The fact that there can be so much drama today about a company that lasted only about three years, went out of business 40 years ago, and only made 9,000 examples of a single car is astounding. But nothing associated with the name DeLorean has ever been boring or predictable — not the man, not his cars, not his legacy. The DeLorean universe has taken another turn with the arrival of a company called DeLorean Next Generation Motors (DNG) that created the car you see above, the Model JZD. That initialism stands for John Zachary DeLorean, the name of the man that started all this. Even wilder, DeLorean's daughter Kat DeLorean Seymour is the nucleus of DNG.
First, the Model JZD. The company's website says it was designed by Angel Guerra and Allan Portilho as a tribute to the DMC-12, the original stainless steel coupe. Kat apparently saw the design and asked Angel and Allan to join her in getting DNG going.
There isn't much to know about the JZD yet because the creators are still working through the answers. For instance, it was designed with an electric drivetrain in mind, but that's now being weighed against an internal combustion drivetrain. What we have learned is that some of the original DMC-12 engineers will be contributing to this car's development. What we see is a sleek design that hews close to the forebear with two gullwing doors in an unabashedly coupe form and just two seats. We like it a lot.
That compares to the elongated form and four seats in the Alpha5 concept, a car that helped cause the creation of DNG. For context, we should explain that the DeLorean family no longer has anything to do with any of the DeLorean companies we're usually talking about. DeLorean Motor Company based in Love, Texas, and now going by Classic DMC, was founded by a gentleman who started a parts company servicing the DMC-12 and eventually bought the rights to the company name. We wrote about Classic DMC for years as it tried to put a resurrected DMC-12 on the roads, shelving the project when the NHTSA took nearly seven years to finalize rules for turnkey replicas. The delay led to the creation of DeLorean Reimagined (DLR), based in San Antonio. That company has a relationship with Classic DMC but no official ties. DeLorean Reimagined released the Alpha5 concept at Pebble Beach this summer, a battery-electric GT making nods to the DMC-12 while clearly not being a new DMC-12.
Kat had strong words for the DLR leadership even before the Alpha5 reveal, and she put those words on Instagram. She told the San Antonio Current newspaper more recently, "The legacy of John DeLorean came into question after some recent events, and in order to correct the path of history, the car industry reached out to me in an effort to create something really special."
Turns out that Karma Automotive has strong words for the DeLorean Reimagined team, too, but is sharing those words in court. After Pebble Beach, Karma sued the Alpha5 makers over alleged corporate malfeasance. The DLR leadership had all worked together at Karma. According to court docs, Karma had the execs in charge of finding funding for a DeLorean revival joint venture with Karma internals. Karma alleges the team whipped up funding and decided to start their own DeLorean business separate from Karma, then stole Karma intellectual property to apply to their new venture. It could be awhile before we see the Alpha5.
It will also be awhile before we see the JZD as a finished product. DNG says it's working on a show version now, expected to be finished in January 2023. The public debut for the JZD is expected at the end of next year. Kat — whose day job is cybersecurity engineer — says the car and company will showcase "the principles John DeLorean believed in such as quality, safety, longevity, and affordability."
We haven't heard the word "affordable" in a while. If DNG can get a production car on the road that looks like the one above and make it old-school five-figure affordable, not "new normal" six-figure affordable, sign us up.