Forty years after the collapse of a legend, its successor has arrived, and it’s weird.
The company that brought a new DeLorean to this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance isn’t related to the DeLorean Motors that failed spectacularly in the early 1980s. The new team calls itself DeLorean Motors Reimagined (DMR). It seems to have none of the original DeLorean Motors team involved in the imagining.
The car they’ve built bears some resemblance to the legendary DeLorean DMC-12 that the “Back to the Future” films made famous. But it includes features the people of the 1980s could never have dreamed up.
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They might have imagined we’d have hoverboards and self-tying shoes. But the ability to send a distant driver an electronic hug? No one saw that coming.
The DeLorean legend
If you don’t remember the 1980s, first of all, congratulations. Second, a quick primer.
The DeLorean DMC-12 was one of the signature flame-outs of the decade. It was the fever dream of John DeLorean, the automotive designer behind some true classic cars like the Pontiac GTO. He designed a distinctive wedge-shaped car bodied in stainless steel with gull-wing doors and a louvered rear window. It caught the imagination of millions and got itself cast as a rolling time machine in one of the decade’s signature movies.
A 1981 DeLorean DMC 12
But it never lived up to its performance promises. DeLorean sold plenty of posters but few cars. The company went under, and DeLorean himself faced drug trafficking charges.
See: Check out the sort-of photos of the sort-of DeLorean
DMR thinks the modern era of electric cars will let it succeed where the original failed.
Its first product is the Alpha5. It seats four, not two like the classic. But they still get in under a massive set of gull-wings.
The car is curvier than the wedge-like classic, with a sleek front end wearing wide, thin lights and a low front splitter. The louvered rear window makes a second appearance. But now its black slats meet a black roof, giving the car an attractive two-tone look.
The DeLorean Alpha5
Powering it all is… well, we don’t know. DMR has revealed almost nothing about the mechanical aspects of the car. Spokespeople at the Pebble Beach event said power and battery details are still under wraps.
The DeLorean Alpha5
A specifications page on their website promises 0-60 mph in an estimated 2.99 seconds, an estimated top speed of 155 mph, an estimated range of over 300 miles, and estimated everything else, too. It then links to a line of DeLorean clothing.
DMR says the final price of the car is still undetermined, but they are targeting around $125,000. DMR officials have mentioned the Porsche Taycan Turbo S and Tesla Model S as rivals.
The… uh… features? This might be getting creepy.
Website language about the interior is wildly extravagant. A shoulder-height black band of trim, the company says, “wraps around the entire passenger compartment, almost reproducing the cosmic depth of the universe.” Body-color seat backs “create union and harmony with the exterior to complete this feeling of a vehicle orbiting man.”
If that makes you a little suspicious that this DeLorean project will be as successful as the last one, we wouldn’t blame you. But it won’t be for lack of creativity.
What DeLorean will reveal about the car is fascinating.
Buyers will get a Fitbit-like wristband (DeLorean-branded, of course) to give to a loved one. The car can then display the wearer’s heartbeat on the console screen and set the seat heaters to their body temperature.
If the wearer taps a button on the band, the seat bolsters squeeze to give the driver a sort of electronic hug.
Drivers can upload their phone’s contact list to the car. If they share their location with social media, they’ll appear as moving dots on the car’s navigation screen when nearby.
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You can also use the navigation system to set a significant location as your “True North.” A pair of LEDs on the dash will glow when you’re heading toward it.
It’s an oddly sentimental list of innovations, and we’d recommend not giving the wristband as a gift too early in the relationship. But perhaps an emotional pitch makes more sense than a logical one for a car trading on nostalgia and thin on details.
If you’re interested, there’s no way to play a reservation yet. “DeLorean is as eager as you are to enable a path to ownership of our iconic Alpha5,” the company says — but it has given no indication of how to buy one.
In the meantime, though, you can join the “DeLorean Alphas Club” for $88. What does membership get you? The company has provided no information on that just yet.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.