John Z DeLorean
- Category : Engineer-Mechanical
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 4
American engineer, auto manufacturer and General Motors executive. A boy wonder in Detroit, he became the center of a tangled take of cars, cash and cocaine.
He was born the eldest of four sons to immigrant Zachary De Lorean, a Ford foundry worker in Detroit. His mother was unhappy in the marriage and took her sons with her as she moved to California. As a child, John went back and forth between his parent's homes in California and Michigan. He studied at Lawrence Institute of Technology in Michigan and received an engineering degree. While working in the auto industry he earned his MA in engineering, an MBA degree and started a law degree. In 1956, De Lorean got a job as engineer at General Motor's Pontiac division and chief engineer in 1961. Four years later he became the general manager of the entire GM division and in another four years, the head of GM's Chevrolet division. In 1974, De Lorean left his position as the GM's chief of North American Operations. Leaving behind his $650,000 vice-presidency salary, De Lorean decided it was time to start his own car company.
De Lorean was a maverick in the Detroit auto industry. He had increased GM profits by sales, engineering and marketing. Now he wanted to pursue his own dreams by building a high-priced specialty car. In 1978, he founded the De Lorean Motor Company near Belfast, Ireland and in January 1981, his first DMC-12 rolled off the assembly line to the car buying public for $25,000. It had a sleek sports car design with unusual gull-wing doors. The car became immortalized in the films, "Back to the Future" and "Back to the Future II." Unfortunately, De Lorean was finding it difficult to raise capital to continue to produce his car. He became desperate for money. On 10/19/1982, he was arrested in Los Angeles by the FBI and charged with trafficking in cocaine. At 57, De Lorean was sitting in a federal prison waiting for his trial. In England, the government that helped to finance De Lorean's car plant closed it down on bankruptcy charges. In 1984, De Lorean was acquitted in the drug trafficking case but he continued to be plagued by litigation problems.
In 1985 he wrote his autobiography, "De Lorean" to help raise funds. In 1989, the 64 year-old car manufacturer was planning to raise capital to start a new car company.
De Lorean is a driven man who discovered that he could not enjoy such simple pleasures as golf or bridge because he became too competitive to win absolutely. He married his first wife, Elizabeth Higgens in 1950 and divorced 15 years later. He then married Kelly Harmon, the 20-year-old daughter of football player Tom Harmon, in 1966 and they divorced three years later. He dated many Hollywood actresses such as Ursula Andress, Candice Bergen, and Nancy Sinatra. In 1972, he met model Cristina Ferrare at a Beverly Hills Gucci party. She moved into his Michigan home and they later married.
The De Lorean's lived a wealthy lifestyle. At one time they owned a 20-room, $7.2 million Fifth Avenue duplex in Manhattan, 440-acre 3.5 million New Jersey estate, and a $4 million ranch in California. The couple had two children, Zachary and Kathryn. Cristina was a devoted mother who loved to entertain friends and family at home by cooking her own Italian dishes. She stood by her husband when he was charged in Los Angeles for drug trafficking, accused of trying to sell 220 lbs. of cocaine, but when the trial was over, she divorced her husband and re-married Tony Thomopoulos.
At one time during his financial crisis De Lorean consulted a palm reader. While in jail, he became a Christian and now donates his time to Church projects and charity events. When De Lorean was frantically looking for investors in his car company he was taking Seconal, sleeping pills, and drinking 15 cups of coffee a day. He states strongly that he never used cocaine.
He died of a stroke on March 19, 2005 in Summit, NJ. He was 80 years old.