John Delorean introduced his vehicle prototype in 1976, the plant construction began in Ireland in 1978, the first production model was manufactured in early 1981, approximately 9,000 cars were produced, and then the company was shut down in late 1982. The primary reason for the failure of Delorean was its expensive price considering its mid-range performance. The Delorean became a pop icon in the "Back to the Future" movie trilogy of the 1980's due to its brief and interesting history.
John Delorean was a maverick in the car industry, known for creating the muscle car with his design of the Pontiac GTO. He left General Motors in 1973 to pursue the production of his dream car and namesake. When the prototype was released, it showcased stainless steel construction, fiberglass body components and gull-wing doors.
Delorean negotiated a partnership with several investors to start the company, with the majority of the money coming from the British government. Because of the heavy British investment, the manufacturing facility was built near Belfast, Northern Ireland. The DMC-12 is the only model produced, and it didn't sell. The $25,000 price tag was very expensive at the time, and its speed and performance were inferior to many competitors.
The company only sold about 6,500 of the 9,000 cars produced and was in deep financial trouble. John Delorean tried to save his company by financing a large cocaine deal; unfortunately, the man who convinced him to do it was an undercover federal agent. The resulting bust was an international media sensation, and the British government shuttered the plant shortly thereafter.