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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Johnny Carson's DeLorean just sold for $115,000 | Hagerty Media

The DeLorean DMC-12 is one of the most recognizable collector cars in the world thanks to its fictional, on-screen achievements, but this particular car-which just sold for $115,000 on Bring a Trailer, premium included-earned its high price through real-life connections.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/auctions/johnny-carsons-delorean-just-sold-for-115000/
10 REPLIES 10
JohnU71
New Driver

What exactly were the five interior colors? There was only black or gray.
Grace
Hagerty Employee

I wrote that based off an October, 1979 NYT article which says that DeLorean originally intended to offer blue, black, grey, burgundy, and tan. Thanks for the note - have updated the story to clarify! Here's the link, in case you're curious: https://www.nytimes.com/1979/10/28/archives/the-200-million-car-delorean.html
Saab96er
New Driver

Couldn’t help noticing the tach is almost pegged at around 6K. The key and other gauges look to be off. Perhaps a bad ground to the instrument cluster? Might explain Carson losing his battery early on to a charging issue associated with a bad exciter or diode in the alternator? Hmmmm... I have an ‘81 VW Rabbit Convertible with very similar gauges to the DMC-12 and they do this all the time. That car is rife with grounding issues! Or was this a “feature” from the factory to make the car look like it was almost redlining all the time?
DaveA
Intermediate Driver

That’s just a function of the design of the gauges. They “jump” when the vehicle is turned off. It’s normal.
deloreanguy
New Driver

For the record, a dead battery will NOT prevent the doors from locking or unlocking, nor will it prevent the doors from opening. The doors themselves do not rely on any electrical components to open or close. The central door locking system, which is electrical, reverts to manual operation in the absence of a 12V power source.

Carson was stuck in an earlier production DeLorean that was loaned when the doors jammed, but this was unrelated to any electrical fault. Rather it was likely a combination of an early production door made on "soft" tooling, the absence of the "door guides" that were fitted to later cars and a poor fitting door.
DaveA
Intermediate Driver

You are correct about the door lock mechanism. It can operate electronically or mechanically, and will work just fine without electricity.
Having said that, it is possible to get stuck because of an electrical problem. The central lock module can inadvertently send a constant “lock” signal to the door lock solenoids. This would be very difficult to overcome manually, as the solenoids are strong. However, as the battery (or the solenoid) wore out, you’d eventually be able to manually unlock the door.
You could also disconnect the door lock module, or the battery. My door lock module was removed long ago to prevent this.
deloreanguy
New Driver

The electrical tach - an AC Delco produced part, as was the entire instrument cluster - will "rest" pretty much anywhere with the key off. Turning the key "on" will return it to zero until the car is started.
drhino
Instructor

Imagine a Carnac bit...
(Putting the envelope to his head): “There’s a sucker born every minute”
(Reading the card after opening the envelope): “What do you say when you hear someone paid $115,000 for a DeLorean?”
spoom
Technician

heyyyyyyy-ohhhhhh!

jbarone01
Pit Crew

As the long time owner of a 1982 DeLorean, I can say that it is still one of the more "interesting" collector cars out there. It was not without some mechanical issues while I have owned it, but it still draws the most attention at local car shows. People will literally take cell phone pictures of it while I am driving down the highway (I own other collector cars and that never happens with them). The cat is iconic and the magic starts when the stainless Gull Wing doors open.
My wife and I have taken it to many parades over the years; we like to throw candy to the small children from it and it always get very appreciative comments. The engine and drive train (V-6 engine and 5 speed manual transmission) are just lively enough to enjoy it for spirited driving (But it is not a muscle car and does not have Super Car performance). Just driving is enough of a good experience for and maintenance parts are readily available from DMC in Texas. Definitely worth adding one of these 39 year cars to your collection. The DeLorean stainless steel styling and awesome looks are timeless. It was a car made before its time.