John Delorean (1925-2005) was an engineer and an executive in the automobile industry. He was the founder of the De Lorean Motor Company. John Delorean is most known for his development of a muscle car, the Pontiac GTO, and the famous sports car, the Delorean DMC-12. This car was featured in the movie Back to the Future. Delorean also became known as the famous auto industry professional who was arrested on drug trafficking charges. However, Delorean was found not guilty as a result of his defense which inferred that he was the target of entrapment.
John Delorean was born into a lower middle class family in Detroit, Michigan. His parents were both immigrants. His father, John Zachary Delorean, was a Romanian immigrant who worked in a mill factory. His mother, Kathryn, was a Hungarian immigrant. John Delorean grew up in a volatile environment and the home was plagued with bouts of occasional abuse and violence. Kathryn was known to pack up her children and flee to her sister’s home when her husband became too violent. John’s parents divorced in 1942.
John Delorean attended the public elementary schools in Detroit. He was accepted into Cass Technical High School where he excelled in electrical studies. Delorean received a scholarship to Lawrence Technological University. He studied industrial engineering and was soon elected into the prestigious Honor Society. Delorean was drafted into the United States Army in 1943. When he returned from World War II he started work at the Public Lighting Commission to help out his mother’s economic difficulties. After the better part of a year, Delorean returned to Lawrence Technological University and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1948. Delorean went on to graduate from Chrysler’s post graduate facility and received his master’s degree in Automotive Engineering. He signed on with Chrysler and joined the engineering team.
He did not spend a year at Chrysler before leaving to work for Packard Motor Company. Within four years John Delorean became the head of Research and Development for the independent motor company. Packard Motor Company eventually merged with the Studebaker Corporation. Delorean had the option of keeping his job and moving to Indiana. However, he was offered his choice of jobs at General Motors and chose to go work in the Pontiac Division. Delorean became an auto industry legend for his design of the Pontiac GTO.
Delorean eventually left General Motors and formed Delorean Motor Company. His famous car was introduced to the world in 1981. However, after building less than 10,000 cars the company closed down in 1983 due to financial difficulties. When the Delorean was featured in the movie Back to the Future in 1985, John briefly discussed starting his motor company again. However, he was unable to shake off his financial woes and finally declared bankruptcy in 1999.
John Delorean lived out the remainder of his life in New Jersey. He died at age 80 from complications of a stroke. He left behind one son and two daughters.