Stainless Steel Stays In Style In Finland!

Editor’s note: Sticking with the Finland theme laid down by our Mr. Scroggs, this was written by friend-of-Hooniverse Antti of Finnish Camaro fame, who recently visited a man in the Great White North with a Delorean that somehow hasn’t rusted to metal shavings. Antti himself owns a Mitsubishi Sapporo, and is living proof that the 1980s will never die.
Remember getting tickets to see the band you loved as a kid? You used to get all the albums, blu-tack posters on your wall, talk excitedly with your friends about their best work and wishing you could one day see them live. Remember it all?
Hang on, I’m going somewhere with this.

I’ve always been a huge DeLorean fan. Blame Back to the Future, blame ’80s US pop culture that at some point completely engulfed me, blame Nike sneakers. I’m Marty McFly’s long-lost kid brother. I’ve read all the articles I could get my hands on and learnt all the little details by heart – but I’ve never seen the car live, never touched its brushed stainless steel. So, when I found out that one of the two-three DMC-12s that have been imported in the country was residing only an hour’s drive from me, I just had to see it.
Finland’s pretty much as far removed from the States as is possible—ever seen our gas prices?—and yet we have our similarities. On the west coast of Finland’s wide open little America that is the Österbotten region, a car dealer had imported a DMC-12 for himself, across the Gulf of Bothnia from Sweden. An Aug ’81 model as the bonnet louvers and filling flap testify, it was an automatic one with black leather. Come a foggy Saturday morning, I fired up the Sapporo and drove up to Vasa.

Walking through rows and rows of used Citroëns, I looked for the stainless steel chariot. As I first laid my eyes on it, I guffawed. It’s pretty damn low. And wide. Next to the Citroën Picasso, it looked just like the space ship it was taken for in the first BTTF film. I walked around it, taking it all in. A little dent here, a little scratch there. Ill-fitting EU plates. Nose cone repainted. Stickers from Sweden. Wide Cooper Cobra tires. Wide ass. Flawless design.


No, the doors do not make that epic whooshing sound when opened, just the same ordinary one you hear when you open any hatch or tailgate. And with the door open, I just stood there for a while, looking at it all, having a silent moment.

Sitting in the seat with the gullwing door open above me, I looked around the instruments. So this is what these are like, I thought. The steering wheel, somewhat worn, was surprisingly small and thin-rimmed in my hands. The correct Craig radio was there in the dash, above generic switchgear. And as the car was a 1981 US model, the speedo didn’t go past 85 MPH—so no hitting 88 MPH in this one.


Stretching up and closing the door, the car still felt like a spaceship—albeit one built down to a price. I could sense the “12” in the car’s name around me, a number that had originally referred to the envisioned asking price of 12 000 USD. With the lengthened gestation and development issues, the price had ballooned up to more than double, past the prices of Corvettes that DeLorean had planned to rival. But yet, the feeling inside was incredible. It was tight in there, I could smell the car’s age – and cocooned inside a DeLorean is one of the best places I’ve ever been.

Still feeling the wheel, I noticed you could move it up and down by 5cm even if it wasn’t adjustable. With the Belfast build quality being like this, I would never even dream of fitting all the time machine crap in and on the car. The creaking and racket with all the time circuit and flux capacitor props would probably be deafening when driving up and down your local high street—and it all would only work to transform you from “connoisseur of vintage ‘80s machinery and all things ‘80s” to “Tron Guy”. So, the flanks are best kept unadorned with tack-on wires, like Giugiaro meant them.

Opening the engine cover, I peered at the Douvrin V6. At the same time, it was hard and easy to believe it was the same engine that all the old guys in my town have under the bonnet of their Volvo 760s. It’s the wrong engine for the car, but like all the other compromises in the car, it’s what DMC had to deal with. And nearly suffocated by period smog gear, it had only produced 97kW new, barely more than the 2350cc 4G64 in the Mitsubishi. It’s things like this that contributed to the DMC’s demise, and yet make it a bit more cult-ish. It wouldn’t be right to shoehorn anything else into the engine bay, except maybe for a rotary engine.


As I closed the DMC-12’s doors for the last time (this is the point where you’re supposed to hear the wistful, mourning tones from the beginning of Alan Silvestri’s Back to the Future Overture), I just had to smile. By being just a car, it’s still so much more than just a car. By being an installation piece, it never had to show me how it feels to drive – so the dream remains unshattered. Perhaps a more freely-breathing euro version would be better, perhaps a manual one. Perhaps you can get an example in just a bit better condition – and you can, if you’ve ever visited the delorean.com website. Down in Austin, Texas, they can still assemble you your very own dream DeLorean, just the way you like it.

And like that old favorite band of yours, it played the hits for me. You saw they were no longer young, you heard the sub-standard new material that they were touring, you heard the creak in their voices. But when you got home, you cranked up an old album of theirs, sat back in your chair and thought “damn, I really did see them live.”
And it’s the same with the DeLorean DMC-12 for me.

Originally posted at Finalgear. Got an article you think we’d be interested in? Email us at submissions@hooniverse.info for Submission Thursday!

0 Comments

  1. The Unclaimed Freight store in Bethlehem, PA had one back in '86. I forget how much they were asking for it but for a split second I thought about selling my 1 year old Mustang for it. Would have been a huge mistake but fun to think about. We would visit it every now and then. I think it was still there when I graduated in '90.

    1. That crimson-and-black interior is making me all hot and bothered… and I'm getting terrible ideas.

      1. You're getting a terribly great idea! I had a Volvo with a gray interior, I first got black floor mats for it since I was able to score some for free. And I liked what it did to the place. So slowly I started mixing in more black parts. It was a nice effect. Now I realize I should have gone red instead.

  2. The Delorean has always occupied a weird space in design terms: next to a mass-market economy car it looks like a supercar, but next to a supercar it looks like a fancy Renault Alliance. Personally I'd rather have, say, a Pantera, but I can get my mind around the awesomeness of the Delorean too.

  3. I live in Austin TX – a Utopian paradise where the girls are perpetually in bikini tops and shorty-shorts and where everyone is in the next big indie band and can assure you the DMC company that's remanufacturing the Delorean is, incredibly, NOT here. It's in Houston. Grubby, hot, industrial Houston. Now if you'll pardon me, I'm off to get a coffee-colonic and attend pilates.
    (for those who gave me a thumbs-down: I'm not actually a colonic-getting pilates person)

  4. So, what are those two lumps wedged in under each headlight? Some kind of aftermarket headlight washer system?

    1. Yes. IIRC in Finland these were mandatory accessory, either washer or wiper. Probably still are. However those on Delorean look very big and ugly. Aren't they obstructing the beam?

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