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Found: 24-carat gold De Lorean made in Belfast at the height of the Troubles

By Colin O'Carroll

Published 16/09/2013

Just three gold DeLorean models were built
Just three gold DeLorean models were built

A gold-plated DeLorean, one of only three ever made, has turned up in a dusty garage in the US after going missing for years.

The 24-carat version of the legendary car dropped out of sight after it was made in the early 1980s at the DeLorean factory in Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast.

The other two are known to be in museums in the United States, one in Los Angeles and one in Nevada, with this third example – which has just 642 miles on the clock – the only one in private hands.

It is hard to credit that at a time when the Troubles were raging and unemployment rife, a gold car was being built in Belfast

Now the lost car coated in precious metal has surfaced in a remote part of the state of Maryland owned by an octogenarian collector who has had it under a dust sheet in his garage since 1999.

Carl Winters bought the gleaming sportscar after seeing it advertised in a newspaper.

He told his wife "kid, pack your bags, we're going to get it".

Apart from the occasional display at local shopping centres, the gold DMC has not moved since and is in mint condition. Now Mr Winters plans to sell it and with gold prices at an all-time high, plus the car's rarity, the price has shot up as fast as the flux capacitor in Back To The Future movie.

It's thought to have first sold for $25,000, or around £16,000, but Mr Winters said he thinks it could now be worth up to $500,000 (£320,000).

The DeLorean DMC-12 took the motoring world by storm with its innovative rust-proof stainless steel body and gullwing doors when it was first produced.

It then went on to gain worldwide fame and become a popular icon when it featured as the time machine in the blockbuster Back To The Future series of films.

The gold car was made during a special process at the Dunmurry plant and was meant to be one of a series of 100.

A special process had to be developed to coat the cars with gold, including the workers having to wear special overalls with no buttons or exposed zips so they would not scratch them.

There were also problems with removing stains on the gold plate and keeping the windows and other glass in place. Heavier suspension also had to be fitted to deal with the extra weight.

The trio were produced at a time when the plant was running into difficulties and violence raged outside the factory gates.

Soon afterwards the manufacturer was shut down following the allegations of owner John DeLorean's drug-smuggling activities.

The British Government, which had poured money into the project as a cross-community economic initiative, pulled its financing and despite DeLorean later being cleared, that was the end of the marque.

DeLorean aficionados now hold conventions all over the world and cars sell for many times their original price – largely thanks to the hit movie as well as the car's unique construction and the legend of the Belfast factory.

Belfast Telegraph

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