DeLorean sports car

The DeLorean is not currently on display.

The DeLorean has gone back to the future and so is currently not on display but you will be able to see it later in the year in an exciting new setting.

What collection is the DeLorean part of?

Road transport

Why is this car so important?

There is no doubt that the DeLorean car has iconic status and its popularity continues to grow.

The DeLorean car used to be seen as a symbol an era when the British government would try nearly anything to reduce unemployment in Northern Ireland and bring some semblance of normality and economic cohesion to a troubled region. What happened however, was that around $100m (including investments from American showbiz legends Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr. and the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland) was written off in the Belfast suburb of Dunmurry, while the once glamorous American businessmen John DeLorean ended up bankrupt and fighting drug-smuggling charges.

No wonder then that the DeLorean story captured the public imagination and the car’s enduring fame was assured when it played a starring role in the Back to the Future movie trilogy starring Michael J. Fox.

The car was designed by Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars and Georgio Giugiaro of Ital Design. With lovely lines and a top speed of 135 MPH, it seemed to be a super car but good though the car looked, the windows leaked and the engine was prone to seizing.

This example was one of the first cars to be made in the Dunmurry plant. It is known as the Endurance car. Members of the Ulster Automobile Club drove it non-stop for three months. They covered 50,000 miles on public roads in Northern Ireland for its American emissions test. The car was driven 24 hours a day, stopping only for petrol and servicing. It has extra spot lights because much of the testing took place at night. The Endurance car came straight from the Dunmurry factory to the museum and has the steering wheel on the left.

It is the 24th car built by DeLorean and a permanent memorial to one of the strangest but most fascinating stories of Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

What should you look out for?

  • Look out for the wild gull-wing doors. Very few cars have ever been fitted with door of this style.

  • Most DeLoreans have only four headlamps at the front. This example also has two spotlights fitted for night-driving.