If the thought of jumping into your DeLorean and heading into the time warp crosses your mind on a regular basis, well you’re out of luck. The greatest minds in the world have yet to figure out time travel outside of Hollywood blockbusters a la Back to the Future. But the car itself, which last rolled off the production line some three decades ago, may have its own resurgence, thanks to a new bit of legislation.
Passed late last year, the $305-billion highway bill clears the way for automakers to build and sell annually up to 325 full-powertrain reproductions of vintage models at least 25 years old. Pending certification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, these rides will be exempt from current crash safety standards and state pollution tests, but will have to pass current federal emissions rules.
Essentially, it’s a new era for the kit car. Says SEMA Chairman Doug Evans:
“This law gives enthusiasts the opportunity to buy turn-key replica cars while preserving their option to build one from a kit. It recognizes the unique circumstances associated with limited production replica vehicles, such as the '32 Roadster and '65 Cobra, which are primarily used in exhibitions, parades and occasional transportation. With enactment of this new law, kit car companies and SEMA member companies that supply equipment and components can take advantage of this unique opportunity."
Among the automakers that aim to take advantage of the new law is the DeLorean Motor Company, which acquired the assets of the original manufacturer 30 years ago. Thus far, the company has focused solely on repairing and restoring existing DeLoreans. But the passage of the law now allows the company to take better advantage of the millions of factory parts, as well as the original blueprints for long-gone parts, that have been collecting dust for the better part of the past three decades.
Company officials confirm they’re actively working on getting new vintage DeLorean replicas on America’s roadways. Of course, there will be a few update. Engines will be 300 – 400 horsepower, up from the original 130 hp engine, and wheels will measure 17-18 inches. You just can’t get high performance tires on the original 14-15 inch rims that the first DeLoreans sported.
Assuming all the regulatory issues are worked out, new DeLorean replicas may hit the production line as early as the first quarter of 2017, company officials say. But you’ll want to start saving up now. These updated models will set you back $80,000 and $100,000.
What do you think, E3 Spark Plugs fans? Are you stoked about the classic kit car resurgence? Or would you rather hold out for an authentic original? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.