Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (2024)

* COTW HQ, 6:00PM *

Esther: “How’s the write up for the Delorean S2 coming along?” she asks whilst poking her head into Vic’s office.

Vic: “Should be about done, just need you to give it the once over to ensure it’s all above board.” he replies while turning his monitor towards Esh.

Esther begins to look through it.

“This review isn’t just about a car that famously got turned into a time machine, it’s not just about a car that’ll never rust due to its Stainless Steel body either.”

“No this review will also talk about a man who to the uninitiated, was so much more than a man who was dragged over the coals by a dishonest federal informant and a few Feds wanting a big name to scalp in ‘The War On Drugs’ in the early 80’s.”

“This is the story of a man that the American Muscle Car trend owes its entire existence to.”

“This is the story of John Zachary Delorean, The Hard Rise & The Harsh Fall.”

“John Delorean was born on January 6, 1925, he would be end up being the eldest of 4 siblings, but it wouldn’t be a completely smooth upbringing with his father been a particular fan of the booze and all the negativity that tends to follow such folks, both emotionally and psychically.”

“Fast forward to 1942, his parents divorced and his father effectively dropped out of John’s life (Booze and no support system).”

“Far from setting a bad example for him, John used it as encouragement to better himself in school for his family and by all accounts, he was reportedly an exceptional student, high grades and was also reportedly quite the killer on the Saxaphone in the school jazz band, to such an extent he got a Music Scholarship after High School.”

“Basically, John was a talented student and while now studying Industrial Engineering after changing from Electrical Engineering, he was also doing a part time job at a Chrysler body shop and while he didn’t know it at the time, it would be the Automotive industry that would be in his future.”

“But around this time, it was 1943, he was of age, there was a war on and the draft came knocking.”

“3 Years and a Honourable Discharge later, he was back, but was forced to put his studies on hold for another 2 years to help his mother and brothers out financially by working for the Public Lighting Commission, stepping up where his father stepped out and stuck by the family.”

“After his families finances were stabilised, he went back to his studies and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1948 and then went to sell Life Insurance for a relatively long stint.”

“During which he further improved his communication skills and put his engineering skills to use with an analytical system which helped him sell $850,000 worth of policies in 10 months.”

“But for John, it didn’t hold his interest as much as the Auto Industry did and per a foreman’s recommendation at Chrysler’s engineering garage, John applied to Chrysler’s Institute Of Engineering.”

“He would graduate in 1952 with a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering and joined Chrysler’s Engineering team, but this would only last just under a year before the Packard Motor Company lured him away with a $14,000 salary(well over $150,000 in todays money.) in 1953.

“While working with Forrest McFarland at Packard, John further improved their Ultramatic Auto gearbox into the Twin Ultramatic.”

“John would eventually be McFarland’s successor and take over as Head of R&D and while Packard was still turning a profit, they were struggling to match Ford and GM in a price war, so were a few other independent manufactures for that matter, Studebaker Corporation specifically as they merged with Packard in 1954.”

“John now had a choice to make, stay with his current job, but be forced to move to Indiana as part of the Studebaker merge or stay where he and his recently married 1st wife were, but need to find a new job.”

“As if someone was listening, Vice President of GM Engineering Oliver Kelley called Delorean with a hell of an offer, a 2 grand bump to the salary AND he could pick from any of the 5 GM divisions to work in, John ended up choosing Pontiac in 1956.”

“John was now the assistant to Chief Engineer Pete Estes and the General Manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, a man who John would see as a close friend and Mentor.”

“In 1961, John was promoted to Chief Engineer and it was during this time up to 1964 that he created his magnum opus at Pontiac, The GTO package for the Tempest and Lemans, the original Muscle Car.”

“The GTO was a major hit and with John getting the majority of the credit, he was promoted to the head of the Pontiac division in 1965, becoming the youngest division head at 40 years old.”

“John was now at the same table as the other division heads of GM, but despite all being under the GM banner, they weren’t all on the same page with each other, go figure.”

“Nevertheless, over the next few years, John kept Pontiac profitable while other GM divisions struggled, bringing the Pontiac Firebird to life and giving the Pontiac Grand Prix a well needed shot in the arm for the 1969 model year.”

“Despite by this point him having a reputation as a Corporate “Rebel”, he was promoted in early 1969 to the head of GM’s flagship division, Chevrolet.”

“There was a downside around this time, his first marriage ended in divorce, but by May of that same year in 1969, he tied the knot with Kelly Harmon, sister of Mark Harmon, but better known as NCIS’s Jethro Gibbs to most of us.

“It was who he asked to be his best man however that was the real shocker to John’s GM colleagues, none other than Ford’s President Lee Iacocca.”

“Back at GM, John worked like hell to turn Chevrolet around with the Nova & Corvette getting simplified upgrades and delaying the 1970 model year Camaro to help reduce production problems, but it would be the Chevy Vega that would give him the most headaches.”

“While by 1973 he got the Vega somewhat sorted out, it was in 1972 that he was again promoted, this time to Vice President of car and truck production for the whole of General Motors, meaning that the President of GM spot was now well within his grasp in the future.”

“But due to either the other GM Executives being dead set against him being President or him being burnt out over the Vega Fiasco(or both), John would announce on April 2, 1973 that he was leaving GM.”

“Now wherever he was fired or not is still up for debate, but for now, John was out of GM.”

“But not as it would turn out, out of the Auto Industry, John had an ambitious plan, starting his own car company, the Delorean Motor Company.”


Esther: “Christ Vic, all that on its own is good enough for a write up.”

Vic: “And I’m just about to get started on the company that made the car we tested last week, it gets heavy from here.”

Esther: “Bit overkill don’t you think?”

Vic: Esh, you’ve seen Square’s and SPD’s write up’s, mines practically pint sized compared to their well done works.” he brings up a video by Regular Car Reviews that was posted over 7 months after his original Delorean review. “This one’s a full 1 hour & 7 minutes long and he goes even further into detail than me.”

(Possible language warning, it’s RCR after all. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (1))

Esther: “Well we’ve come this far, Let’s carry on shall we?”

“John Delorean officially founded the Delorean Motor Company in October of 1975 and the first prototype debuting a year later, using $200 Million Dollars to get the company started up.”

“That $200 Million was made up of business loans, celebrity investments and dealership incentives, but the lion share of it came from the British Government to the tune of $120 Million for building their first factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to help counter the high unemployment in that area at the time.”

“Originally, the DMC-12 was gonna be powered by a mid-mounted Rotary engine, but the company building them had ended production, a few other options were considered, but eventually they settled on the PRV V6 which also necessitated a change to the layout, from mid mounted to a rear mounted drivetrain layout.”

“Fun Fact, The Alfa 155 DTM V6 was loosely based on the PRV V6 and the car that set the top speed record at Le Mans was also powered by a PRV V6.”

“Delorean did get a little too ambitious with designing the DMC-12, even wanting a Central Warning System that monitors fluid levels and brake pad thickness and the chassis made of ERM(Elastic Reservoir Molding), it became a mess and needed major re-engineering.”

“Enter Lotus founder, Colin Chapman.”

“Using methods used by Lotus, They got the DMC-12 back on track, but other delays which included the 16 months to build the factory in Belfast meant the assembly lines weren’t opened up until 1981.”

“Oh and the majority of the workers they hired in Northern Ireland hadn’t worked in the auto industry before, that meant build quality on early DMC-12’s was.. ropey to say the least.”

“Coming to market at $26,000, but only packing around 130hp meant 0-60 times of just under 10 seconds and against cars like the 924 Turbo and Corvette, that just wasn’t good enough.”

“Plenty of other outside factors meant that supply was greatly outweighing demand, dealerships started to back out and Delorean was now struggling to pay its suppliers, forcing John to go back to the British Government to ask for $70 million.”

“Now admittedly, a lot of inquiry’s, back and forth and the company put into receivership by the British Government happened, so let’s skip ahead to John making a proposal of paying off half of the $20 million debt so he could start production up again, take out another huge loan to cover any excess debts and also buy the company back from the British Government.”

“The Receivership agreed, but he had until October 20th 1982 to get the money or it was game over for the company.”

“October 19th, John Delorean would be arrested in an LA Hotel Room for Conspiracy To Distribute Cocaine, $24 Million Dollars worth of it.”

“But how did he get to that point?”

“Enter James Hoffman, a friendly acquaintance of John’s and as of 1981, an FBI informant, something he became as part of his deal after he got busted for trafficking Cocaine himself.”

“He told the Feds that John allegedly reached out to him to set up a multi million dollar drug deal to save his company and two FBI agents posed as drug traffickers to help Hoffman set up that fateful meeting in that Hotel Room.”

“Hoffman knew about John’s money problems & so would the Feds by proxy, But it’s still debated if they actively conspired with Hoffman or not just to have a huge name on their list in the War On Drugs.”

“John maintained from the start of the trial that it was Hoffman who reached out to him with an ‘Investment Opportunity’ with no mention of drugs whatsoever and alleged that Hoffman had even threatened John’s wife and children if John had considered backing out of the deal.”

“On top of that, he also alleged that the $1.8 Million he paid to set up the deal wasn’t even his money, it was money loaned to him by one of the feds posing as Hoffman’s drug traffickers.

“And what looked like a rock solid case with the infamous ‘As Good As Gold’ arrest tape, was now looking very shaky, with Hoffman’s testimony looking less credible due to him not being honest & the two feds who were content with bending the rules to get Delorean.”

“John’s defence team went for the throat and got the agents to admit in open court that they were the ones who brought the drugs to the hotel and they were the ones who showed the drugs to John in the first place with the intent of catching him on tape handling them.”

“How clear cut was it to prove Entrapment? The defence team didn’t even need to call upon a single defence witness, not one.”

“On August 16, 1984, John Delorean was acquitted on all charges, but it was a pyrrhic victory, his company was long gone, his reputation was toast and he wasn’t vindicated by the press despite the win.”

“Sadly, John’s future would see many more court rooms, including the following September with him being charged with tax evasion & fraud, but once again, he was acquitted on all charges.”

“With many civil suits heading his way from dealerships & suppliers, John needed a miracle to keep going, luckily for him 1985 was the year that Back To The Future arrived.”

“And guess what the hero car just happened to be?”

“The film and toy royalties kept him afloat to help weather the civil suits and fight them off.”

“But even after all that, he still felt he could rebuild, even all the way up till his death on March 19th 2005 from a stroke at 80 years old.”

“As for the DMC-12, a company in Texas, bought up all the parts, spare parts and possibly the tooling and built continuation cars with upgraded engines, just like the one we tested.”

“The S2 Delorean packs 197hp, weighs 1288kgs, has a 5 speed manual gearbox, CS tyres and costs 525k.”

“It’s handling is actually remarkably composed and stable, albeit with some understeer courtesy of its RR layout.”

“Now granted, a much cheaper RX-7 GTX can battle with it so again, the Delorean is undercut by its cheaper rivals.”

“But again, The Delorean is more than just a sports car, it’s a movie icon, it’s a stainless steel testament to one man’s legacy, a legacy that included the birth of the muscle car genre, one that still goes strongly to this day.”

“Most people only know John Delorean as the guy who started his own car company, failed and was then arrested by the FBI for drug trafficking and that’s a damn shame.”

“Maybe it’s time people learnt that there was so much more to the man than just that.”

“Verdict: Icon”

Esther: “That was quite an experience.”

Vic: (In his head: “That’s what she said.”) “Yeah, it’s quite the story, John had such an impact on American Automotive’s and yet it’s his biggest failures he’s more known for, not his successes.”

Esther: “Sadly that tends to be the case.”

Vic sends over the final draft to Esther to give one last check and gets ready to leave.

Esther: “I’ll make sure it’s all in order before publishing.” she says before turning to leave the office.

Vic: “Hey Esh, can you do me a favour?”

Esther: “Yes?”

Vic: “Make some time for yourself, go see Makoto, because as much as I’m grateful for what you’ve done for COTW as a whole, I don’t want you burning yourself out in the process.”

Esther: “Thanks Vic, I’ll be out by 8pm.” she says with a light smile.

Vic: “And not a minute later.” he replies with a smile.

(5 minutes later)

Vic’s walking through the parking lot and walks past his daily driver to a corner with a car with a cover over it, he removes it and grabs the key from the nearby hiding spot.

Before getting in, he takes a moment to look over the car that’s currently bringing back good memory’s to his head.

(RXGT: And Tricky Vic has won the Super Final of RXGT to claim his first Gold medal!!)

Vic gets into the car, starts her up, puts his hands on the wheel and let’s out a contentful sigh.

Vic: “Hello again, Old Friend.” he says with a smile.

(And Cut🎞️)

No prizes for guessing which car that is. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (2)

Yes I still have a sentimental soft spot for the Mini Clubman VGT, being my ride of choice for RXGT’s Sprint Series, of which I enjoyed great success in.

With nearly 390hp, 4wd and a 1050kg body, it’s got Gr4 beating performance and rally capability’s all rolled into one. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (3)

Yes it’s a VGT so it’s got the 1 million credit price tag, but considering the net result it’s gotten for me, it’s worth it. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (4)

Your mileage definitely varies on that last point. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (5)

As for handling, it does push wide on corner entry, but again, my extended history with driving it made me more comfortable in dealing with it.

Okay, i’m probably more biased on this one than most of our picks, so i’ll spare you the rest of a one-sided write up and say it’s a solid one make race machine. Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (6)

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍

Car of the Week | Week 53: Yellow Devil (Lamborghini Diablo GT '00) (2024)
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