child"
    - 1995 Mazda Miata Turbo "Happy Daily Driver"

  4. #14
    Senior Member
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    Have you seen a car in person recently? You didn't say where you're located, but what you might want to do is go meet up with a local owner or two and see the differences with your own eyes, ask the owners about those differences, and then start looking at what is available for sale and for how much.

    Like others said, most of what is on your list can be changed out. I wouldn't try a transmission swap just for the heck of it though. Interior colour wouldn't be the most economical thing to try and change either. Hood, antenna, wide stripe, those are all fairly easy to change. And definitely current condition versus original features if you need to choose one of those.

    You are right that there were only two options (transmission and interior colour) and the other differences were chronological production changes. And there were many of them, some significant, some not so much. Fixed pull straps, exhaust tip style, stereo type/console clock, wheel colour. Again, go see several different cars and you'll see the differences in our identical snowflakes.

    I have the front fender antenna, lighter gray than normal painted fascias and the original 4x4 appearance package (non-lowered stance). And I like mine the way it is. As well as having an automatic. That's just me. Personal preferences are funny like that. Be careful getting exactly what you want. More things to regret if you choose them versus it choosing you. Read the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz if you don't understand what I mean.

    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  5. #15
    Senior Member
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    Please purchase The Delorean Buyer's Guide by James Espey. The flat hood is found on all 82s and 83s, so you'd be looking for a 1981 model year car. The gas flap is on VINs up to about 3200 or approximately 2,700 cars. MOST gas flap hood cars have a black interior as do all "earlier" production cars. It is rare to find a gas flap with a grey interior, but they exist in small numbers. Also, the fender mounted antenna was not around too long - maybe August and some September, 1981 production cars? My car is July 1981 with black interior and windshield antenna. I know October 81 cars don't have it. The good news is you seem to like the most common combination for these cars: groove hood, grey interior, five speed, so you'd probably be looking for an October or November 81 production car most likely. HOWEVER, condition trumps everything. It is much easier to change antenna placement than it is to replace/repair a bad frame. I would further encourage you to attend a DeLorean event like DCS or visit one of The Delorean franchises and look at several cars to see what price point you will be at for what you want. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to look at cars in varying states of condition, so you will know a good one from a bad one. Good luck!

  6. #16
    Sometimes Owner louielouie2000's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Jonathan here. Yes, condition is paramount... but this isn't a used Toyota Camry, this is your dream car. If you don't buy a DeLorean with the transmission and interior color you want, you WILL regret it. The good news is grey interior 5-speed cars are the most plentiful DeLorean combination... and the overwhelming majority of them will have the lined hood without the gas flap. So you definitely aren't looking for a unicorn. The most rare combination by far is an '83 black interior (some call the '83 black interiors two-toned since the carpets and headliner are lighter colored) with an automatic transmission... they probably made less than a hundred of those.

    Regarding the gas flap... it has its pluses and minuses. Yes, it's handy to be able to have access to the gas cap without opening the hood... especially since DeLoreans are pretty infamous for their hood release cables snapping or coming untethered. However, the flaps themselves have issues. When you open them, the leading edge nearest the filler cap is razor sharp, and will slice your fingers open. Some owners have come up with remedies for this, one of which involves folding the sharp edge over on itself. The clip style hinges on the flap are pretty crappy too, and have been known to break. But in reality, there aren't more than a couple hundred grey interior cars with gas flaps, anyway... so it's kinda a moot point.

    Like Jonathan said, see if you can meet up with some local owners before buying. You might find your must haves may be more flexible than you think. For instance, I used to HATE the wide black stripes... until I actually saw a car with them in person. The wide stripes look really cheesy in pictures, but I think they make the cars look very striking in the flesh.
    Louie Golden

  7. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill Valley PD View Post
    Also, the fender mounted antenna was not around too long - maybe August and some September, 1981 production cars? My car is July 1981 with black interior and windshield antenna. I know October 81 cars don't have it.
    My November 81 had a fender antenna.
    5 speed, grooved hood, grey interior (Nov '81)
    QA1 coilovers, LCA brackets, DPNW Poly swaybar bushings, DMCMW shock tower bar, convex mirrors, DPNW Toby Tabs, DPI exhaust, C4 Corvette third brake light, PJ Grady tail light boards, Bitsyncmaster relays

  8. #18
    Delorean Guru
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    The "options" offered by the factory were;
    floor mats
    decal stripe
    luggage rack
    ski rack
    car cover
    polishing kit
    Some dealers had their own specific things like undercoating, license plate frames, key chains, etc. Few cars were ordered by customers, the dealers "ordered" cars but in reality they were told how many they had to buy and they got what the factory sent them. The customers then chose from the dealer's stock. Included with the car was an owner's manual and valet with other paperwork, jack, lug wrench, jack handle, bag for the jack, handle and wrench, 2 sets of keys, front license plate holder, and spare tire. Things did vary year-to-year. Just about anything can be changed or obtained but the interior and the transmission choice would be very expensive. Ski racks are difficult but not impossible to find, hoods with flaps are also difficult to find. The combination you are interested in (with no flap) is probably the most common.
    David Teitelbaum

  9. #19
    Nothing witty here lest it offend
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb View Post
    My November 81 had a fender antenna.
    As does mine.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Alex Brooks's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DeLoreanDMD;254408]It seems like opening the hood is a minor inconvenience. At first, I thought a gas flap hood was a must but the more I think about it the less important it seems. Plus, I think it negative affects the lines of the hood. Gas stations are an issue anyway. I live in the great state of Oregon...home of not being allowed to pump your own gas. So, even slow stations can be an issue as you have to wait for an attendant and interesting cars always draw people in. I had a 1969 Camaro SS396 for years and lately my "fun" car has been an Indy 500 Pace Car. So, attention is just part of the deal.

    Where in Oregon are you ? I live in Bend, Oregon. To the best of my knowledge my delorean is the only one in the area.
    I would like to have friend in town with another car.
    Last edited by Alex Brooks; 02-03-2020 at 11:37 PM.
    Alex Brooks

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