John Zachary De Lorean was an extraordinary American inventory, engineer and execute in the automobile industry. He is widely known for being the founder of the De Lorean Motor Company and for his work at General Motors. His taste and non-conformity are what lead him to become the president of General Motors. Check out more info on Scott Cooper Miami to find out more.

Early Days

Born on 6th January, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan, John De Lorean was the eldest of four sons. His father was a Romanian who was from Austria-Hungary, or Romania of today. He worked at mill factory before moving to the United States. John’s father had been working as a union organizer for Ford Motor Company when John was born. Due to a lack of education and poor English skills, Zachary was not able to find higher-paid work. He even worked as a carpenter occasionally.

John’s mother was a Hungarian who worked at General Electric. While, his father had violent tendencies, the kids were taken to live with their aunt in LA, California. Becoming an estranged drug addict, John saw little of his father.

Preference for Electrical Engineering

De Lorean has a passion for electrical engineering and he had signed up for an electrical curriculum in his technical high school of Cass Technical. He was one of the honor students who showed great talent in school and excelled in his studies.

Musical Talents

John was a man of many talents and one of his talents was music. It is due to this reason that he had been granted a scholarship to study at the Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. It is here that John showed his prowess for industrial engineering and had even been elected to become a part of the honor society.

Drafted for Military Service

Due to the Second World War, John’s studies were interrupted as he was drafter for military service in 1943. De Lorean served in the US Army for three years and was even given an honorable discharge. Upon his return, he found his family to be in economic difficulty and had to work for the Public Lighting Commission as a draftsman and it is after this that he returned to complete his degree at Lawrence.

Once back in college, John took up a job at a local body shop and Chrysler part-time which can be said to have cemented his desire for being a part of the automotive industry.

Young Genius

John De Lorean did not immediately join the engineering workforce after having completed his studies. Instead, he sold life insurance and even went on to develop an analytical system which targeted engineers and ended up selling about $850,000 worth of policies within just 10 months according to various sources. However, John found the job to be quite boring.

It is due to this reason that he moved to Factory Equipment Corporation for work. According to the autobiography written by De Lorean, it is through selling life insurance that he truly improved his communication skills.

Working for General Motors, De Lorean was always in sync with his times. He disliked the bureaucracy at GM and found it to be rather stifling. After leaving GM and establishing his own car company, John was in motion for turning his wheel of fate around and rising to the top of the industry. However, within less than a decade, he derailed to the bottom.

Managed Number of Vehicle Developments

De Lorean managed several vehicle developments through his career, including the Chevrolet Cosworth Vega, Pontiac Grand Prix, Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac GTO Muscle Car and the De Lorean Sports Car which had been later modified to be featured in the film, Back to the Future in 1985.


Although, De Lorean was the youngest division head at General Motors, he was also one of the most ambitious and it is due to this reason that he broke away from the company to start his own De Lorean Motor Company in the year 1973.

First Car

John De Lorean was to launch his first car, the De Lorean independent creative plus, but it was not able to reach the market due to production delays. Only after 8 years, in 1981, the De Lorean first model reached the consumer market. The depressed buying market churned out lukewarm reviews. After just a year, the De Lorean had failed to even recoup about $175 million for investment costs. The unsold cars only kept on accumulating and it lead to the company suffering from dire financial constraints.

Charged With Cocaine Trafficking

It was in the October of 1982 that De Lorean was charged for cocaine trafficking after a confidential FBI informant and former neighbor, James Hoffman told about his scheme of being a financier and selling 220 pounds of cocaine that was worth about $24 million. During that time, DMC had become insolvent and was in debt for approximately $117 million.

When Hoffman approached John De Lorean, someone he had barely known and had no prior criminal history, and being fully aware of the financial circumstances, De Lorean managed to successfully defend himself during the trial under police entrapment for the procedural defense. Hence, the trail ended with De Lorean in being given a not guilty verdict in the August of 1984. During this time, DMC was already in bankruptcy.

Personal Bankruptcy

In the year of 1999, John declared bankruptcy after the collapse of De Lorean Motor Company and having fought 40 legal cases. He even had to sell his 434 acres estate in 2000 at New Jersey. Donald Trump purchased this real estate and converted it to a golf course.


De Lorean suffered from a stroked and died at the Overlook Hospital in New Jersey on 19th March, 2005. At an age of 80, John’s death impacted the entire US automobile industry. John is a legend in the automobile industry. He has changed the industry in one way or another. There is a lot that can be learned from him.