John DeLorean

Born Jan 6, 1925

John Zachary DeLorean was an American engineer and executive in the U.S. automobile industry, most notably with General Motors, and founder of the DeLorean Motor Company. He was best known for developing the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix, and the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, which was later featured in the 1985 film Back to the Future, and for his high profile 1982 arrest on charges of drug trafficking.… Read More

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1925 Birth John Zachary DeLorean was born on January 6, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan, the eldest of four sons of Zachary and Kathryn (née Pribak) DeLorean. … Read More


1942 17 Years Old DeLorean's parents divorced in 1942. … Read More
1943 18 Years Old World War II interrupted his studies. In 1943, DeLorean was drafted for military service and served three years in the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge. … Read More


1948 23 Years Old While back in college, he worked part-time at Chrysler and at a local body shop, foreshadowing his later contributions to the automotive industry. DeLorean graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. … Read More
1952 27 Years Old He briefly attended the Detroit College of Law, but did not graduate. In 1952, DeLorean graduated from the Chrysler Institute with a master's degree in Automotive Engineering and joined Chrysler's engineering team. … Read More
1954 29 Years Old 1 More Event
While still a profitable company, Packard suffered alongside other independents as it struggled to compete when Ford and General Motors engaged in a price war. James Nance, President of Packard, decided to merge the company with Studebaker Corporation in 1954. … Read More


1956 31 Years Old In 1956 DeLorean accepted a $16,000 salary offer with a bonus program, choosing to work at GM's Pontiac division as an assistant to chief engineer Pete Estes and general manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen. … Read More
1961 36 Years Old DeLorean's years of engineering at Pontiac were highly successful, producing dozens of patented innovations for the company, and in 1961 he was promoted to the position of division chief engineer. … Read More
1964 39 Years Old The GTO debuted as a Tempest/LeMans option package with a larger, more powerful engine in 1964. … Read More


1965 40 Years Old 1 More Event
DeLorean received almost total credit for the success of the "first muscle car", singularly responsible for conceptualizing, engineering, and the marketing – becoming the singular golden boy of Pontiac, and was rewarded with his 1965 promotion to head the entire Pontiac division. … Read More
1966 41 Years Old In response to the "pony car" market dominated by the wildly successful Ford Mustang, DeLorean turned to the 14th Floor for permission to offer a smaller version of the Pontiac Banshee Show car for 1966. … Read More
…  Even as General Motors experienced revenue declines, Pontiac remained highly profitable under DeLorean, and despite his growing reputation as a corporate maverick, on February 15, 1969 he was again promoted. … Read More
1970 45 Years Old In a Motor Trend interview August, 1970 DeLorean said, "Vega will be the highest quality product ever built by Chevrolet." … Read More
1972 47 Years Old In 1972, DeLorean was appointed to the position of vice president of car and truck production for the entire General Motors line, and his eventual rise to president seemed inevitable.
However, the idea of him assuming that position was almost intolerable to GM executives, and on April 2, 1973, he announced that he was leaving the company, telling the press "I want to do things in the social area. … Read More


1982 57 Years Old 1 More Event
After going into receivership in February 1982, DMC produced another 2,000 cars until John DeLorean's arrest in late October, at which point liquidation proceedings were undertaken and the factory was seized by the British government for good. … Read More
1984 59 Years Old …  DeLorean was found not guilty on August 16, 1984, but by then DMC had already collapsed into bankruptcy and DeLorean's reputation as a businessman was irrevocably tarnished. … Read More


1985 60 Years Old 1 More Event
His third marriage was to model Cristina Ferrare (with whom he had a daughter on November 15, 1977), ending in divorce in 1985.
1994 - 1999 2 More Events
2000 75 Years Old He was forced to sell his 434-acre estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, in 2000. … Read More
He was married to Sally Baldwin until his death in 2005. … Read More
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