Since the days of "Back to the Future" many have dreamed of a Delorean that went as good as it looked, but due to the vastly underwhelming PRV V6's measly 130hp it remained just a dream for most. Throughout the years since a few have tried to swap a multitude of powerplants from LS v8s to electric motors, but none truly delivered the dream of a fast (and reliable) DMC-12.
While on vacation in Vietnam with his wife, our own Ferrari Steve realized he knew just how to achieve that dream. As soon as he got home he went straight to Jake Motorcars here in San Diego and bought the Delorean Jake had sitting in his yard for years. The car didn't run and hadn't been registered since 1999, but Steve knew the extra Kia Stinger V6 he had at his shop was the perfect engine to build a fast and reliable DMC. The engine had previously been used to power a drift car and had proven both powerful and reliable.
A few days later the Delorean was delivered to our shop on a tow truck and it just so happened that our good friend and customer Nick Reid was at the shop in that moment. Upon seeing the car Nick's inner child emerged and he just had to know everything we had planned for it. As soon as he heard and realized the dream of a fast Delorean was possible, he had to have it and told Steve he'd pay to have it built.
The first step we decided to take was to get the original PRV engine working if we could and upgrade the brakes and suspension so that we didn't have to worry about them later. With Nick wanting to keep as much of the OEM look as possible he bought an extra set of 15 in DMC rear wheels for the front and Steve used Ferrari 355 calipers with AP racing rotors to significantly increase the stopping power of the car. Nick also bought some KW coilovers for the car to lower it and fix the horrendous wheel gap. With these items sorted Steve made the PRV run again and Nick was able to drive the car home.
With the car out of the shop Steve began to plan out making the Stinger engine fit and work in the car. The first thing he made was an all aluminum intake manifold with inboard port injection fuel rails. At this stage we began to collect some of the necessary parts, including two Garrett G25 660 turbochargers, a Porsche 996.2 transmission with a LSD, an upgraded ACT clutch, and a DTA fast s80 ECU. Equipped with both engine and transmission Steve began work on a custom aluminum adapter plate to mate them together. Once that task was complete Martin was able to make modifications to the crossmember to fit the engine and fabricate new engine mounts.
With the engine mounted Martin began work on mounting the much larger aftermarket radiator. New aluminum lines were fitted that were bigger in diameter that the factory lines to allow for substantially more water flow. Up next for the car was the exhaust manifold, with a modern internal 3-1 collector inside the head of the engine, Martin only had to make a single tubed header for each side. The short single tube header was made of 321 Stainless steel and mounted to a Garrett G25 660 on each side. With the turbos mounted started to work on the exhaust, and with direction from Steve to make a merged exhaust for a smoother idle.
The full stainless steel exhaust came out beautifully and it was time to begin work on the fueling system for the car. It had been agreed upon early to keep the factory gas tank, however all of the fuel lines had to be upgraded to account for e85 and stop corrosion from occurring. Martin fabricated a 1 gallon surge tank to ensure consistent fuel supply to the large 1600 CC Denso injectors. Steve and Martin pressure tested the new fuel system and then started research on intercoolers.
After some deliberation Martin and Steve decided to go with Bell Intercooler cores thanks to their easily customizable sizing options. With small but rather thick air/air cores we knew we could fit them in the space available if we machined aluminum end-tanks for them. Steve designed the end-tanks and quickly machined them in house out of 6061 Aluminum; at the same time Steve had to make a Y from the intake manifold to go to the two side intercoolers. Once both end-tanks and the Y was done the engine was fully dissembled so Steve could do his work on the internals of the engine.
Internally the Kia engine was kept stock, but from the outset of the project Steve knew he didn't want to keep the variable cam timing. Steve knew that variable cam timing changes the sound of the engine and that to achieve the sound he wanted non-variable cam timing was the only way to go. He had to make some new pieces to replace the stock Kia cam variators. Once the cam parts were made Steve set the cam timing himself, based loosely on the Ferrari principles he'd come to know. The engine was fully assembled and put back into the car again and now Martin did finally assembly of the car for its first run.
Once the car was fully assembled Steve hooked up his laptop and the car ran for the first time. Baseline tuning followed suit and soon the car was ready to hit the dyno. The car was towed to the dyno and put down an impressive 486 whp on early tuning. After putting down impressive numbers Nick was able to take the car home and put miles on the car. The Dream had come true!
Now with us able to put miles on the car, we could iron out any and all tuning kinks and get the car to the point of being turn key. With some testing we quickly realized quickly just how fast this car truly was, unofficially setting a new Delorean record with a 11.4 1/4 at 124 mph!! Not only was it extremely fast but it drove surprisingly nice and comfortable.
After the task of making it run properly was completed we decided it was time to move forward with our initial plans to sell this dream car to someone else. The first part of selling a modified car is marketing, you have to make sure the people who are interested know the high quality of the build and the turn key nature of which it runs. Naturally we continued to make our own videos of the car but knew that alone would not be sufficient. The first people we talked to was an old friend, Matt Farah, who we had made videos before on other builds. Mr. Farah gave a glowing review upon driving the car and seem to truly enjoy the experience.
After the Smoking Tire video we followed through on an invitation to take the car to Monterey car week and showcase the car at the prestigious Quail Motorsports Gathering. The car garnered lots of attention in a very fitting class called "Cars of Curiosity", but more than that the car survived more that 1600 miles of driving from San Diego CA, to Monterey CA and back. The car had no major issues (except a broken passenger door handle) and made it back home running great.
Now at home the Kia powered dream Delorean was able to relax for a whole two days before we drove it another 350 miles to Santa Margarita Ranch for it to be featured on This Vs That. We had a blast filming the episode, getting to race the 1000whp AWD Halo Warthog. Even though we "lost" it was fun and continued to get exposure for the car and continued to showcase the amazing reliability of the Stinger v6.
A few weeks later both videos aired and the car was more popular then ever before. It was time to sell. In short order the car was listing for auction on the Bring a Trailer car auctioning website. The car ended up selling for $243,000 a record for a Delorean (non movie car)!! We were unbelievably ecstatic. Not only did we make good money but we proved to the world and to ourselves that our work was high quality and worth the time and money.
That is the story of building a Dream 500 horsepower Delorean and I hope now that Mike in Florida can enjoy the car for many years to come.