The Law Behind the DeLorean’s Possible Return, Explained

Passed last year, the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 could help bring vintage cars back to production.


Great Scott! Far out! Yes, the DeLorean DMC-12 might be coming back to production and with it a host of Back to the Future references. The company building the cars will be the DeLorean Motor Company — not the original, mind you — but a small company based in Humble, Texas that has amassed original surplus DeLorean parts and gained the rights to use the DeLorean Motor Company’s name, logo and trademarks. Up until now, the new DMC has only been refurbishing existing DeLorean models, but the company recently announced it would be selling new, turnkey versions in the near future, and it’s all thanks to House Bill H.R.2675, otherwise known as the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015.

Passed in June of last year, H.R.2675 calls for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to “establish a program allowing low-volume motor vehicle manufacturers to produce a limited number of vehicles annually within a regulatory system that addresses the unique safety and financial issues associated with limited production.” In this case, the “low-volume motor vehicle manufacturer” applies to replica car makers (think along the lines of Superformance’s Cobra Replicas). Traditionally, these manufacturers had to skirt safety laws by selling replicas as kits to be built by the consumer, but can now sell these cars fully built, from the factory.

There are stipulations, however. Production is limited to 500 cars a year, the car in question must be built under licensed rights from the original manufacturer and must resemble a car at least 25 years old. But, power has to come from a modern engine built by a mainstream manufacturer that conforms with current emission regulations. That means if and when the new DeLorean comes back it won’t be powered by the original (and terrible) PRV V6, but rather something cleaner and more powerful. It also means that you could potentially see a lot more replicas of vintage cars return with better engines and upgraded electronics. And, while we don’t want to get our hopes up, there are a few classics we’d like to see make a comeback under the new law.


Ford RS200 with the 350 horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost from the Ford Focus RS


DeTomaso Mangusta with the 526 horsepower 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT350


BMW M1 with the 365 horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six from the BMW M2


Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 with the 237 horsepower 1.75-liter turbo four-cylinder from the Alfa Romeo 4C


Jaguar D-Type with the 340 horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 from the Jaguar F-Type

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Classic Cars