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Sep 12, 2014

Updated Second Edition now available!

The updated second edition of The Illustrated Buyer's Guide to DeLorean Automobiles is now available from Amazon.com, eBay.com, delorean.com and most DeLorean dealer locations. 

As time passed after the book was first released in 2012, I came across a few things that I felt needed to be added in regards a some minor things to look for when evaluating a DeLorean. I also came across a listing of all the company cars used at the factory and for RHD development, which nicely accompanied similar data from the US-side of the company.

I also took the opportunity to re-take a few of the photographs and fix a couple typos that somehow got missed in all the rounds of being proofed the first time around. 

As I was able to reach an agreement with a group in Japan to translate and publish the book into Japanese, it made sense to use the same text/photos/illustrations for both the English and Japanese versions. More details on the Japanese version will be forthcoming in 2015.

All in all, I am even more pleased with the way this edition has turned out, and think readers will be, as well.

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Feb 19, 2014

Why low mileage DeLoreans don't carry the price premium sellers think they do...

This is something that buyers run up against all the time. The seller thinks that because the DeLorean they are selling has "low miles" that it has extra value over and above a mechnically and cosmetically identical car simply for that reason alone.  This is rarely the case.

A general rule of thumb regarding mileage is that typical used cars will average 12-15K miles per year. With that math, the typical 30 year old car would have in excess of 300,000 miles on the odometer. I can only think of a handful of DeLorean cars with anywhere near this kind of mileage on them.

A quick look at eBay listings of other makes and models of cars in the same age range as the DeLorean shows few cars in excess of 200,000 and most in the 100,000 mile or so range.

Relative to other collector cars of the same general era, there seems to be an abundance of DeLorean cars with low miles - less than 30,000 miles is normal. As I briefly mention in the book, there are multiple reasons for this - some good, some bad. I also talk about how ways you can use to determine the accuracy of the mileage shown on the odometer

A couple of times a month, I get a phone call from someone with a very low mileage DeLorean for sale - sometimes even less than 50 miles. Most recently it was a car with just 7 miles on the odometer.

The seller invariably dismisses the fact that the car has admittedly been sitting most of its life, many times in less than optimum conditions. All they see is the low miles and believe the car must carry a significant price premium over other DeLorean cars. There are several fallacies in this thinking:

  • While a low mileage DeLorean car may have excellent cosmetics, it will very likely need the same amount or in some cases more (dollars and time) to be made mechanically sound as a higher mileage car. Think brakes, fuel, electrical, cooling, transmission, tires, weatherstripping, etc.
  • A fair number of low mileage DeLorean cars will need cosmetic attention, as well. Headliners, at a minimum, possibly stainless repair from being used as a "shelf" in the garage or being bumped by bikes, lawn equipment and trash cans moving in and out of the garage.
  • Rodent damage is more common in lower mileage cars. While they frequently leave the wiring alone, it's not unusual to see evidence of rodents in the A/C system (yes, it stinks), fusebox/relay compartment, storage cubby, jack stowage area, even under the intake in the engine - the latter of which can cause severe damage.

Compounding all that is the simple fact that most DeLorean cars today are being sold to people who want to drive and enjoy them (rather than display them). Therefore, the price premium being asked for the low mileage evaporates once the car is made to run correctly, driven and mileage begins to accumulate. This is even worse for DeLorean cars that have never been titled/registered and sold on a "Manufactuer's Statement of Origin" or MSO. As soon as the car is registered, a significant chunk of the price premium is lost without hope of recovery.

Sellers will sometimes naively believe that there is a museum or collector who will pay the premium for their ultra-low mileage DeLorean. Generally speaking, most museums are non-profits and few have the budget for something like this - and there are more sellers out there than buyers - some who will even consider donating their car for a tax deduction (or loan it for display - can you say free climate controlled, secure storage?)

The days of the car having appeal to lots of super high-end collectors willing to pay top dollar for cars to add to their collection are not here yet, either. And a smart collector know the economics discussed above and offers accordingly, as well.

So what mileage should you be looking for? In my mind, the sweet spot today is somewhere in the 20K or very low 30K range. That gives you some room to add miles - especially if you use it as a weekend/pleasure vehicle - and still have a car with less than 50K or so miles about 5-10 years down the road. Remember that a tankful of gas once a month is recommended (~200-250 miles) and if you must store the car over the winter months, proper storage is key. As more time passes, this "sweet spot" mileage number will probably rise somewhat.

What does this mean for buyer? A couple of things - don't get hung up on having a super low-mileage car, for one. They are almost always not worth the effort and added cost. That said, If you don't plan on keeping the car for long, consider your resale return. Lower mileage today with regular use means relatively lower miles at resale time. Higher miles today with regular use means even higher miles (and lower price) at resale all other things being equal.

CommentsCategories General Tags low mileage MSO MCO buyer seller

Sep 10, 2013

Frame rust...quite possibly the #1 value-killer in DeLorean cars today.

Unfortunately, the person who bought this car didn't have a copy of my book first. While the car looked okay-ish on the topside and interior, the extensive frame rust has put the new owner upside down before they could even get it on the road.Hopefully they will be able to unwind themselves from this transaction and get a better quality car.

Remember the factory frames appear grey in color (save for a few hundred very late VIN cars (undercoated cars - done by the company that bought all the unsold cars when DMC folded in 1982 - to hide surface rust that had formed on the cars that sat outside in storage from 1983 to early 1985 when the last cars were finally sold) as their mild steel construction was coated with an epoxy to help preent corrosion. Obviously, this car has seen a lot of bad-weather road use, haphazard repairs, coverups and out and out neglect.


The "layers" of rusted, separating metal here are cause for alarm - if it's that rusted in areas you can see, expect to see rust in the areas that you can't, as well. While some very late cars (as mentioned above) had some undercoating applied prior to sale, it was never applied on any that I have seen in such a ham-handed manner as this.


While some cars can get by with just a front frame extension replacement and be good cars, the levels of rust seen on the shock towers on this particular car gives me the most concern here. Notice the brake servo (booster) coated with rust, as well. Aftermarket front shocks, torn steering rack boot, rusted body mount bracket are also reasons to steer clear of this car.

A good shot of the front frame extension and the fuel tank closing plate - again, lots of rust evident alsong with tell-tale signs of previous repairs and cover-up attempts. The strange aftermarket (homebrew?) cooling fan shroud and non-stock wiring are also cause for concern.


The epoxy generally holds up well, but when exposed to salty roads and leaky brake/cluth hydraulics (which can soften and loosen the hard epoxy, exposing bare metal) it can end up like this.


As the car ages, we'll see more of this, and it is truly is a "buyer beware" world out there. Be an educated buyer and don't let this happen to you.

CommentsCategories Frame/Body/Rust

May 27, 2013

New option for UK/EU buyers

UK and EU buyers take note - the book is now readily available from a UK stockist for faster and less expensive shipping than if shipped from the US!

If you are in the UK or EU, click here to order.

The book is still available from Amazon, Ebay (US), Barnes & Noble, Autobooks, the DMC Online Store and all DMC locations for US/Canadian orders - ue the links at right to order.

CommentsCategories Where to buy

Apr 28, 2013

Classic Cars Magazine (UK)

The June 2013 article of Classic Cars Magazine features a short, four-page article on buying a DeLorean which, unfortunately, only skims the very surface of the subject. Like many magazine articles, it suffers from a few factual errors and is heavy on photography of a nice example of the marque and light on content - such is the nature of enthusiast publications. This article will remind people of the car and give an overview of the high points. From that point forward, it's up to the prospective buyer to get themselves educated any further.

All that said, it bodes well for the marque to have Britain's longest-established classic car magazine run a feature on the car - available at news stands in the UK now, and most Barnes and Noble bookstores in the States. I bought and downloaded my copy via iTunes through the Classic Cars Magazine app.

CommentsCategories General