On September 11th, 2008, less than a year before I was set to graduate from U of H, I was sent out on a teacher observation assignment at an elementary school that happened to be about 3 miles away from DMC Houston. I had never seen a DeLorean in person before, so I was determined to sneak in a visit on my way back to campus. There was only one problem - there was currently a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico - Ike was barreling towards Houston and was set to make landfall within the next day or two. As I was ending my time observing the music teacher for my assignment, I received a text message alert from U of H stating that classes had been canceled until further notice in preparation for the storm, and that the school was asking for students to evacuate the campus. I quickly jumped in my Jeep and headed out to DMC before returning to my dorm room to pack my things. I had been planning on heading to my parents' house in nearby La Porte to help them board up for the storm anyway, as they were planning on riding it out, but now it looked like I had no choice.
It took me a few passes to finally find my way onto the correct street that led to DMC, but I eventually made it and pulled into the parking lot full of DeLoreans in all states of repair.
I parked and headed inside to find several more cars on display, including a beautiful '81 with a black side stripe and tinted windows that I had no idea would become my DeLorean almost exactly a year later (spoiler alert). There was only one person in the showroom, as a lot of employees had gone home to prepare for the storm. He was a tall man with a face I recognized from the Modern Marvels episode I had watched several months back. He reached out for a handshake and introduced himself as James Espey, the vice president of the company. I apologized for coming in at such an inconvenient time and explained that I was interested in purchasing one in about a year and happened to be in the area and wanted to see one in person before heading out to help my family with their storm preparations. I walked around briefly and waved goodbye before heading out to U of H to gather some clothes and head to La Porte. As I pulled into my parents' driveway, which was less than 4 miles from the rising waters of the Gulf, I saw my dad carrying plywood across the yard towards the front windows of the house. I called out to him that I had seen a DeLorean in person, and that if the storm ended up killing me, I would die happy knowing how cool they were.
By the time May of 2009 came along and I was set to graduate, I had reached and surpassed my goal of $10,000 for the "DeLorean Fund," as it became known. I had $12,000 in the bank for my downpayment, all carefully earned - I did not allow graduation or birthday money to be counted - those were to be used strictly for getting my teacher wardrobe and classroom items purchased for my eventual job. I was fortunate enough to have scholarships and my parents to help me through college, so I graduated debt-free and landed my band directing job less than a month later, eager for the 2009-2010 school year to begin. I moved back in with my parents for awhile to get my grown-up life in order and soon set my eyes on owning a DeLorean. You know, since that is the first rational thought one should have when trying to start adult-ing... My dad had known I wanted one since I first started learning about them, and since he was a car guy himself (I owe my love of cars to him!), he was a bit hesitant but still intrigued at the thought of working on it with me in our spare time.
In September 2009, I walked in to DMC Houston for a second time, this time as a sales customer, and pointed to the 1981 black interior automatic that sat in the showroom with less than 25,000 miles on it. It was the car I walked by in 2008 with tinted windows and the wide side stripe that was one of the few dealer options available back when the cars were new. The combination of interior color and subtle exterior modifications made it into a real head-turner to me. It had an immaculate service history and was on consignment from a woman in Louisiana who had owned it for most of its life but was now getting too old to safely get in and out of it anymore. The sale price of $26,900 included a complete mechanical service and a warranty once it was ready for pickup. I took out my checkbook and again approached James. "I would like to write you a check for $12,000 to begin the work on this car so that I can pick it up once everything is complete. I am financing the rest with my credit union and they will be paying you the remainder of the sale price." He was at first astonished, but quickly realized I was serious and began to prepare the necessary paperwork. Had I actually worked everything out with my credit union yet? No, but thanks to the recent market crash, they would be eager to give me a loan once they saw I was employed and contracted to work at a school district, and had been careful with my credit card. Looking back on that, they were actually really going out on a limb for me - I was 21 years old and had a very short credit history and was just starting my first 40 hour-a-week full-time job - luck was on my side. Plus, I think they were also really excited to be financing a DeLorean. Every time I would drive it to the ATM or park it to go into the lobby, all of the loan officers would wave at me and ask for pictures of the car. That always helps!
By mid-October, my car was ready and my dad and I hopped into his white Dodge Dakota on a Saturday for a trip to Humble so that I could pick it up. It was there that I met Stephen Wynne, the owner of DMC Houston, and was given a walk-around of my car and a final road test to familiarize me with it before bringing it home. My dad later told me after we pulled into the driveway that all of the cars around me were slowing down to look at my car, and he was checking the car's stance as it was going down the road to make sure it was tracking straight, and that it looked great. Afterward, I found myself constantly looking out the dining room window at my car in the driveway and commenting "There's a DeLorean out there. There's an actual DeLorean out there!" as if it would disappear if I did not continue to reaffirm that fact. During one of my rounds at the window, my dad came up next to me and said "You went out and accomplished a dream you had for yourself, no matter what people thought about it. You made it into a reality. I am extremely proud of you." I hugged him tightly and fought back tears. "Would you like to go for a ride?" I asked him, grinning. "I thought you'd never ask!" he said with a laugh.
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Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm a car nut, bird lover, and musician. I have recently transitioned from music teacher to automotive service manager, and there have been lots of cool stories and crazy characters along the way!