John DeLorean died Saturday from complications due to a recent stroke. He was 80 years old. While he might seem a strange individual for me to single out for a news story, John DeLorean holds the distinction of creating my two all time favorite cars. The stainless steel, gull wing beauty that bore his name (most famously depicted in Back to the Future), and what I consider the king of the muscle cars, the GTO. For a rather comprehensive bio, the Kansas City Star has a great obituary for him. (Registration required)
John DeLorean was almost the poster boy for hubris in the 80’s when was busted for cocaine trafficing, which effectively destroyed his already struggling DeLorean Motors, which had only managed to produce about 9000 of the still sexy as hell DeLoreans in three years of production. But you have to give the guy credit for quitting General Motors in 1973 (where he’d patented the recessed window wiper and the overhead cam engine) to start his own automotive company. You can count the number of individuals who’ve started an American car company in the last 75 years with fingers to spare. He was a damn fine engineer and a true lover of beautiful cars. It’s a shame the auto industry is so unrelentingly punishing of upstarts, otherwise who knows what might have happened. Maybe he and Preston Tucker will build Jeebus a kickin’ hot rod.
(Holy Crap. I might have finally posted something that Bondo will like.)