Before going any further, I would like to give a shout-out to user Airwolf fanatic94. Back in 2013, they worked on their own take of a successful DeLorean Motor Company for their Alternity timeline. I greatly enjoyed reading their updates back then, I would highly recommend giving the article a read.
Today, I will be discussing my own take on a successful DeLorean Motor Company (with an Alaskan twist). Please enjoy.
If my previous blog post wasn't obvious enough, I do have a bias in favor of both John DeLorean and his gull-winged beauty. I've been obsessed with the car since I first watched Back to the Future in the 1990s. I want to make this perfectly clear as I'm about to reveal something mind blowing (if you are as much of a DeLorean fanatic as I happen to be).
Getting back to the point, for the DeLorean Motor Company to truly become successful, more cars should be added to the lineup. I've always been under the impression that DeLorean simply wished to sell a single car and they his arrest put a stop to any expansion. This is actually false, as DeLorean always intended to create a true car company to compete with the likes of General Motors and the growing foreign car market (i.e., more cars).
Over the past decade, it has been revealed that at least three additional DeLorean models were in the works, as well as additional acquisitions and proposals were made. Spending the past year researching these proposed vehicles actually make me regret not living in such a reality. Today, I hope I can give you guys the same feeling.
Before going any further, I want to explain a little quirk DeLorean had going (and its place in this alternate history). From the beginning, all DeLoreans were to be named and numbered as "DMC-#". This fully explains why the quintessential car we know of is often called the DMC-12. This was its actual model name. As for a bit of trivia, the number 12 was in reference to the hope that the car would be sold for $12,000 upon release. Despite the car being more expensive, the number stuck. Based on the additional vehicles I've come across, it appears the all follow the same naming pattern, with an esoteric number combination (which I also hope to explain).
The DMC-80 was going to be a bus. Not as exciting as the others on this list, the thought of DeLorean buses on America's roads is not something I thought I'd ever say. It almost sounds like "all alternate histories have hundreds of zeppelins in the sky."
Probably the most interesting thing about this proposed bus is that it would've (technically speaking) been just as revolutionary as the DMC-12. How so? The DMC-80 would've been a low-floor bus and based on German models of the time. While this kind of bus is practically standard today across the world, it was non-existent in North America in the 1980s (and was only becoming a reality in Europe). Had DeLorean actually released the DMC-80 by the mid-1980s, this would've introduced this design to North America years before our timeline (in the early 1990s).
I'm also happy to say that we know a lot about the DMC-80, in part, because of a promotional brochure given to public transport companies in the late 1970s. Here's a link to the full brochure, which I highly recommend looking through real quick. I'd also like to add that the number 80 is likely in reference to the VöV-Standard-Bus, which are a set of standards used for buses made in Germany. In this case, the DMC-80 is referring to the VöV S 80, which was a prototype bus layout intended for the 1980s (hence the number 80). The S 80 was never adopted in OTL. Had DeLorean actually made the DMC-80, not only would've it introduced low-floor buses into North America, but perhaps be the only bus to adopt this standard (if not help launch it globally).
Also, a quick shout out to FastCarsNoRules220 on YouTube. They made a video not only about the DMC-80, but also showed how it would've looked like had Singapore's transit companies acquired them back in the day.
Unlike our previous entry, we actually know a little more about the proposed DMC-44. Actually, I don't have to write about it all that much, as the DeLorean Museum has actually released an old promotional video from the 1970s. OMFG! So nostalgia, much imagining. Just watch.
For those that don't completely understand what is going on, allow me to explain. The DMC-44 was going to be a small, four-wheel drive utility vehicle (with the number 44 obviously referring to its 4×4 abilities). For the time (late 1970s and early 1980s), it was something in between a jeep and a tractor, with the ability to be used both off-road and on-road. Much like the DMC-12, it too would have a mid-engine design (technically speaking), making the DMC-44 a cab over (i.e., you're riding above the engine and front wheels).
It should be noted that the physical vehicle shown in the video was not the final product but a rudimentary prototype. The final design would've made the DMC-44 look something like a pickup truck or a van. At the time, such a vehicle didn't exist in North America. But in a similar story to the DMC-80, DeLorean predicted the trend towards four-wheel drive vehicles we commonly see today (at least in North America).
In an interesting twist, if you wanted to find a similar vehicles to the DMC-44 at the time, you had to look towards Japan. Virtually all Japanese motor companies had their own version of such a vehicle (which are referred to as kei trucks in Japan). These include (but not limited to): the Honda Acty, the Mitsubishi Delica, and the Subaru Sambar.
However, I will be focusing on one kei truck in particular: the Toyota LiteAce. Why? Because it was this vehicle that I (and most North Americans of the time) have some memories about. From the late 1980s until the early 1990s, Toyota exported this model to the United States as the Toyota Van. Growing up in the '90s, I remember seeing these quite often and I always thought of them as a kind of "DeLorean Van" (how close I was).
For this timeline, the DMC-44 would effectively introduce kei trucks into North America earlier and potentially helped keep them alive on the continent. It's also possible that the DMC-44 could serve as a (prototype) DeLorean pickup and van.
So, uh... if I were to tell you that DeLorean was working on a sedan, what would be the first thing that come into your mind? Perhaps a DeLorean with 4 gull-wing doors? Sounds kinda ridiculous, right? Well, what if I told that this was 100% true (sort of).
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the DMC-24. In many ways, it is an extended version of the DMC-12 (with the number 24 being in reference to being double the size of the number 12). It has a rear-engine design (with the hood being used for cargo), made up of stainless steel panels, and includes gull-wing doors. Like any sedan, it has two seats in the front and 2.5 in the back. The exterior design does give it a more distinct look, such as pop-up lights.
I would also like to clarify the number of doors the DMC-24 has. While some sources I've come across say it has 4-doors, this is wrong. It actually only has 2-doors. The 2-doors are wider than those of the DMC-12, allowing for both front and rear passengers to enter unhindered. There's only one door handle on the outside of each door, but two on the inside (one for both front and rear passengers).
At first glance, this sounds rather odd and infuriating (especially when considering how cool a 4-doored DeLorean would look), I believe I know of the reasons why only 2-doors were chosen. Firstly, gull-wing doors are actually difficult to make work (due to them going against gravity). This is why most cars use standard sideways doors. While it's true that DeLorean helped to introduce design changes which made gull-wing doors more practicable, this only adds more components that can break over time. My guess is that having 2-doors would be better for consumers than 4-doors (less cost if something breaks). Another issue has to do with the chosen demographic. Because this is a sedan, it would likely be targeted towards families with children. Unlike adults, "well-behaved children" would have difficulty closing a gull-wing door when properly sitting. So having only 2-doors would allow the adults in the front to close the door for their children in the back without wasting time. Yeah, I spend time pondering this.
However, the story of the DMC-24 doesn't end here. Unlike the previous entries, which all had promotional material made, the DMC-24 was the closest to being completed with a 1983 starting date (a year prior, DeLorean was arrested). Not only was it the closest to being done, we actually have a physical model of it... kinda.
This brings us to Giorgetto Giugiaro, and Italian designer. Giugiaro worked for DeLorean in designing both the DMC-12 and the DMC-24. In fact, the DMC-24 was loosely based on a previous design by Giugiaro, the Lancia Medusa. The Medusa was primarily a concept project focusing on aerodynamics than making a car. To add another notch to DeLorean's oracle powers, the release of the DMC-24 in 1983 would've made it the first North American car to not have a boxy design and beating the Ford Taurus by a few years (more history about this). Back to the topic at hand. By 1982, Giugiaro had completed his display model for the DMC-24, but there was a problem. John DeLorean had been arrested and the DeLorean Motor Company was no more. Rather than lose all that time and money spend on this model, he recycled it into a new car: the Lamborghini Marco Polo. While Lamborghini wouldn't adopt this proposal, the model lives on. Ironically, you can see that Giugiaro simply hid the iconic DeLorean hubcaps under another hubcap.
Unlike the previous three, this one wasn't intended to be released in the early 1980s. Instead, this project was done by John DeLorean in the early 2000s. Prior to his death in 2005, DeLorean was considering re-establishing his motor company and would release the DMC-2 as its poster child.
The biggest design point of the DMC-2 was not its exterior, but its engine. The engine was supposed to incorporate a hydristor system (developed by Tom Kasmer). Such a system was never used on cars (at least at the time). Other than that, the DMC-2 would incorporate elements from the iconic DMC-12, such as a similar style and "gull-wing doors" (I'll get to that in a second).
What's tragic about this is the timing. Kasmer began discussing how his engine would be included in a "future car," when DeLorean randomly contacted an auto reporter and they talked about the project. The interview was mostly casual, but it was intended to do a full and formal interview in a few weeks time (when the project would be formally announced). A week before that interview, John DeLorean passed. The DMC-2 died with him.
As for the sketches or other information about the DMC-2, apparently they are currently lost. However, the description and fan-made pieces I've seen make me thing that the DMC-2 might not exist in this timeline. It may be more likely that the ideas of the DMC-2 would simply be incorporated as a new generation of the DMC-12 (rather than being its own model).
Logan Machine Company
In 1978, the DeLorean Motor Company acquired the snowcat division of Thiokol and was in the proccess of incorporating these models into the DMC name. So we now have the DMC-1200, DMC-1500, DMC-1450, etc. Following DeLorean's arrest, the division was disconnected and became the Logan Machine Company (LMC), which even kept the iconic DeLorean font in their logo.
The company no longer exists. However, I could see them remaining in this timeline. snowcats (i.e., traced vehicles used for snowy conditions) would be ideal for the mountainous and varied climate of Alaska and North America (perhaps being sold in Russia as well).
Triumph Motor Company
Unlike the previous entry, this one was merely a proposal that never materialized. The Triumph Motor Company was a British car company which had been in existance since the 1880s. By the 1980s, it had been incorporated into British Leyland (a nationalized conglomerate of British car companies).
To better understand what is going on here, let's go back to the late 1970s. The United Kingdom was under the premiership of James Callaghan and the Labour Party (UK). It was the Labour government which worked out a deal with the DeLorean Motor Company for them to open their assembly plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in exchange for government subsidies and incentives. Shortly after this agreement was made, Callaghan and Labour would lose their government to Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party. The Tories wouldn't be as supportive of DeLorean as their predecessors, which only got worse following DeLorean's arrest in 1982.
Despite the chaos John DeLorean was facing back in the States, leaders and workers over in Belfast were fully supportive and willing to save both the factory and company from ruin. Their plan was mostly simple, they would rename the company to the "Dunmurry Motor Company" (named after Dunmurry, where the plant was located in) and continue to produce the DMC-12 (and finish the DMC-24) like nothing was wrong. But the biggest part of their plan was to add more cars. More specifically, they proposed to merge or acquire the dying Triumph Motor Company and produce the Triumph TR7 and the Triumph TR8 (which were the only cars being fully made by this point).
As part of the plan, both cars would receive a facelift to make them look more DeLorean-esque. They even considered having Giorgetto Giugiaro do the redesign, but this was rejected due to the company still owing Giugiaro money. The two cars would also be rebranded with the "DMC" name. The TR7 (which was to be sold mostly in the United Kingdom) would be named the DMC-2000, while the TR8 (to be mostly sold in North America) would be named the DMC-3500. Both numbers are in reference to the volume of each engine (2,000 cc and 3,500 cc, respectfully).
But as one can guess, this idea never happened. A combination of poor presentation and Thatcher being... well... Thatcher, the needed money and permissions were not met. The DeLorean Motor Company would cease to exist shortly afterwards, followed a few years later with Triumph's end.
In respect to this timeline, I'm not completely sure about what could happen. The logical answer (given my last blog post) would be that a DeLorean-Triumph merger would be butterflied away. However, I have been toying around with a new set of events that could allow for such an acquisition to happen (just under differing circumstances). As stated in my last blog, Ivan Deloryan would overlook the British offers and agrees to establish his first plant in his native Alaska. However, I could still see the British (regardless of whom is in charge) seeing some interest in a massive company building a factory in Northern Ireland (which was in the midst of the The Troubles). By 1982, Deloryan is in a far better spot (both financially and legally). With that in mind, I find it highly likely that Deloryan would seek to expand his company into Europe. Now under Margaret Thatcher, the previous deal is brought up.
While the same deal wouldn't be made, a new one could be as followed. The British government would give some (but not as much) financial incentives for Deloryan to build a plant in Northern Ireland. One of these incentives would be giving the go-ahead for them to acquire the Triumph Motor Company. Why would Thatcher allow this? At the time, her government was in the process of breaking-up and denationalizing British Leyland (such Tory). Many parts of BL were sold to foreign car companies (such as Ford getting Jaguar), so Deloryan wouldn't be much different here. As for building a plant in Northern Ireland, why bother? What about the existing Triumph factories in England? Why not use them? Simply put, the three factories used by Triumph at the time (Coventry, Solihull, and Speke) were being closed and repurposed for others (such as Land Rover). So, building a new plant would really their only option. In the end, Deloryan saves another car company. Northern Ireland still gets their miracle.
I briefly mentioned this in my previous blog post, but allow me to explain again. Back in the early 1970s, a many named Peter Kalikow attempted to form their own car company. The only car they made was the Momo Mirage, which had the feel of an Italian sports car the look of a German luxury car. Kalikow was one of the early investors of the DeLorean Motor Company. Given that both Kalikow and DeLorean would be Alaskan in this timeline, perhaps a deal could be struck where Deloryan could re-release the Momo Mirage (perhaps for a limited time) as a thank you to Kalikow.
Any additional car models would be up to the imagination. But with the amount of examples that have been given for an alternate history, perhaps we can come up with quite a few ideas.
For this thought experiment, I'm going to focus on the North American car market (being that I live here). The most common car types I see on American roads are: minivans, pickup trucks, sedans, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Because Deloryan would be a North American brand (above all else), they would very likely release (at least one) of each of these car types. While the DMC-24 would be their sedan and the DMC-44 could (in the loosest defintion) could actually fill the remaining categories, let's also assume that Deloryan would release multiple models with a category (many companies do this).
Another way to look at this could be through, none other than, Giorgetto Giugiaro himself. As stated before, he took part in the DMC-12, DMC-24, and was considered for the Triumph facelift. With such a track record, it wouldn't be out of the question to see him taking part in other projects. I decided to look into his resume, and was shocked at the number of cars he took part in designing. Similar to the origin of the DMC-24, I decided to look at the concept cars he designed (so as to not overlap with existing car models as much as possible). From this, I've come across three which could be adopted by Deloryan. One is the SEAT Proto, which could become a second sedan model. However, this concept was eventually incorporated into the SEAT Toledo (but still worth a look). The second is the Maserati Buran, which is a minivan/sedan/SUV amalgamation. I was primarily drawn to this simply because of its name. Buran is a Russian word for "blizzard" and is also known as the namesake for the Soviet shuttle program. Coincidence?
But I'm sure yous guys are getting bored of my describing cars, so I will finish this whole section with one of Giugiaro's concept car that would be a game changer (which is what DeLorean was good at). The Lancia Megagamma was proposed in 1978. It was a radically different vehicle for its time. It originally began as a project to design better taxicabs of New York City. While not adopted at the time, it has been described as the "conceptual birth mother of the MPV/minivan movement." The first minivans to be released were the Dodge Caravan in North America and the Renault Espace in Europe (both in 1984). While it would be a long shot, it's very possible that Deloryan could also adapt the Megagamma and get into the minivan market as one of the firsts (if not the first).
DeLorean also patented a monorail system during his lifetime. Perhaps this takes of here, as well as other non-car fields.
As mentioned before, the Deloryan Motor Company would have their base of operations in Alaska. It is also possible that they could expand into Northern Ireland (just by different means). Given the high ambitions of John DeLorean of our timeline, I find it very likely that he would expand his successful company. Where would these markets exist?
While the core of the company would remain in Alaska, its possible that other branches would be established in their neighbors. Mexico and the United States are the most likely, given their population and consumer base outpacing the Alaskan plant. In our timeline, Puerto Rico attempted to persuade DeLorean to build their [first] plant there. Perhaps they get their wish and the third plant is built there. My only concern is that Puerto Rico is an island. While being the first location of a startup is fine, becoming a new branch is another story. This could increase the cost of production, as shipping the competed vehicles back to the mainland wouldn't be as easy as having a plant simply on the mainland.
I could easily see Asia becoming another key market (especially in Japan). I highly recommend watching this video which explains some of the reasons why American brands sell poorly in Japan. The TL;DR version is that American brands don't focus on Japanese tastes and that misconceptions about the inferiority of American-made cars (e.g., the AMC Gremlin) compared to their native counterparts. With that being said, I could easily see Deloryan playing this into their favor. For starters, the DMC-44 (mentioned above) is basically a kei truck by Japanese standards. If the company were to focus on selling this and designing Japanese-specific models (i.e., kei cars), they should do fairly well. As for the misconceptions on American cars, this too could be played into Deloryan's favor. While serving as Vice President of General Motors (the largest car manufacturer in the United States), he often got into heated debates and squabbles over the direction the company was going. The executives [for all intense and purposes] didn't concern themselves over the degrading quality of their products. Deloryan would leave GM over this and create his own company to create "more quality vehicles." If this narrative were to play out in Japan, Deloryan could be seen as a David and Goliath story (provided you ignore DeLorean's part in the Chevrolet Vega).
The next likely expansion would be in the former Soviet Union. In many ways, I foresee lots of Alaskan companies flocking into the USSR during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, so Deloryan shouldn't be any different. It could also be possible that Deloryan purchases/acquires a Soviet/Russian car company in the process (as was the case for a few of them in OTL). I personally favor the acquisition of AZLK (which included/became Moskvich and had connections with the Izhevsk plant). Whether they are completely merged into Deloryan or become subsidiaries in a new "Deloryan Group" I haven't settled on.
Outside of these areas, my guess is that Australia, continental Europe, Southern Africa, and South America would be potential targets. For Southern Africa, the Union of South Africa would be the primary target. However, because they would be in a [slightly] better position in this timeline, it could be just as likely that Angola or Mozambique (both still a part of Portugal) could get the honor. In South America, I personally could see Brazil, Chile, and Tahuantinsuyo being key targets (Chile, more so, due to very friendly relations). Europe is a bit more tricky. It's just as possible that factories in both Russia and the United Kingdom could be enough to supply the rest of Europe. Not too sure at the present.
This part focuses on what a successful DeLorean Motor Company could look like. The final installment will look into... exactly what you've all been thinking of.