Great Scott! The long-awaited DeLorean DMC-12 is finally on the verge of a comeback…again.
The DeLorean Motor Company—which initially announced plans in 2016 to build a limited run of iconic DMC-12 cars using a combination of new-old-stock and new parts—is poised to enter production thanks largely to the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA).
DMC’s plans for the vehicle stemmed from Congress’ passage of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, a law that allows small automakers to build 325 cars per year that do not meet modern federal safety standards. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed to submit guidelines for the proposal, delaying those plans indefinitely.
Last October, SEMA not-so-subtly tapped NHTSA on the shoulder and reminded it of its obligation by filing a lawsuit that finally prompted feds to issue a 118-page document outlining regulations for the law, per a Hagerty report. According to the report, DMC Vice President James Espey confirmed that plans are underway to launch a limited run of upgraded DMC-12 coupes sometime in 2021.
Espey told Hagerty that the company’s timeline relies on a few more factors, including a 30-day public comment period and a prerequisite review by the Office of Management and Budget. That process alone could take up to six months.
Complicating matters, NHTSA still has no administrator. Autoblog.com published a story highlighting why this could pose a problem:
“Part of the holdup with the LVMVMA delay was that acting administrator James C. Owens wouldn’t sign off. If a new administrator enters office before the OMB process concludes, or the process drags out past the election, or NHTSA ignores the matter to focus on autonomy issues and massive recalls again, these latest steps forward could turn into huge steps back. To forestall that, SEMA has asked the judge presiding over its lawsuit not to dismiss the case until NHTSA finalizes everything.”Autoblog.com
Potential hold-ups notwithstanding, by all indications the new batch of DeLoreans will be worth the wait. DMC expects to outfit each vehicle with a 350-horsepower engine; modernized interior with upgraded audio and built-in smartphone connectivity; power steering; cruise control; and ABS and traction control, among other technologies. The vehicle exterior will remain largely untouched, though it will feature modern headlights.
According to Hagerty, DMC has approximately 3.5 million parts in stock adding up to 96.7-percent parts availability. Translation: They’re ready when you are, NHTSA.