Now that SEMA’ slawsuit has prompted the feds to finally issue regulations stemming from the 2015 Low Volume MotorVehicle Manufacturers Act, it’s back to the future for DeLorean… again. James Espey, vice president ofDeLorean Motor Company, confirmed to Hagerty that plans are underway to preparefor limited production of a new, much-upgraded version of the classic stainless steel, gullwing coupe.
If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, it’s because the new DeLoreans were originally plannedfor 2016, a year after the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act was signed into law. Obviously, that did not happen according to the expected time frame.
The National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration was charged with implementing the Act, but anywork toward implementing the regulations stalled after the 2016 presidentialelection. DeLorean’s plans, and those of other low-volume makers, screeched toa halt. One problem, Espey explains, was that NHTSA hasn’t had a permanentadministrator since the previous presidential election, and the acting administratorwould not sign off on the regulations. In addition, old cars became a lowpriority for an agency dealing with the rise of autonomous driving tech and theTakata airbag recall.
Espey credits theSEMA lawsuit with prodding NHTSA to release the Low Volume Manufacturerregulations. He suggests that the120-page document had probably been close to release for sometime.
DeLorean Motor Company
The new DeLoreans should be worth the wait. Built from a mix of new-old-stock (NOS)and brand-new parts, the cars could get a 350-horsepower engine and an upgraded interior with modern audio and connectivity. Espey says the bodies will conform closely tothe1981–83 originals, albeit with modern headlights.
Although the LowVolume Manufacturer law allows a company to make 325 cars per year, Espey saysthat this upcoming run of DeLoreans will be lower-volume than that—perhaps oneor two per week. However, DMC is not taking orders yet, and production willultimately depend on several factors.