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Obituary: John DeLorean.

HANDSOME, with the white hair and black eyebrows, which should have suggested danger to the conservative heart, he was not the sort of fellow to gnaw his nails at night, wondering where the next penny was coming from.

For he dealt in millions, most of them belonging to other people. If he had taken the shirt off your back, he would soon he enquiring about the vest.

And so John DeLorean won his place in automobile history with a futuristic car with gull-wing doors and a stainless steel body, which would have left any self-respecting white elephant puffing in the shade.

DeLorean was simply a brilliant conman, whose charm and energy won him the affection of a trail of gorgeous women including Ursula Andress and Tina Sinatra. His four wives, none of very long duration, included the models Kelly Harmon and Cristina Ferrare.

But as was the case with many chancers, DeLorean had talent in abundance. He was born to a Romanian father and Austrian mother in Detroit. Success at school was followed by a degree in engineering at Lawrence Technical College and a masters at the Chrysler Institute.

He rocketed through the ranks at General Motors, where he designed the hotrod Pontiac GTO.

But he left the company in 1973 to form the DeLorean Motor Company. Five years later, he had persuaded the British government and others to part with $97m to build in Northern Ireland his car, which, in a humorous twist, he had dubbed 'the ethical car'.

Fewer than 10,000 were made and the company was closed down in 1983 with colossal debts, by which time DeLorean had been cleared of a charge in America of trying to raise cash by selling cocaine.

DeLorean was safely back in the US when an English judge observed that he would have liked to have jailed DeLorean for 10 years for 'barefaced, outrageous and massive fraud'.

The car received a belated boost in 1985, after production had ceased, when it featured in the film, Back to the Future.

But the man of dreams was declared bankrupt in 1999, having led many on a merry dance John DeLorean, conman and motor engineer Born January 6, 1925; died March 19, 2005
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 22, 2005
Words:370
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