The DeLoreans became famous in the movie – but the real story deserves to be told too
That is what the documentary “Myth and Tycoon: John DeLorean” will do, which has three episodes and which premieres on Netflix this Friday, July 30th.
We all know the DeLorean car from the Back to the Future movies. It’s one of the most defining elements of this saga, and it seems that it was made up for the plot on purpose – except that the DeLorean cars existed and their story was made for a movie too.
This Friday, July 30th, the three-episode documentary “Myth and Tycoon: John DeLorean” starts on Netflix. It uses unreleased footage from director DA Pennebaker and the production includes exclusive interviews to tell this story about the rise and fall of the founder of DeLorean.
This car company only existed for seven years, between 1975 and 1982, and only made one model, the DeLorean DMC-12. The American John DeLorean was working as an executive at General Motors when his personal ambition required starting his own company. He was brave, charismatic, and disrespectful and didn’t want to do things the traditional way.
His goal was to build a car with a sporty and futuristic design – the DeLorean DMC-12, which he was able to build with the help of several investors.
The main support came from a UK government fund that moved the DeLorean factory to the suburbs of Belfast, Northern Ireland, creating around 2,600 jobs. The government’s aim was to stabilize this region, which was plagued by all the conflicts with Ireland at the end of the 1970s.
Sales actually went well, but the success didn’t last long – not least because of the economic crisis in the western world. The British government, led by Margaret Thatcher, also lost patience with DeLorean, who was increasingly seen as a charlatan.
Still, the most surreal event in all of history happened on October 19, 1982, when DeLorean was caught by the FBI in a Los Angeles hotel buying 100 kilos of cocaine.
After a media trial that lasted more than two months, DeLorean was acquitted – but his reputation was already ruined and the company was never successful again. When “Back to the Future” premiered, the film had no time to save the car model.
In 2019 a film premiered that tells exactly this story in fictional form. “The DeLorean Case” was directed by Nick Hamm (who grew up in Belfast, where the case is well known). It tells the story from the perspective of Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudeikis), DeLorean’s (Lee Pace) neighbor in the US and who was an FBI informant after several years as a criminal. This film is inspired by real facts, but it also mixes up some elements of fiction – not least because not much is known about Hoffman, who disappeared after the DeLorean trial.
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