In 2014, Haley and I took our well-belated honeymoon trip. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we visited Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland proper, and along the way did the proper tourist stuff…we ate the foods, drank the whiskey, enjoyed the absolutely drop-dead gorgeous scenery, and soaked in the history. We both want to go back badly. One of the highlights was an impromptu detour by our bus driver off of the regular route around Belfast and into Dunmurray. Prior to that moment, most of my auto addiction had been crammed into the back of my head, and all I had been doing was noting the cars I’d never seen before as they passed by. Then I had to open my big freaking mouth and ask about a car, and I’m sure I was treading the line between dumb question and getting punched in the face.
Dunmurray, Northern Ireland has the distinction of being the home of DeLorean Motor Company’s manufacturing plant. Whether you buy into the whole Back To The Future deal or not, whether you believe that John Z. DeLorean was set up or was about to become a coke dealer, none of that mattered. What mattered is what DMC was supposed to bring to Dunmurray, and to Northern Ireland as a whole. “The Troubles”, a war that seemed to split between religious lines and sectarian lines, had been going since the early 1970s and by the late 1970s had been taking a toll on communities. By the time DMC was ready to start producing vehicles, the factory that sat pretty much on the lines between Dunmurray and Twinbrook was more than just badly-needed jobs. It was a chance for violence in Northern Ireland to be tamped down. Even with the teething issues of a brand-new car company and a brand-new car, the DMC factory was able to crank out the cars with minimal incidents. Workers took pride in what they had made and were left shellshocked when the company went down for good in 1982.
Would the DeLorean be in a different spot without the movie? It’s hard to say. DeLorean himself was a character and an automotive genius…his time at General Motors proved that point. The car had Lotus engineering in the suspension, had looks that in the early 1980s just straight-up killed, and had the shock factor of the bare stainless-steel body work and the gullwing doors. It’s difficult for hindsight to completely be clear here, but one thing is certain: the sports car from Northern Ireland is without a doubt a classic and is certainly unforgettable.