On this day in auto history - October 18th

Sun 18th Oct 2020

It was on this day in 1982 that the British government formally closed the DeLorean factory in Northern Ireland, thus bringing an end to one of the most colourful chapters in British industrial history.

The newly-built Dunmurry facility had been owned by DeLorean founder John DeLorean, a flamboyant, four-times married, former General Motors executive who had been enticed to Northern Ireland by a lucrative offer from the province’s Industrial Development Board which was keen to create new jobs in an effort to curtail sectarian violence.

DeLorean used the Dunmurry factory to build his much-touted, two-seater sports car, the DeLorean DMC 12 - noted for its gull-wing doors - but lack of demand, production delays and cost overruns quickly left the company in a precarious financial position, even before the vehicle finally hit the commercial market in late 1981.

After a restructuring plan failed to materialise and efforts to lobby the British government for aid were turned down, DeLorean Motor Company quickly went bankrupt, taking with it 2,500 jobs and £100 million in investments. Around the same time, John DeLorean himself was charged (but eventually acquitted) for drug-trafficking.

Despite everything, DeLorean (who died in 2005) 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.