What Engine is in a DeLorean? Unveiling the Iconic Sports Car’s Powertrain

The DMC DeLorean, an iconic sports car from the early ’80s, is renowned for its distinctive stainless steel bodywork and gullwing doors.

At the heart of the DeLorean lies its engine, a characteristic that often sparks curiosity among car enthusiasts and movie fans alike.

We find a PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) V6 engine powering this classic vehicle. It is a 2.8-liter, 90-degree V6 that became the centerpiece of the car’s engineering.

Despite its association with futuristic aesthetics, the DeLorean’s engine is a product of its time, delivering modest performance in contrast to its ambitious design.

What Engine is in a DeLorean? Unveiling the Iconic Sports Car’s Powertrain

This V6 unit was chosen for its compactness and lightweight features, essential for the DeLorean’s rear-engine layout.

Known for being a collaborative effort between the three European automakers, the PRV engine in the DeLorean is fuel-injected, which was a fairly advanced feature at the time of its production.

This engine, mounted in the rear of the vehicle, contributed to the car’s balanced weight distribution but produced only about 130 horsepower and 153 lb-ft of torque, which by today’s standards may seem underwhelming.

Nevertheless, it propelled the DeLorean with sufficient power for its era’s sports car market.

Moreover, the placement of this engine towards the rear end of the car affects not only the driving dynamics but also the vehicle’s serviceability.

Maintenance on the engine requires specific knowledge of its unique configuration.

Enthusiasts and mechanics interested in preserving or servicing a DeLorean must be familiar with the PRV engine’s particularities, from its timing belt system to its cooling measures inherent to its design.

The DeLorean Legacy

In examining the DeLorean’s place in automotive history, we focus on its unique development, standout design, and enduring cultural significance.

History and Development

The vision for the DeLorean stemmed from John DeLorean, a former GM executive who in 1975 initiated the DeLorean Motor Company.

The company’s ambition was crystallized in the form of the DMC-12, a car that featured a rear-mounted engine and aimed to disrupt the sports car market.

Despite its short production run from 1981 to 1983, the DMC-12’s engineering carried the legacy of a Volvo-sourced 2.85-liter V6 engine.

Iconic Design Features

We cannot discuss the DeLorean without admiring its design by Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The stainless steel body and gull-wing doors set the DMC-12 apart from its contemporaries.

These design features were not just for show; they contributed to the vehicle’s aerodynamics and allowed for more straightforward entry in tight spaces, proving that form could indeed follow function.

Cultural Impact

Our collective memory of the DeLorean solidified when it starred as a time machine in the “Back to the Future” film series.

This role elevated the car to an iconic status, intertwining it with 1980s pop culture.

The DeLorean’s image became synonymous with innovation and an emblem of the era, cementing its place in entertainment history.

Technical Specifications

In this segment, we focus on the engine that powers the DeLorean, its aerodynamic design, and the intricacies of its transmission system, exploring how these components harmonize to create its unique driving experience.

Engine and Performance

The prime mover of the DeLorean DMC-12 is a rear-mounted Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) 2.8-liter V6 engine.

We witness a power output of approximately 130 horsepower and torque around 153 lb-ft.

This is the source of its respectable performance figures, propelling the vehicle to achieve a modest top speed.

It’s important to note that even though the horsepower might seem limited by today’s standards, it was quite adequate for the sports cars of the early ’80s era.

Dimensions and Aerodynamics

The DMC DeLorean is not just known for its gull-wing doors, but also for its dimensions that contribute to its aerodynamic silhouette.

The overall width of the car is approximately 78.3 inches, with a wheelbase measuring 94.8 inches.

These dimensions aid in providing stability at higher speeds, while its weight distribution contributes to its handling characteristics.

Transmission and Drivetrain

Our DeLorean sports a manual transmission, offering the engagement and control preferred by enthusiasts of its time.

Alternatively, an automatic transmission was also available for those who valued convenience.

The drivetrain, coupled with the rear engine, uniformly transmits power to the rear wheels, essential for its performance and fuel efficiency.

The manual gearbox couples well with the engine, exemplifying the classic sports car driving experience.

Specifications Engine Details Transmission Type
Engine Type V6 Manual/Automatic
Displacement 2849 cm3 / 173.9 cu-in  
Horsepower 130 hp  
Torque 153 lb-ft  
Wheelbase 94.8 inches  
Width 78.3 inches  

Ownership Experience

When purchasing a DeLorean, understanding the intricacies of owning such an iconic vehicle is essential. This section will guide you through buying, maintaining, and finding community support.

Buying Guide

DeLoreans are unique classics, and purchasing one requires attention to detail.

Check for originality and ensure the Volvo-sourced 2.85-liter V6 engine is in good condition.

Prices can vary, so we recommend thoroughly researching current market values.

Remember, California and Texas have active retail markets, with entities like the modern DeLorean Motor Company providing quality assurance.

Maintenance and Upgrades

Owning a DeLorean means dedicating oneself to meticulous care.

The engine may require attention for optimum performance, while parts availability is surprisingly robust thanks to suppliers like Stephen Wynne’s DeLorean Motor Company.

Upgrades can breathe new life into these classics, with warranty options sometimes available to safeguard your investments.

Community and Support

The DeLorean owner’s community is a wellspring of knowledge and camaraderie.

Engaging with fellow enthusiasts can provide invaluable tips on maintenance and personal experiences with upgrades.

Support from local clubs often extends into events and gatherings, deepening your connection to the DeLorean legacy.

  • Check engine condition and originality when buying.
  • Market values fluctuate; research is crucial.
  • Maintenance can be straightforward with the right parts and knowledge.
  • Upgrades are available, and community support is robust.
💡 Pro Tip: Joining a DeLorean community can greatly enhance the ownership experience through shared knowledge and resources.

Influence and Evolution

We recognize the DeLorean DMC-12 as a symbol of the ambitious energy that defined American sports cars of its era. It’s a narrative interwoven with technological innovation and a creator’s bold vision.

Automotive Influence

The DeLorean — a creation of John Z. DeLorean, the maverick automotive executive — was brought to life through a collaboration with Lotus and Northern Ireland’s skilled workforce.

The DeLorean’s rear-mounted PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) V6 engine was underpowered, which muted the excitement expected from a sports car.

Key Automotive Influence Points:
  • The DeLorean’s gull-wing doors and stainless-steel body were ahead of their time.
  • Despite its uniqueness, the performance didn’t match its futuristic design.

Future Outlook

Our future outlook sees the DeLorean’s legacy as one balancing between classic inspiration and modernization.

Modifying the DeLorean with engines like a turbo Honda powerplant hints at what could have been and what might still come.

Reinvention of classic cars speaks to our desire to preserve the past, yet improve upon it.

Aspects Critical to the DeLorean’s Continuing Legacy:
  • Engine swaps offer power that aligns better with its sports car persona.
  • Environmental considerations may bring electric powertrains into focus.

The economic downturn of the era, including the recession and John Z. DeLorean’s bankruptcy, halted further development.

Our attention now turns to how contemporary engineering can revive this icon, transcending its original challenges.

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