We all know parents who sacrificed their sports car the moment kids entered their life, but John Dore wasn’t ready to give up on owning one of the coolest cars ever made: a DeLorean DMC-12. Instead he completely reconfigured the rear of his DeLorean to include a backseat so the kids could enjoy it, too. If that’s not peak Dad skills, I don’t know what is.
The DeLorean may have become famous because of Back to the Future, but Dore’s love for these wild fibreglass and stainless steel cars predated that. The DMC-12 was assembled in Northern Ireland, and Dore is Irish. Not only did DeLorean fandom feel like rooting for the home team, but its sleek retro-future unpainted steel body was unlike anything else on the road.
John couldn’t just get rid of his DeLorean simply because he wanted to start a family of his own. The DMC-12 was too cool, and it meant too much to him. Instead, he took inspiration from a DeLorean sedan concept called the DMC-24 and started researching ways to add a backseat.
Originally, DeLorean wanted to expand its product line. This was before poor sales of the too-unique and too-pricey DMC-12, a widely publicized drug trafficking trial involving company founder John Z. DeLorean, and millions of dollars in debt brought the DeLorean Motor Company to an end. But before all that, the company went so far as to dangle plans in front of investors for badge-engineered Triumphs, buses and off-roaders, all in hopes of raising more capital to keep making cars. The most realistic concept they came up with was one of their earliest ideas: a futuristic sedan called the DMC-24.
Plans for the DMC-24 eventually included a sleek Giugaro-designed gullwing sedan with a full-sized backseat, a turbocharged engine and at one point in the design phase, crazy rear-facing rear seats.
However, Giugaro did an earlier, more conventional sketch of a 2+2 coupe version of the DMC-24 in 1975. The 2+2 had a small but functional backseat for two small humans, common on many other sports cars of the era. In the sketch, the engine was moved further back to make room for the backseat. Sadly, none of the DMC-24s ever entered production, so Dore simply made one of his own based on those 2+2 plans.
“I was always interested in seeing if an existing car could be converted as closely as possible to the 2+2 sketch from the ‘70s,” Dore told Jalopnik via email. “I just wish they had built the car as a 2+2 originally, like the way the Porsche 924 / 944 / 911 / 928 and other cars have small seats for kids.”
Dore, who was living in Ireland at the time he started this project, had access to two things that made all of this feasible. First off, he had a wrecked DeLorean shell that he could hack into without feeling too nervous. Second, he had access to another cool car that also used the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 as the DMC-12: a 1987 Renault Alpine GTA. Importantly, the Alpine’s rear setup is much more compact than the DeLoreans and its PRV V6 sits further back in the car, meaning it would give more room for John’s second row of seats.
Those of you worrying about dismantling another highly enviable, rare 80s sports car, never fear: the Renault Alpine GTA was also a previously crashed car before Dore got its rear running gear.
So, as soon as Dore and his friend PJ Kennedy found that the rear seats could fit inside a modified DMC-12 shell, in went the engine, transmission, rear subframe and rear suspension from Kennedy’s donor Alpine GTA.
A custom chassis had to be built for underneath the car by Dore’s friend Joe Cahill to tie the new Renault parts into the rest of the car. Dore got “DMC24 Prototype” laser cut into part of the chassis as a nod to the car’s inspiration. It’s only visible under the front of the car, kind of like his own easter egg for the build.
Lastly, John got the chassis, rear subframe and rear suspension sandblasted and powdercoated to finish things off.
More than just making the engine sit more towards the rear, the Renault’s rear double-wishbone suspension was more compact than the DMC-12’s long rear trailing arms, which also freed up more room in the middle of the car. This is what really allowed Dore to cut and rebuild the middle of the car’s fibreglass body, getting him the room he needed for those two extra seats.
Everything behind the driver’s seat is custom in this car, from the fibreglass to the rear seats and upholstery. Initially, cloth seats went in to prove the concept, but tan leather upholstery was later chosen to match the original DMC-12 prototype’s interior. A spare DMC badge was added in the middle of the backseat to finish it off. The back seat really looks like it came that way from the factory.
The surprising thing is that the door didn’t have to be modified at all. Turns out, it’s huge enough already to get kids in and out of the backseat without much drama.
It was a slight tight squeeze back there for all 5′ 4″ of me, but most of the squeeze was headroom and legroom. My head definitely hit the ceiling, but the back row is still pretty comfortable for kids. Mission definitely accomplished.
Best of all, it still rides much like a regular DeLorean even with the engine further back. It’s a big comfortable GT car that you want to be seen in, right down to the extra-soft tan leather seats. Even the the biggest haters of the DeLorean’s French/Swedish V6 engine have to appreciate anyone still keeping a DeLorean on the road. It’s one of the most unique cars of all time, and it’s even more special when you can take the whole family along.
The car took Dore ten years to get to its current state, though John was quick to point out that it was an on-off kind of thing. He was interruprted slightly by moving from Ireland to the United States mid-build, for instance, and the project had to move with him. Dore’s to-do list still includes finishing out the fibreglass work around the engine bay, fixing some trim pieces around the shifter and maybe installing some additional sound deadening around the custom cabin.
Even though the kids are getting older and may also find the backseat’s ceiling with their heads soon, the idea of owning the world’s only working DMC-24 is certainly worth the extra work that’s left.
We’re featuring the coolest project cars from across the internet on Build of the Week—some of which now even make it on video! What insane build have you been wrenching on lately? Seen any good build threads we should know about? Drop me a line at stef dot schrader at jalopnik dot com with “Build of the Week” somewhere in the subject line if you’d like to be featured here.