Saturday, June 18, 2011

1980s Shoot out: DeLorean versus the World.

So, it's Saturday morning, as usual, I am looking at DeLoreans and Ferrari 308's on for sale on eBay.  Starting to actually look at the practical ramifications, I come across an Car and Driver article that I actually remember from 1981:  De Lorean vs. Chevy Corvette, Datsun 280-ZX, Ferrari 308GTS, Porsche 911 - Comparison Tests - or -De Lorean Versus the World: Four on one in a three-round GT title bout. (By Larry Griffin)
As the authors put the *new* DeLorean through its paces, they compare it to four other 1980s dream cars:
  • Corvette
  • Datsun 280-ZX 
  • Ferrari 308 GTS
  • Porsche 911
Predictably, the Ferrari and the Porsche 911 were rated 1 and 2 in the shoot out.  Followed by the 280-ZX, the DeLorean, and lastly, the Vette. A couple of the tastier quotes from the article:

DeLorean DMC-12:

The nose appears a tad high ("the retriever sniffed the air...") and there's some extra space between the tires and the front wheel arches, but the lines are crisp and striking. The only visual problem we can see with the stainless-steel body is that it looks dull, very dull, on cloudy days. But let the sun blaze or the night lights sparkle, and the sheen shines. And when the gull wings reach for the sky and their amber warning lights alert the neighborhood's low-flying Learjets to the new obstacle, all the world's air-traffic controllers, striking or not, couldn't channel the glut of instant onlookers.When they look inside, the lose all control. The original black-leather interior is best saved for the dead-serious souls, but the new pewter-gray one should bring all the special-edition designers in Detroit directly to their knees. It looks wonderful. You fold in and do De Lorean's version of a Nautilus exercise with the tug-down door strap, and all at once They are away in the distance out there and You are gloved in the car.
More than any other car in the test, the De Lorean encloses you, leaves you feeling as though you've sunk into a mammoth beanbag. A few shafts of light enter over the bunker-high cowl and past the thickset A-pillars, the rear roof runners, and a set of those unfortunate matte-black, Venetian-blind slats arrayed behind the back window. 
Datsun 280 ZX Turbo
After the De Lorean, the 280-ZX Turbo is the second most illustrious newcomer on the block...The most important addition to the Datsun's comparatively mundane, if practical, exterior is a dashing set of quadrangularly bladed alloy wheels. Except for these whirling eye-catchers, the Turbo's long suit may be its stealthy ability to blend easily with the madding crowd when faced with police power, something none of our other sports/GT aspirants can do worth ducky dung.
Corvette:  (Still sporting the late 70s curviness)
Your basic Corvette is about as old as the basic Porsche, and in no way as up to date in execution as the charismatic De Lorean. The Corvette huffs and chuffs with cubic inches and preens in a new thirteen-step paint process that adds an overcoat of clear to make its metallic base last longer and shine brighter. But the plastic Chevy's physical persona remains the same: a caricature in fiberglass that looks racy as hell and fits together like something laid up by Prof. Irwin Corey.  
Meantime, you've got all the standardized GM life-of-Riley appurtenances to keep you company when the squeaks, rattles, and lurches over bumpy roads begin to take their toll on your peace of mind. By that time, the semi-dreadful seats (to be replaced by Recaros in 1983) may have cricked your spine to a fare-thee-well. 
But the best quote (keeping in mind this is from 1981) is the from the summary: If De Lorean keeps this up, he could be the only North American besides Henry Ford to leave his mark and his name on this business for the foreseeable future. It's a long row, but John Z. De Lorean is out here hoeing like mad.