88 MPH in a DeLorean
A car salesman friend of mine once showed up at the radio studios in a DeLorean his company had taken in on trade. In stead of the original under powered 130 HP V-6 this one had been refitted with a Ford 302 CID V-8 so it had a little get up and go, but still no power steering. (must I mention that there was no automatic transmission?) Before the invention of the internet (thanks Al Gore) and the information highway, rumor held that DeLorean purposely designed the engine compartment to fit the 302 which could also be bored out near some 330 cubic inches if one knew what one was doing with a milling machine.
At that time, and late at night on the back country roads when I was single, childless and my only responsibilities were to show up at work, hauling ass well above 88 MPH was fun and somewhat of a thrill. The rack steering and lack of that hydraulic 'cushion' in the steering chain gave a great feel of the road and made the car very responsive at the wheel. Going around curves one literally felt like the car was mounted on a rail.
But these days, going exactly 88 MPH in a DeLorean not only isn't going to propel you back to the future or past, but will likely land you in court with a traffic ticket as was the case over the weekend with a California man.
Those of a certain age recall the famous story of the automaker John DeLorean and his desire to build the ultimate car, from its rack and pinion steering to it's gull-winged stainless steel body (clean it with a pad of steel wool) but his lack of funding and eventual ties to drug smuggling brought the venture to an early end before he could really develop the car into something super special. Not that it wasn't special, even today when seen on the roadway they will attract attention, and there's even companies out there that more or less build replicas out of wrecked ones, combined with an abundance of spare parts from the original manufacturing days. A company in Texas builds brand new ones, having acquired all the legitimate logos, trademarks and naming rights from the original company. A new DeLorean, that basically looks like the original model runs about $100,000.
And then there was the movie featuring a DMC-12 which was highly modified by Dr. Brown to permit Marty McFly to time travel.... the movie debuted some 2-3 years after the company had gone out of business but even still spurred sales of the already rare machines throughout the late 80' and into the 90's.
The original V-6 130 HP were a little under-powered, but they sure looked good on the road then and now. It's kind of sad the late Mr. DeLorean didn't get to continue to build his cars, develop and refine them... can you imagine what a 2017 model might look like?