clock menu more-arrow no yes

The DeLorean paradox: how it failed and became a legend

When you learn its story, this car really is a time machine.

The DeLorean paradox

Today, the DeLorean DMC-12 is a legendary car. So how did it fail?

The video above explores the past and present of the DeLorean Motor Company, which made the infamous DMC-12. Though many today know the car through the movie Back to the Future, DeLorean has its own incredible story to tell (and one that’s almost harder to believe than a story about time travel).

John Z. DeLorean is at its center as the founder and namesake of the company. His path through the upper echelon of General Motors seemed to set him on course for that company’s presidency — but he dreamed of starting his own company. The result was the DeLorean Motor Company, which was established in America and eventually planted a factory in Dunmurry, Ireland, near Belfast and during the Irish sectarian civil war known as the Troubles.

For this video, we interviewed Barrie Wills about his experience working at the company — but we also talked to DeLorean owners about the ways the car has endured, thanks to the movie Back to the Future and, more importantly, their own ingenuity and creativity. A DeLorean community has kept the car going. And despite the fact that the car’s production ended in the early ’80s, it continues to inspire new fans even today.

Watch the above video to learn how the story of the original DeLorean ended — and how it endures in ways nobody could have predicted. You can find this video and all of Vox’s Almanac series on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.