15k: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

Tired of being ignored by the FBI? Have a briefcase full of “merchandise” that needs to be quickly converted into cash to save your ailing manufacturing business? Wish you could go back in time to set up your parents in high school, only to have your mom fall for you instead of your dorky dad-to-be? Yes, yes, yes? Then may we suggest the car that rust loves to hate, the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. The market price for a nice example has hovered around $25k, seemingly since the car was released. However, a more dailyturismo-budget-friendly “seen better days” example is available on craigslist in Orange, CA at $12500 asking price.

The seller claims only 23,000 miles on this 31-year-old stainless steel wonder, but also that it has been sitting for the past 8 years. We can take an educated guess that the fuel system, brake system and electronics will need some scrutiny and sorting out after the long slumber before this baby can safely be taken up to 88 mph. If you don’t have a long stretch of road available for test drives after wrenching, don’t worry…where we’re going, we don’t need …roads.

DeLoreans are motivated (no pun intended) by an emissions-strangled version of the curious odd-fire PRV (Peugeot – Renault – Volvo) 90° 2.8L V6 engine. One would be forgiven for thinking that a steel-backboned, Lotus Esprit-based mid-engined car with a stainless shell resting on a fiberglass underbody would be fast, but with a Franco-Swedish time bomb puking out 130 bhp, one would be wrong indeed. If you believe the internets, the PRV supposedly can be force-fed by turbocharging without too much fear of blowing the coke-filled crankcase sky high. A 400 bhp version was even campaigned at LeMans by France’s own bankrupt supercar maker, Venturi. How about that?

More fun PRV facts: the engine has design roots starting in 1973 and soldiered on in various frogmobiles all the way up to 1998! The factory chop-top Volvo 262C Bertone coupe had one too! Don’t forget the Renault Espace minivan – you could do a lot of blow trafficking with one of those! An AMC-designed, Chrysler-marketed Eagle Premier would round out the all-PRV fleet, if you want to completely lose touch with reality.

Back to our specimen in question, the rear plastic panel obviously needs some attention – they did not come out of Northern Ireland wearing contrasting black paint and fitting so poorly. The passenger’s side front fender has seen some action but forget about bodywork unless you have Paul Revere levels of metalsmithing skills; the bare, brushed stainless skin is notoriously difficult to rework. Better to buy a replacement panel (or a whole new DMC-12 – literally) from the recently reformed DeLorean Motor Company in Humble, Texas: delorean.com. They own a huge inventory of new and NOS parts and have the service, repair & upgrade markets cornered.

Do you have the stones to get dragged into DMC project car hell? Or are you too paranoid of a federal sting operation taking you down while you’re just trying to do your thing? We know our answer – we would talk the seller down under $10k and bring this neglected beast home if we had the space!

Find any equally terrible PRV-powered, orphaned, and rust-proof cars for sale?  Email us here:  dailyturismo@gmail.com