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Thread: Modifications made to sell the DeLorean in US market? For a presentation to students

  1. #1
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    Modifications made to sell the DeLorean in US market? For a presentation to students

    Hello Everyone,
    I own vin #1184 (Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin). I am a high school teacher who is bringing my DeLorean to show the students on our final half-day of school. One of the “cross-curriculum” topics the students wanted to know about is “what modifications did John DeLorean and his company have to make on the DMC-12 (if any) to be able to sell the car within the States” (Federal and/or State considerations)? Thank you in advance for any information anyone could provide.
    Best,
    John Kinville

  2. #2
    Guru butcher Michael's Avatar
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    My VIN:    I respect my vin enough not to whore it out among the masses.

    I believe the cars were manufactured for the United States market so there were no modifications needed.

    There were however several emissions standards that needed to be met which greatly reduced the power from (IIRC) 180hp to 135hp. Also some people claim the front end needed to be raised for headlamp height requirements but this has been all but debunked and the real cause of the front end height (according to some) was improperly matched front springs.

    The 85mph speedo may be worth mentioning as well. I'm sure there were other tidbits that other more enlightened fans will point out but again, these cars were designed for the American market from the beginning.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lenny's Avatar
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    I was always told that the cars had to be raised so the bumpers were a certain height to meet US standards.

    Like he said the 85 MPH speedometer.
    Thanks,
    Lenny

    DMCH New Build in 2005, Stage II, DPI Stainless Exhaust, Eibach Suspension, 170 Mph Speedometer, Xenon Lights, Wings-A-Loft, DMC Wide Angle Side Mirrors, 3rd Brake Light

  4. #4
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    As said, the cars were meant for the US. There were some modifications needed to be able to sell it in other countries, Canada for example.

    There were ~100 cars pulled off the production line and transformed into Canadian spec cars. These began as 12,000 VIN cars and ended up 17,000 VIN cars.

    The main change was the Metric instrument cluster. Kilometers on the odometer instead of miles, speedometer markings in km, temperature, pressure, etc. all changed. It also had to change any English words used to symbols. Why? Because of the French! And since they didn't want to clutter up the area displaying both English and French words for BRAKE for example, they just used the symbol.

    The Canadian spec cars also got another placard showing a warning of radio interference, near the VIN plate on the driver's door frame if I'm not mistaken. Canadian cars were also sold with a complimentary case of Maple Syrup instead of the cocaine.

    There were also some cars that got made into right hand drive cars for the UK market, but that happened late in the game and the company was already well on their way to running out of money.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The Canadian spec cars also got another placard showing a warning of radio interference, near the VIN plate on the driver's door frame
    Warning of radio interference of what? Interference of the radio on board? Or interference of other peoples radios? Don't you hate it when you drive by mine and set off an explosion?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny View Post
    I was always told that the cars had to be raised so the bumpers were a certain height to meet US standards.

    Like he said the 85 MPH speedometer.
    The DMC-12 was intended from the outset for sales in the USA, so no changes were needed for cars coming in our direction.

    As Michael indicates, that bumper height story has been all but debunked. There is no documentation of it. Factory experts point to the spring quality/variance as the root cause. I think I've seen evidence that the spring issue was on DMC Ltd's fix-it list.

    For reference the US federal requirements for bumper or headlight height/location those requirements were well-known to the car's designers and engineers when the project started. And the rules did not change.

    All '81 model year cars sold in the USA had to be made with 85MPH speedometers. That regulation had been in place for some years prior, as explained in this link. Again, not a change.
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  7. #7
    '82 T3 FABombjoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    The Canadian spec cars also got another placard showing a warning of radio interference, near the VIN plate on the driver's door frame if I'm not mistaken.
    Some US cars too - mine has one.
    Luke S :: 10270 :: 82 Grey 5-Speed :: Single Watercooled T3 .60/.48 :: Borla Exhaust :: MSD Ignition :: MS3X Fully SFI Odd-fire EFI :: DevilsOwn Methanol Injection

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinvilje View Post
    ... I am a high school teacher who is bringing my DeLorean to show the students on our final half-day of school. One of the “cross-curriculum” topics the students wanted to know about is “what modifications did John DeLorean and his company have to make on the DMC-12 (if any) to be able to sell the car within the States” (Federal and/or State considerations)? Thank you in advance for any information anyone could provide.
    Best,
    John Kinville
    Your plan to connect the students with your DeLorean is very cool, John.

    Going a different direction with your question you might mention, and may already know, that a big Federal-State regulation challenge for DMC was emissions compliance for whatever drivetrain they were going to use. They needed a 50-state compliant solution. The fact that at least one version of the PRV engine with the Bosch K-Jetronic injection and a catalytic converter was already emissions-certified in other, heavier, cars being sold in across the USA went a long way in solidifying that choice early in the design phase. The lighter planned weight of the DMC-12 meant compliance was all but assured, meaning only simple verification tests would be required before production could begin.

    It wasn't so much a "modification" as it was a design and budget consideration. There wasn't enough time or money for DMC to consider building their own engines, at least to begin with.
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny View Post
    I was always told that the cars had to be raised so the bumpers were a certain height to meet US standards.
    As others have noted, that’s a myth that refuses to die.

    1) Internal company memos prove that the car was not sitting correctly. It was mentioned several times as a problem.
    2) The bumper height laws are available online. You can see that there were no changes in those laws during the time DMC was operating.
    3) If it was a law that changed “at the last minute” as some have claimed, why was DMC the only company that handled it poorly? Where are all the nose high Lotus? Triumphs? Ferrari 308s? What about the domestic manufacturers? Why can I not find a nose high Firebird? Am I really supposed to believe ONLY DMC got it wrong??

  10. #10
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    Thank you!

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in with information! It never ceases to amaze me how generous, thoughtful, and informative the people within this forum are. Best, John (vin #1184...aka “Guido”)

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