On this day in history - January 21st, 1981 - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

On this day in history - January 21st, 1981

A DeLorean DMC-12 A DeLorean DMC-12
One of the DMC-12's used in "Back to the Future" One of the DMC-12's used in "Back to the Future"

The first DeLorean DMC-12 rolls off the assembly line. John DeLorean was the youngest division head at General Motors when he left in 1973 to start his own company, the DeLorean Motor Company. DMC only ever produced about 9,000 DMC-12 before folding up.

The DMC-12 had several interesting features not found in typical American cars of the time. Its "gull wing" doors opened bottom to top, it used a rear-mounted V6 engine imported from France, and its body construction consisted mostly of fiberglass and unpainted stainless steel.

Production delays and budgeting problems plagued DeLorean. He said he needed $175 million to start his company, and courted celebrities to invest in DMC including Johnny Carson. The model delivered to Carson had electrical problems due to a weak French alternator.

The U.S. government charged DeLorean with trafficking cocaine to fund his business in 1982. After a trial finding DeLorean not guilty, it was too late to salvage his company.

The most famous examples of the DMC-12 appear in Steven Spielberg's Back to the Future as Doc Brown's time machine.

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