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RCR Takes On The Story Of John Z. DeLorean Himself – What Did It Take To Make The Man Who Made The GTO And The Time Machine?

RCR Takes On The Story Of John Z. DeLorean Himself – What Did It Take To Make The Man Who Made The GTO And The Time Machine?

There is no real air of mystery to the story of John Zachary DeLorean. His young life was filled with stories of an alcoholic father, a mother who worked wherever she could to make ends meet, and young John busting his ass in school before a draft notice brought him into the war-time swing of thing in the 1940s. Once back from the war, he went home to work, bringing up his family’s financial status, then went back to school while working part-time through the end of the Forties and into the 1950s. So far, the story sounds kind of familiar: my grandfather’s. Except where that man stayed on with the Army Air Force/Air Force, retired out in the 1970s and led a quiet life as a ham radio operator until his passing, John Z. led more of a rockstar life. His first foray into the automotive world was working at Packard, where after four years he became head of research and development. Had it not been for the Packard-Studebaker merger in 1954, who knows what may have come out of DeLorean, but instead of uprooting his family and moving to South Bend, Indiana, he moved on to General Motors, where he started out as an assistant to Pete Estes and Bunkie Knudsen. This is where the story picks up the pace…

GTO, Grand Prix, Firebird, the Banshee concept…the Sixties couldn’t have been more kind to DeLorean. Or it would seem…internally, despite his successes, DeLorean’s attitudes, adaptation to a jet-setter lifestyle, and his breaking of the GM corporate mold of an upright businessman in a suit caused problems. So did having then-Ford president Lee Iacocca as a best man at his second wedding. In 1973, after going through years of clashing with the likes of Ed Cole and the GM executives, John Z. packed up his office, walked away from GM, and two years later came up with his namesake company and the plans for the car most people remember as the Time Machine. Using a manufacturing plant in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland that hired just about anyone who wanted to work, problems were building up even before the first DMC-12s hit the shores. And then, there’s the arrest in 1982, the legal issues involved in the collapse of DeLorean Motor Company that haunted him for the rest of his life, his attempts to return to the automotive industry and ultimately, his death in 2005.

Regular Car Review’s “The Roman” has touched on the DeLorean story before, but this time around there’s a deeper focus on the man himself…what made him tick, what made him work like he did, what made him right, wrong, or whatever. That last part is up to your point of view. But whether you celebrate his accomplishments or detest his attitudes, you have to know that there is one hell of a story to be told about DeLorean that doesn’t automatically shoot to the GTO or the DMC-12.

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2 thoughts on “RCR Takes On The Story Of John Z. DeLorean Himself – What Did It Take To Make The Man Who Made The GTO And The Time Machine?

  1. EVIL

    Why would Richard Childress Racing care about this.Theres only one RCR ,everything else after is confusing.

  2. RK - no relation

    I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but when it talks about JZD’s successes and shows an eighties Pontiac (looks like a warmed over Chevy Malibu) as a picture of the Bonneville, it loses some credibility for me…

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