Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quickie: DeLorean: Stainless Steel Illusion (Lamm, John)

Rating: 5/5
Year: 1983
Genre: Nonfiction
Read again? Yes, at 88 miles per hour

My first real look at a DeLorean was in 1985, in a movie theatre, where Marty McFly watched as Doc Brown backed a modified car out of his van. More than 20 years have gone by, and those sleek steel cars still quicken my pulse and awaken the same desire as when I was 18.

The theatre's a megachurch now, the original company is long gone, and John DeLorean himself is dead. But I still want a DeLorean. I bought the "Back To The Future" booklet as soon as I found it--lots of pictures of the people from the movie, yes, but who cares about them (well, aside from Lea Thompson)? The only thing I really cared about were the photos and Ron Cobb's drawings of the car, from which I tried to make my own scale drawings of an unmodified DeLorean. Cobb's drawings weren't accurate, and I was left with working things out as best I could all through 12th Grade. I'm still pretty proud of a 3D-ish technical drawing I made of it--given the lack of accurate source material, I did a good job.

At some point in 1988 (if I remember right), I found an ad for this book and waited impatiently for the thing to arrive. I wasn't disappointed. I'd have to say that having the book is the next best thing to having the car.

You can't tell the story of the car or the company without the story of the man's rise in General Motors and fall in a drug scandal. But I didn't care about that. I was all about the car! I wasn't disappointed there, either. From the earliest stages of design, through the high-tech assembly line, to the disappointing end as the last one rolls out in December of 1983, there's plenty of material.

Photos and illustrations are mostly black & white, but there are some truly stunning color pages featuring aftermarket-painted cars in black, red, and yellow as well as stock stainless-skinned beauties.

A must-have book for a DeLorean fan.


Anonymous said...

You remind me of a movie a high school friend took me to in the 80s. The "star" was the Dodge Phantom, a car that hadn't hit the market yet, and this guy was just panting to see it in action.

At seemingly random moments he'd clutch my arm and get all excitied about the body design or the engine noise or whatever sets off car enthusiasts. -- LR

JW said...

I drooled over that car, too, in "The Wraith."

Recently re-watched it...the movie hasn't aged well, but that's still a pretty car.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, that's the one. I looked up movie names with variations of "Phantom" and "Ghost" etc., but I just couldn't remember the title. --LR