Author: John Lamm
Originally written in 1981-82 in co-operation with Delorean Motor Company. Stainless Steel Illusion was Re-released in 2003 with an extra chapter
DeLorean: Stainless Steel Illusion Synopsis
Exploring the eight year history of the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) is like reading a fairy tale. Except this tale ends in a broken dream instead of happiness, with the hero carted off to face a possible jail sentence. With the hopes of 2600 Irish workers crushed, with a shaken British government staring at losses that may easily exceed 70 million pounds. How did it happen? What went so wrong so fast after being so incandescently right? Stainless Steel Illusion tells this tale.
What is clear is the step-by-step look at the incredible effort involved in bringing a car to the marketplace, and the extraordinary skill of John DeLorean at bringing together and motivating a highly talented band of engineers, marketeers and financial experts. Included are such tidbits as master stylist Giorgetto Giugiaros’s sketches on Polaroids of the full scale plaster mock up, showing various window treatments. There’s a comparison with the inspiration for it all, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing, and even a brief look at Malcolm Bricklin, whose tent was folding as DeLorean’s star was rising.
Stainless Steel Illusion. Played against the main story line- the DeLorean Sports Car’s transformation from Allstate Insurance vehicle to rear-engine version of the exotic Lotus Esprit-is a personal look at the people inside the DeLorean executive suite through the eyes of former DMC PR Director Mike Knepper, who worked and travelled with John DeLorean for 18 months prior to the layoffs of March 1982. Against the bewildering turn of events which saw DeLorean arrested for allegedly financing a cocaine deal in an attempt to raise money to keep his company afloat, psychologist Dr. Keith Golay offers a penetrating insight into the DeLorean personality which led him, almost inevitably, down this path.
While much of the DeLorean financial history and money-raising efforts are shifting and elusive (as the bankrupt company’s creditors are learning to their dismay as they attempt to determine which corporate shell the pea is under) the factory in northern Ireland is stone, mortar and steel- not the stuff of illusion. Proudly built by local Belfast firms, the five buildings which house a Star Wars style assembly line were a symbol of re-birth. But like their great grandfathers who carved out the invincible Titanic seventy years ago, the workers of Belfast now see the DMC plant going under, ripped open as a cruel and silent iceberg.
This, then, is the story of the DeLorean Motor Company. Story of a dream come true, story of a dream broken, story of success, story of tragedy. This is Stainless Steel Illusion.