Monday, March 17, 2008

DeLorean Vendors/Resources

As a DeLorean owner, the replacement parts situation for these quarter century old cars, is actually surprisingly good. Below I will cover the vendor resources, and specifically the ones that I have had positive dealings with. (Links to the vendors are on the subtitles.)

DeLorean Motor Company (DMC)
DeLorean reference literature states that the when the factory was started, they built up a sizable inventory of parts, and that by the time the factory unexpectedly closed, the inventory (incomplete cars and parts) was eventually bought out. As a result of this purchase the remaining parts were moved from Ireland to a warehouse in Ohio, where it sat for many years, and was a pre-Internet source for parts.

A second entrepreneur, who also bought the rights to the DeLorean name, eventually bought the whole lot (parts only by this time) from the Ohio location, and as a result today we have the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC, based in Houston, Texas). DMCH gas grown and expanded and today has full parts, service, and DeLorean sales centers in 5 states, and another in Europe. They have expanded by starting regional offices, as well as incorporating previously independent DeLorean specific shops/businesses/vendors. The cars that they sell are either on consignment, refurbished, or remanufactured (car is stripped and built as if new).

In late 2007, they announced that they would start building “new” DeLoreans (based on existing unused parts). Prices start in the high $50K, and can go up to the $70K range depending on options such as updated/upgraded amenities including but not limited to a higher performance modified original engines. As an owner, their website in incredibly useful, in that nearly all the parts for these cars on pictured, and shown in diagram in context to where they are utilized.

DMC Florida
Here in Florida we have one of those regional centers: DMC Florida, in Naples. I’ve taken my car there for a few things that I was incapable of doing myself, and found a professional, friendly, and capable staff there. My car has always left better than when I drove it in. You can call them for a quote on labor rates, and I think (unless things have changed) their rates are not that far off from a new car dealer’s service center, but you should weigh that against the fact that you are going to a place that knows your car inside and out better than any local mechanic.

DeLorean Parts Northwest (aka DMC Northwest)
As DMC Northwest, they have expanded into sales and service. The operations is run by a husband and wife team. Even though they are now part of the larger DMC franchise, DPNW retains their original website (link above) which features some unique, custom engineered solutions for our cars. They are most well known for a door launcher kit, which opens the gull wing doors remotely. I’ve seen clips of this, and a local owner has them, and it is very, very cool. (Your doors need to freely swing up by themselves, to have this work correctly.)

DMC Europe
The DMC affiliation in Europe is in The Netherlands. They are the DMC answer for Europe’s ever growing DeLorean owners (the current weak dollars, has cause lots of US DeLorean to be purchased for overseas). What is neat about this site is that they have some unique products not found here in the states (e.g., polyurethane bushing, shocks, springs, lug nuts), that are currently cost prohibitive to purchase here (weak dollar), especially when you add overseas shipping costs.

DMC Others
I am sure the other DMC affiliations/locations (Illinois, California, New York) have their own fans and expertise; it is not reflection that they are not covered here,  it is just that I have little to add since I have not dealt much with them.

Henninger & Associates
They offer a mix of (limited) existing and some unique parts.

Pearce Design Components
Unique stainless parts, including the Permaframe, a completely stainless steel frame replacement. Reminder to self: play the lotto.

Special T Auto
And last but certainly not least on this list, is one of the last independent wide part selection DeLorean vendors, Special T Auto, based out of Texas. This surpsingly is a one person operation, and he specializes in lower cost, often newer cross referenced parts, and unique/improved parts. What makes him also unique and an asset to the DeLorean community is his availability; he nearly always responds to a direct phone call to support his sales, including post sales/tech related questions. I also think his website is very good, with many reference pictures, and well categorized – I have learned a lot on his site and still do when I go to unexplored pages.

Caveat
My only caveat, with the whole parts and vendors situation is frankly silly, but real. I am not the only one who has ever felt this, but owners are sometimes placed in the middle of a “Why didn’t you buy the parts from me?” scenario between the vendors. Let’s not be na├»ve, the question being asked is understood from a business point of view, but the vendors should expect neither blind allegiance nor similarly should the owners expect repercussions because of options available.

Summary
Although there are a few parts that are not available as new old stock anymore (but available as used, or through part-ed out cars), the vast majority still are available as NOS, or are available as a cross reference, from the vendors above. This really makes D ownership much less stressful, practical, and even economical.

Support these vendors, and you are supporting the future of these cars.

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