“Know what I mean, Vern?” If you’re of a certain age, you did know what Ernest P. Worrell meant. Even if your name wasn’t Vern. A staple of 1980s entertainment, Ernest bumbled across the movie screen and into our hearts, going to camp (1987), jail (1990), saving Christmas (1988), and getting scared stupid (1991). Jim Varney, who played Ernest, was a box office hit. So what did one of the biggest movie stars of the ’80s drive? That’s right, a DeLorean DMC-12. A rather special one, at that.
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What should also have been mentioned was Jim would get into his "Ernest" costume and go to visit children in hospitals. He rally cared about the kids and took the time to help them feel better.
I had never been a big fan of the movies but the time he took for children makes him a hero in my book.
(edit fixed mis-spellings & missing punctuation, some of it at least)
Man, my family watched all of his movies when I was a kid. Good memories. "Ernest Goes to Camp" and "Ernest Scared Stupid" were two favorites. We quoted lines from those movies all the time.
Good article, but unfortunately it’s apparent that several myths of the DeLorean live on.
The car is not slow. It is average compared to other cars from 1981. It had better 0-60 times than a Datsun 280ZX, Mazda RX7, Porsche 924 Turbo, BMW 320i, Mercedes 380SL, and the Ford Mustang GT (it also put out more horsepower than the GT, 320i, and RX7). It’s about 1/2 second slower than the BMW 633 CSI and the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, and about 1.5 seconds slower than a Ferrari 308.
It is not heavy. Since when is 2,700-ish pounds considered heavy for a car? A 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi outweighs the DeLorean by almost 700 pounds, and the Mercedes 380 SL outweighs it by almost 900 pounds. The DeLorean has a fiberglass body clad in a very thin layer of stainless steel.
I think the myths stem from the fact that the DeLorean is heavier and slower than what was originally planned.....but that doesn’t make it heavy or slow. The company had to make concessions in order to start production and turn a profit. The twin turbo would have been their next move, and according to testing done on Long Island in late 1981, it would have blown the doors off the competition.
As for reliability......what can I say? It’s got Lucas electronics. The good news is that all of the problems are well documented and easily fixed. Let’s not forget that the world only ever got the DeLorean 1.0. The company was working to right the wrongs but they simply ran out of time and money. We never got the more polished version that was planned.
2,743 lbs is heavy for a 130 hp car with sporting pretension. It was then too, when cars weren't as burdened with bulk-adding regulations. The 1982 Mustang GT had between 157 and 161 horsepower, depending on the source. It also weighed about the same and was took about 20% less time to reach 60 miles per hour. The 924 Turbo weighed about the same and had 143 horsepower in the US, allowing it to also hit 60 miles per hour about 2 seconds sooner than the DeLorean. I would be surprised if the Delorean is actually faster than the 280ZX or any RX7 with a manual transmission, but I know it was it was priced about 50% higher than the 280ZX Turbo that could do a horizon job on a DeLorean from a standing start. Same with the then-archaic Corvette C3.
I'm not anti-DeLorean, but the fact is that the ones they sold had gull-wing doors and stainless steel bodies. They returned better fuel economy than other sports cars that cost more than seventeen grand(well more in the case of the DeLorean), and they did it by having pedestrian performance. Sending them to Legend Industries for twin-turbo conversions would have added several thousand dollars to the price, putting them into direct competition with the Porsche 911 SC just as it was about to be superseded by the Carrera 3.2, which would have probably still been faster than the twin-turbo DeLorean.
My Boss in Minneapolis had a twin Turbo DeLorean. It was fast (for it's day). I also lived in Peoria Ill and at the local Chevy/DeLorean dealership, the repair shop was full of DeLoreans waiting to be repaired.
Hey, I have an 82 DMC in my car collection and it gets the most attention every time I take it out for a ride. Not the most reliable car every made (but it is now 38 years old), but definitely pegs the cool meter. I just had mine ceramic coated (on the stainless exterior). Cool car with a dedicated following. And thanks for the Ernest connection to the DeLorean. I finally know what you mean, Vern. 🙂
Met and drank with "EPW" while awaiting a connecting flight at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, back in '88. Asked him, "what brings you here?" His response, " **bleep** airplane, whad'ya think!"
Saw an interview with Jim Varney asking him if he gets called Ernest or "Hey Vern" everywhere he goes. He said "Everywhere but the bank. There they call me, "Mr. Varney!" Gotta love that!
Few people are aware of his formal theater training. I recall hearing him recite a passage from Shakespeare, proper inflection, proper English accent and all. A man of many talents.
Love me some Brendan McAleer writing... great tribute to a really good man, Brendan. And if anyone wants to LOL, look up Brendan's Hyundai Pony story... pure gold!
If you are strong enough to keep from falling out of your chair, search for a Tyson Toyota TV commercial titled "Musk Oil and Long Pants". It's got to be one of his best. Bonus, it features a 1984 Supra.
He was a Funny guy , know what I mean vern?
and who writes these articles ?
what the heck is a Toyota 86???
is that a car ?
certainaly not one sold with that name in the states.
Does Hagerty Not know that this article is mainly for American viewers ?
LOL!! I had the same reaction. Had to look it up myself. It actaully is a car. 🙂
I can say that I only grew to appreciate the Earnest character as a college student watching old movies. I was in middle school when he first hit the screens, and my name is VERN, so it was kind of a hard time for me. That's all that I heard in the hallways until I reached 10th grade.
I mean, I'm Canadian, but: https://www.toyota.com/86/
It's Toyota's fault, really. It should have been called the 86 from the start, instead of the FRS and so forth. The name is an homage to the AE86, the "hachiroku", or 1980s Corolla GT-S, which was a pretty decent little car.