De Lorean Motor Company Goes Back To The Future With NFT Auction, Vehicles
Forty years after the first De Lorean sports car flexed its stainless-steel gull-wing doors and rolled off a factory floor in Northern Ireland, the revived company is zooming into another future-facing trend, the non-fungible token, auctioning off not only digital art but rights to a refurbished original DMC-12, and a spot in line for a planned modest restart of production.
But importantly, and unlike most of the art being sold in the NFT sector’s recent “gold rush” moment, some of the digital assets also are tied to ownership of real-world items, most notably a restored 1981 original DeLorean car. The car was refurbished by Cameron Wynne, son of the English mechanic who bought the assets of DeLorean Motor Company out of receivership in 1995, at the company’s repair facility in Huntington Beach, Calif.
“We saw it as a cool opportunity,” said Wynne, who worked with Joe Silberzweig of agency Medium Rare to develop the NFTs. “Obviously, you know, I paid attention to the NFT market myself. And this year being the 40th anniversary of (DeLorean car production) and to celebrate it we thought it would be a great way to tell the story of the last 40 years.”
Another NFT grants its owner a top spot on the waitlist to buy a vehicle from the DeLorean Redux, what the company’s website calls an “impossibly possible” restart of production.
Some of the proceeds may finance a restart of DeLorean production, under a federal program that would cap new vehicle production at 350 units a year, Wynne said. That regulatory review for “DeLorean Redux” is ongoing.
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“That’s the ultimate, you know, that’s typically the ultimate goal of any car lover, and any car lover who owns a car brand,” Wynne said. “You know, what better than (to be) the driver on your own car?”
Other revenues will help finance production of parts for the surviving original DMC-12 models, of which some 8,900 were made before the company went bankrupt and founder John DeLorean was arrested in a drug sting.
Wynne operates DMC’s repair facility in Huntington Beach, Calif., while his father still runs the company from headquarters in Humble, Texas.
Other NFTs come with additional physical mementos, like a Super73 motorized bike, mint-condition pair of Nike DeLorean shoes, a movie poster from the first of three Back to the Future movies that cemented the car’s position in pop history, a steel sign from the company’s Irish factory, and a die-cast scale model of the car. There’s also a digital DeLorean that can be used in the video game Riot Racers.
“NF Ts have been exploding a bit over the last few months,” said Silberszweig, whose agency previously created NFT releases for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“And as we thought through this collection with Cameron and the DeLorean team, it was really important to have a new and first-to-market approach that DeLorean will be the first to attach an actual vehicle alongside the NFT,” said Silberszweig. “And then we came up with this amazing list of incentives or prizes… These are all kind of Easter eggs within the campaign. It’s pretty cool.”
The digital art features bright colors, an intentional homage to the neon-bright color schemes common in the 1980s, Silberszweig said.
“They’re all individual works of art,” Silberszweig said. “I really look at them as kind of collector limited-edition pieces. And then seven or eight of them have those special physical items that come alongside. (Madsteez) really did a great job of blending the classic history of DeLorean with his modern take on it.”
It’s difficult to predict how the auctions will go, the two said. A refurbished DeLorean typically sells for more than $60,000, Wynne said. And some of the other premiums will certainly appeal to collectors of not just vehicles, but pop culture, sneakers and more.
But the market for digital NFTs has been erratic since an initial explosion of interest in February and March, Silberszweig acknowledged.
“I think things have evened out a bit but the collections that are to market that are using the NFT as utilities, and that are really exciting collectors, those are still doing well” Silberszweig said. “If we had come to market in March, we probably could have sold it for a million dollars in NF T. Those days are certainly over. And it’s certainly a more challenging time than March or April.”
As is possible with NFT smart contracts, the DeLorean company will get a share, 10 percent, of any secondary resales of any of the tokens.
The auction is scheduled to end at 5 pm PT on June 28, though last-minute bids can extend the auction briefly. Whoever holds confirmed digital ownership of the NFTs on Aug. 1 will get the various real-world premiums like the refurbished car.