Nostalgia; it’s one of the most powerful forces in the marketplace. Many of us have films, music, and television shows that we’re all too eager to reminisce about and revisit. All too often, we do this to relive the fleeting memories of youth that we can still gaze at through rose-tinted goggles and feel whimsical. As both a writer of film criticism and a child of the 1980s, there’s a warm place in my heart reserved for the Back to the Future trilogy.
The iconic duo of Marty McFly and Doc Brown, portrayed by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, trekked through the different historical eras of Hill Valley at odds with perennial antagonist Biff Tannon and his revolving door of hoodlums and family members who seemed to have a knack for landing face first in manure. Whether it was the prediction of a future where the Jaws franchise never reached a conclusion or a past filmed at the same locations that John Ford made use of decades prior, it’s a tapestry that I’m all too happy to enjoy with unbridled enthusiasm.
Why am I waxing nostalgic about my memories of a film series I unapologetically love? Why do I suddenly have the urge to yell “Great Scott!” with rabid enthusiasm? Because, in an age where the popular items of the past are excavated from the vault of nostalgia, it appears it’s the DeLorean’s turn to be reborn and worshiped. That’s right. The car Marty and Doc took through the fabric of space and time is poised to make a comeback.
An Exciting Rebirth or Simple Nostalgia?
Naturally, there are different ways to examine this new information. My inner child is bursting with excitement over the prospect of the car with gullwing doors returning. Yet, as someone who spends time writing about the highs and lows in the automotive industry, my skepticism and objectivity are looking at the recent announcement with a raised eyebrow. The new model, known as the Alpha5, has already sparked interest across the industry and business world, as it appears no one could have foreseen its arrival.
The DeLorean, as some of you know, was a product of the 1980s; a decade when selfish excess and decadence appeared just about everywhere, and bright, flashy colors were the colors most commonly associated with the era. To that end, the DeLorean, which made its debut in 1981 and disappeared by 1983, almost seems like the antithesis of the decade in question. The stainless steel hue, which could be easily described as “gunmetal gray,” almost seems devoid of the ostentatiousness that the 1980s are known for.
Aside from its gullwing doors, which have since been used as a punchline in both The Simpsons and The Wedding Singer, it seems just like any other sports car that dominated the era. If not for Back to the Future, the model which came and went rather quickly and undersold greatly might have been relegated to the same corner of history as the Ford Edsel. You might even be asking yourself, “What does the 2022 version of the DeLorean bring to the table?” or “Is it a genuine rebirth or a vapid retread meant to stroke the nostalgic itch consumers have from time to time?”
What Does This New Version of the DeLorean Have to Offer the Automotive World?
The technology implemented at the dawn of the 1980s and the design of the new DeLorean have little to do with one another. While the name and always-stylish gullwing doors are the same, it goes without saying that this is most certainly not your dad’s DeLorean. Looking at the vehicle from afar, one can certainly see trace elements in the sloping design that defies convention and embraces aerodynamics, but this is a far cry from the straight-lined box look that so many sports cars manufactured in the 1980s were saddled with. It’s certainly a fastback, but one whose interior and technology are modernized for the new era.
First of all, the DeLorean appears to be a new chapter in the ever-growing EV revolution and could possibly set a precedent for high performance from a battery pack. The 2.65L V6 that had granted the original a horsepower rating of 130, quite low and mediocre by today’s elevated performance standards, has been replaced by a 100 kWh battery. While the horsepower rating hasn’t been announced, estimated specs from DeLorean show that the Alpha5 will have more personality than Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. An estimated top speed of 155 mph and the ability to travel from 0-60 in just under three seconds certainly surpasses its predecessor, who traveled the same distance in more than nine.
Even more surprising than its EV powertrain is its interior. The Alpha5 has abandoned the somewhat outdated sports car concept in favor of something more consumer friendly. With seating for four, the Alpha5 is taking the DeLorean into the realm of the coupe. While this will certainly widen the vehicle’s appeal, I don’t think we’re going to see an armada of Deloreon’s competing with the likes of Tesla anytime soon.
There are only 9,531 Alpha5 models planned to be manufactured when it hits the market in 2024. While the seating for four will certainly be enticing for some, it won’t be available to all. This fact has less to do with the amount that will be built and more to do with the price. While no official MSRP has been announced at the time of this article, expect to pay upwards of over $100,000. You know, just in case you need to start saving now.
The Legend Continues…
Here we are in 2022, and while it’s easy for me to be cynical as I look at the new DeLorean Alpha5, I can’t help but think that it’s the perfect reincarnation that perfectly represents the spirit of the original. We can sit back and look at the DeLorean as nothing more than a product of its time, and yet, its successor is the perfect representation of the automotive industry at this moment. We’ve seen the Ford Mustang take the form of a sporty SUV; seeing the DeLorean return as an upscale coupe is a natural progression.
Brands like Tesla and Volkswagen are continuing to shift the paradigm of what EVs can accomplish in terms of performance. We’ve seen the return of the Bronco, Supra, and other models that are strong in the minds of car enthusiasts. The rebirth of the DeLorean demonstrates where the industry currently is and where it’s going. While the vehicle may never reach the recognition and popularity of the next big thing on the market, I can’t help but think that this is a return that’s well-deserved and should be welcomed with open arms. Now, if we could just see the Edsel make a triumphant return…
An ancient Chinese proverb states, “May you live in interesting times.” While gas prices are on the rise and the microchip shortage can easily be described as a curse of the times we live in, the return of the DeLorean is probably the most interesting car news we’ve seen in quite some time. While these issues have certainly caused a great deal of concern for the car-buying public, it’s sometimes nice to be able to step back and admire an interesting development in the automotive industry. Will any of us actually sit behind the wheel of this new version of the DeLorean? Probably not. Although the market has seen its share of uncertainty over the last couple of years, enthusiasts like myself welcome this fascinating return with open arms.