On this day in auto history - August 16th

Mon 16th Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1984 that one of the most colourful motoring personalities of the 1980’s, John DeLorean, was unanimously acquitted in a high-profile drug-trafficking trial which had gripped America.

Despite the not guilty verdict - he had been entrapped, the jury said - DeLorean's arrest effectively killed off his eponymous motor company which had been placed into receivership the previous year.

When asked by a reporter following the acquittal if he planned to resume his career in the auto industry, DeLorean famously quipped: “Would you buy a used car from me?”

DeLorean was big news in the UK because he had been enticed to build his two-seater sports car, the DeLorean DMC 12 - noted for its gull-wing doors - out of a newly-built factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, employing more than 2,000 workers.

A four-times married General Motors executive famed for his lavish lifestyle, DeLorean had sensationally bucked the corporate establishment to form his own company years earlier but massive production delays meant that the DMC-12 didn’t reach the consumer market until 1981, leaving the company in a precarious financial position from which it never recovered.

Despite everything, DeLorean did receive a level of immortality when his DMC-12 - known simply as the 'DeLorean' - was famously featured in the iconic Back To The Future movies of the 1980’s.

Following his death at the age of 80 in 2005, DeLorean's New Jersey mansion and estate was purchased by Donald Trump and turned into one of the crown jewels of his golf course portfolio.