"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
The Early Years...
John DeLorean was born on January 6, 1925 in a blue-collar neighborhood on Detroit's near east side. He was the oldest of four sons. His father, Zachary, had immigrated from the Alsace-Lorraine region of
France during his teen age years. His mother, Kathryn, had immigrated from Salzburg in Austria-Hungary as a young child. Together, they held an assortment of manufacturing jobs, Kathryn as a tool
assembler, and Zachary as a millwright in a Detroit Ford factory. The family lived in a small house, and for most of Johns childhood they were relatively happy. Zachary's drinking problem eventually led to a
divorce when John was 17. Even as a young child, he was exposed to the underbelly of the automotive industry. When young John was 6 or 7 the family was awakened in the middle of the night by a squad of
Harry Bennett's infamous Ford security officers. They searched the house with reckless abandon looking for stolen tools from the Ford plant. They found nothing, and were gone as quick as they came. When
John was old enough for high school, he chose to attend Cass Tech which was where his best friend was going. Since his grades at the time weren't of the highest caliber, he was entered as a probationary
student. He excelled at Cass, and won a scholarship to Lawrence Institute of Technology in Detroit. Two years later, he was drafted and spent three years in the Army. After that, John worked as a draftsman
for the Detroit Public Lighting Commission to save up enough money to continue at Lawrence. During this time, he also had to partially support his mother and brothers, and did so by directing an evening
dance band. In the summers, he worked at the Chrysler plant on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. After graduation from Lawrence, John took a job as a door to door insurance salesman in order to overcome a
fear of shyness. Before long, he took a short lived job at a distributor of transmission supplies. He then decided that his real interests lie in automotive engineering, and applied for admission at the Chrysler
Institute. He was accepted on the co-op plan, which meant that he worked and learned at the same time. These students would take rigorous engineering courses and work for three month stints in different
departments at Chrysler.
The Automotive Legacy Begins...
In 1952, John graduated from the Chrysler Institute with a master's degree in automotive engineering, and continued as a full time Chrysler engineer. As a 27 year old engineer, John felt that Chrysler was too
big and stifling for him to work at. "Forget about being an individual" the head of Chrysler engineering had told him. He quit, and took a job as an engineer at Packard. Immediately, John was put to work on
the development of the new Ultramatic Transmission. Being a small car company, Packard expected its engineers to be involved in all aspects of production. They would design the part, supervise initial
machining, and generally keep track of it throughout the manufacturing process. From these experiences, John became a fine young engineer. At this time, Packard was rapidly declining as a going concern in
the automotive industry. Forest McFarland, the chief of engineering for Packard, knew this and accepted a job as assistant chief engineer at Buick. DeLorean was named as his successor. Since he was
known at the company as the engineer who knew the most about what was going on in the department, John was the natural choice. Before he was 30, DeLorean was heading up an engineering department at
an American auto company.
The Pontiac Years...
Packard eventually began to wear on DeLorean. He later described the company's administration as being similar to Czechoslovakia's. By the mid-1950's, John was looking for another job. At the prodding
of Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudson, who was then the General Manager of Pontiac, DeLorean agreed to an interview with him. Knudson managed to convince him that he was committed to updating Pontiac's
conservative image immediately. For years, Pontiac had been known as an "old-lady" division. Staid products, lackluster design and engineering, along with a non-existent public image did nothing to help the
situation. Pontiac was losing money and market share at an alarming rate. Detroit was abuzz in rumors that the division would be combined with another. Knudson was determined to fix Pontiac, and not
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Transport, Private transport, Coupes, Muscle cars, Sedans, Convertibles, John DeLorean, Pontiac, Packard, Semon Knudsen, Pontiac Straight-8 engine
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