Item Description
Former General Motors high-flyer John DeLorean
had a plan to build a stylish European sports car, at a price that
would make it attractive to the American market. The site he chose
for his state-of-the-art factory was on the outskirts of Belfast, a
city best-known for sectarian violence and high levels of
The unexpected marriage of high-tech glamour with
the gritty reality of 1970s Northern Ireland captured the public's
imagination but this early optimism would end in failure. Although
the cars looked great, the windows leaked and the engines seized;
as his financial problems mounted the maverick DeLorean faced
charges of drugs trafficking. Adrian Dunbar narrates the story.
DeLorean Facts
The DeLorean plant opened in 1978
Famed documentary-maker DA Pennebaker came to film the
transformation of a muddy field into a car factory
Although all of the cars were unpainted stainless steel when
they left the factory, some were painted afterwards and three were
John DeLorean was arrested by the FBI on 19 October 1982 in
Los Angeles and charged with trafficking cocaine
Over £80m of public money went to subsidise the
DeLorean plant in the hope of reducing levels of unemployment in
West Belfast
In 1984 John DeLorean was cleared of all charges against him.
His lawyer said the agents had cajoled DeLorean into a position
that made it look as if he had committed a crime
When asked by journalists if he felt bitter about the damage
done to his reputation as a businessman, DeLorean joked: "Would you
buy a used car from me?"