The De Lorean car company was founded in 1979 in New York by flamboyant John De Lorean, to make the car of his dreams.
The car as he dreamed it, with its distinctive gull-wing doors hinged at the top, and stainless steel skin was never fully implemented. The unfettered ambition of the prototypes designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro was whittled down at each stage closer to production, as deadlines and budgets were hopelessly overrun.
There were about 8,000 cars made between 1981 and 1983 in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, of which 6,000 are still on the roads. The vehicle garnered worldwide attention and recognition as the basis for the time-machine in the 1985 movie Back to the Future.
In 1982, De Lorean was charged with selling cocaine to undercover police. The Dunmurry factory closed with the loss of 2,000 jobs and taking over $100 million in British government subsidies down with it. De Lorean was later acquitted of all charges (due to entrapment) but went into retirement in New England. The dream with which he had mesmerised Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government, of capitalism rising out of the ashes of Ulster's sectarian conflict, was shattered.