DeLorean DMC-21 is a three-wheeled English tilt at the original
For about five years now we’ve been looking for a new DeLorean DMC-12 to emerge from the setting sun over New DeLorean Company headquarters in Hope, Texas. Instead, a man named Ty DeLorean has arrived with a car he calls the DeLorean DMC-21 from the opposite direction, Cornwall, England. And because this English DeLorean is based on a Reliant Rialto, it has only three wheels, which is just the beginning of the surprises.
As Cornwall Live reported, Ty DeLorean claims to be the son of John Z. DeLorean. Ty says that his mother met John Z. when the elder DeLorean was in Northern Ireland in 1981 to work on setting up operations there, and the birds and the bees did what they do. Ty hasn’t provided proof of this, but says he will soon.
That doesn’t explain why Ty got the idea about two years ago to turn a three-wheeled Reliant Rialto into the Rialto’s best impersonation of the DMC-12, but he did. The Rialto was the successor to the Reliant Robin, produced from 1982 to 1998. The Rialto’s been fitted with brushed aluminum panels, remote-controlled gullwing doors, an approximation of the original DeLorean’s interior, and a flux capacitor. Power comes from an 850-cc three-cylinder engine that gets the car up to 100 miles per hour.
Cornwall Live writes that Ty used “original DeLorean plans from 1981.” We’ve read quite a bit of hearsay about the DeLorean-Reliant connection, but we can’t find any evidence that DeLorean planned a three-wheeler. John Z. did hire Barrie Wills, who’d been the supplier manager for the Reliant Rialto, as managing director when DeLorean was setting up its Northern Ireland operation. In a lengthy interview with Car Scene International and in his 2015 book about his time with DeLorean, Wills discusses several potential partnerships DeLorean looked into with British manufacturers like Healey and Triumph. But of the kinds of vehicles Wills mentions DeLorean considering, like a licensed TR7/TR8 and a gullwing sedan, he never mentions the company aiming to take over Reliant nor build anything with three wheels.
Anyway, here we are. Ty DeLorean showed his creation at the British Motor Show in August and says not only did he get an excellent crowd reception, the show invited him back, and he now has five model “in different stages of production.” The British show is also where the Texas-based New DeLorean showed up to serve Ty with legal papers accusing him of trademark infringement and “passing off.” Ty says he has the “full intention of fighting and winning the trademark,” and will submit to a DNA test to prove his origins during the case or shortly after. He’ll be going up against the legal paperwork of Stephen Wynne, the ex-mechanic from Liverpool who bought the DMC trademark and inventory and moved the company to the U.S.
Until everything is settled, Ty says his car can be pre-ordered for £20,000 ($27,416 U.S.), and a portion of that sum will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation. A quick search on AutoTrader UK shows one can buy a 2008 Porsche Cayman with 73,500 miles and still have £4,000 pounds left over for the price Ty wants for his DMC-21. So people will have some hard decisions to make.
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