John Delorean, the General Motors engineer behind the 1960's Pontiac Tempest and GTO, wanted to build his own car that would bear his name. With gull-wing doors and a stainless steel body, it was a rapid departure from the Pontiacs. And, because of 100 million dollar incentives from the British government, America's second sports car would be built in Northern Ireland.
More than 9000 DMC-12's were built in 1982 and '83 but people weren't lining up to buy them. A recession, the lack of a dealer network, and the fact that it was more expensive than America's first sports car, the Corvette, all conspired against Delorean.
Trying to secure the funds needed for his car company to go on, John Delorean was caught in a multi-million dollar drug sting by the FBI. Because of entrapment laws, he was never prosecuted. And the DMC-12 went on to star in the 'Back to the Future' movies.