How the Playboy Inventor of the DeLorean Crashed and Burned

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How the Playboy Inventor of the DeLorean Crashed and Burned

Netflix“If you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) states about his era-hopping DeLorean in Back to the Future, thus cementing that vehicle’s place in the American pop-culture imagination. It was certainly easy to see why director Robert Zemeckis chose the car for Doc and Marty’s sci-fi ride—with two gull-wing doors that suggested it might be able to fly, and a body made out of stainless steel, the DeLorean looked like something out of the 21st century. The irony, however, was that by the time that 1985 movie blockbuster arrived in theaters, the DeLorean was already a thing of the past—a notorious failure that had crashed and burned thanks to the headline-grabbing scandals of its inventor.Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean delves into the rise and fall of the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC), which was founded by its namesake John DeLorean, an automotive industry superstar aiming to revolutionize the business that had brought him fortune and fame. Directed by Mike Connolly, it’s a sharp and insightful portrait of ambition, greed and desperation, told through new interviews, archival news stories, and non-fiction footage shot by Oscar-winning duo D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back) and Chris Hegedus for their 1981 documentary DeLorean. In three concise and expertly assembled episodes, it captures a multifaceted sense of its subject, a social and political moment in time, and the way in which pioneering titans are sometimes made and destroyed by the same impulses. Premiering July 30, Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean eschews straightforward chronology in recounting the flashy life of DeLorean, who grew up in Detroit with an alcoholic immigrant father who worked at Ford. According to author Gail Sheehy, who interviewed him for her book Passages (about midlife crises), DeLorean’s desire to not wind up like his dad was apparently amplified by a childhood visit to a friend’s mansion—as well as by his formidable intellect, which was so great that his early automotive designs were plastered around his school for all to admiringly see. DeLorean was a uniquely talented engineer, and he proved that upon arriving at General Motors, where—sensing an opportunity to capitalize on a 1960s youth culture that loved fast cars but couldn’t afford them—he developed the Pontiac GTO, to rousing success.Read more at The Daily Beast.
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