The DeLorean Factory, Belfast: where it is & how to visit

The DeLorean Factory in Belfast is one of the city’s most historical industrial sites. Let’s explore the fascinating history, key details, and facts about the site.

The DeLorean Plant (also known as The DeLorean Factory), was a significant part of Belfast’s industrial heritage. It is the second most famous industrial location in Belfast, after the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was built.

This factory is where the legendary DeLorean DMC-12 was born, the car that shot to fame in the Back to the Future movies.

As a result of this blockbuster movie, the DeLorean factory has left a lasting footprint in the history of Northern Ireland. In this article, we explore its fascinating history, location, and key facts.

Key Facts – interesting trivia about the DeLorean Plant

Discover some key facts about the iconic DeLorean Factory.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die
  • The Factory produced approximately 9,000 DMC-12 cars between January 1981 and December 1982, with a maximum production rate of about 40 cars per day.
  • The DMC-12 is one of the most unique cars ever made due to its unpainted stainless steel body, which was designed to emphasise its futuristic look.
  • The Back to the Future movie series has created a lasting fan base for the DeLorean. Interestingly, by the time the film was released, the plant had already closed, and the last DeLorean had been made.
  • The original test track, used to test every DeLorean car before shipment, still exists and is a historical point of interest. It is occasionally accessible during events like the DeLorean Revival.
  • The former DeLorean plant site is still in use but for different businesses, inclusing around 20 active businesses in the Dunmurry Industrial Estate.

DeLorean History – the origins of the DeLorean Plant in Belfast

In 1975, visionary automobile engineer John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Company. After a successful stint at General Motors, contributing to models like the Pontiac GTO, John DeLorean set his sights on creating a groundbreaking sports car.

DeLorean aimed to produce a car with unique and futuristic features such as a stainless-steel body and gull-wing doors. The DeLorean DMC-12 was the realisation of this vision.

DeLorean also wanted to set up a manufacturing facility and eventually chose Belfast, Northern Ireland, as the location.

At first, Belfast appeared to be a bizarre choice due to high unemployment and the ongoing Troubles, a period of intense conflict in the region. 

However, DeLorean saw an opportunity here. He believed that the British government would support his venture to boost employment and bring positive developments to Northern Ireland.

The establishment of the DeLorean Factory in Belfast ended up being not just a historical event, but a significant economic boost to the local area. At its peak, the factory employed around 2,500 people, providing much-needed jobs and stability. 

The ripple effect of this employment was felt by many local businesses, who also benefited from supplying parts and services to the factory. This underscores the profound impact the factory had on the community.

Facing challenges – the end of the DeLorean factory in Belfast

John DeLorean faced numerous challenges with DMC.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

Despite John DeLorean’s ambitions, the DeLorean factory faced numerous challenges. Many of the cars produced were plagued with quality issues, earning a reputation for being unreliable and prone to breakdowns. 

Production delays further compounded the problems, leading to the company’s bankruptcy and the factory’s closure in 1982.

Ironically, the DeLorean DMC-12 gained iconic status and increased demand after its appearance in Back to the Future. However, this resurgence came too late, as production had already ceased. In total, around 9,000 cars were made at the factory.

After the factory closed, the site underwent several transformations. Initially a symbol of ambition and innovation, it was repurposed for various industrial uses. 

Montupet UK Ltd, an automotive parts manufacturer, took over the site and produced aluminium castings for the automotive industry.

Today, much of the original factory structure has been repurposed or dismantled. However, the site still holds historical significance and occasionally hosts special events celebrating the DeLorean legacy.

Location – where it is and how to get there

Dunmurry Industrial Estate is located on the former site of the DeLorean Factory in Belfast.
Credit: Google Maps

The DeLorean Factory was located in the Dunmurry Industrial Estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After the factory closed in 1982, the site underwent various changes. It is now occupied by a diverse range of about 20 active businesses.

Despite the changes to the plant site since closure, some elements of the original factory remain, including the old DeLorean test track. This track was where every DeLorean DMC-12 was tested before being shipped worldwide.

While much of the original structure has been repurposed or dismantled, the site retains historical significance for automotive enthusiasts.

The DeLorean Factory today – how to visit for yourself

You can visit the DeLorean Factory on special occasions today.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

If you want to visit the site, you will be disappointed to hear that the former DeLorean plant is not open to the public. Access is restricted, and visitors would need to obtain special permission from the current businesses operating on the site.

However, DeLorean reunion events like DeLorean Revival offer the best chance to both go to the plant and have the most enjoyable experience as you will be doing so with tons of DeLorean owners and DeLorean fans. 

I recently attended the DeLorean Revival. It was surreal to see around 50 DeLoreans driving around the original test track.

These events not only offer the chance to visit the historic site. Rather, they also provide unique opportunities to explore significant areas of the factory, including the test track. 

Witness these incredible cars in action for yourself.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

However, these are non-profit community events. So, they may not be widely promoted in the mainstream news so you might not hear about them.

To stay informed about upcoming DeLorean events, I recommend joining Facebook Groups like ‘DeLorean Owners of Ireland’ and ‘DeLorean Club UK’. 

These groups are excellent resources for event announcements and community discussions. They also occasionally feature DeLoreans for sale, providing a chance for enthusiasts to acquire these iconic vehicles!

Frequently asked questions about the DeLorean Plant

What happened to the DeLorean plant in Belfast? 

The DeLorean plant in Belfast closed in 1982 due to financial difficulties and production issues. Today, the site is repurposed for various industrial uses, hosting around 20 active businesses within the Dunmurry Industrial Estate.

What is the DeLorean factory used for now?

The former DeLorean factory in Belfast is now part of the Dunmurry Industrial Estate, accommodating around 20 active businesses involved in various industrial activities.

Why did DeLorean shut down?

The DeLorean Motor Company shut down in 1982 due to a combination of financial troubles, production inefficiencies, and legal issues.

Where is the original DeLorean kept?

Today, approximately 6,500 DeLoreans still exist, mostly owned privately. In Belfast, you can see a DeLorean at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, a guaranteed way to view this iconic car if you are visiting the area.

Where is the DeLorean from Back to the Future kept?

The original DeLorean car from the Back to the Future movies is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts

Disclosure

Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend