PJ Grady Europe

Stainless Steel Restoration of Prototype 1

The original DeLorean DMC-12 Prototype

Recently PJ Grady Europe cosmetically restored the stainless steel on the one and only Prototype 1 – belonging to Tony Ierardi!

This car is perhaps the rarest and most valuable DeLorean in existence. The fact that this car is the only surviving DeLorean prototype, coupled with its history – dating back to the media frenzy of the 1970s when this car was first shown to the public, makes this car incredibly desirable to own and a massive task to preserve correctly!

Outside the DMC Florida building

Tony Ierardi of DMC Florida is currently restoring the car exactly back to the day when she was first created. Only after studying actual video footage of the prototype was Tony ready to commit to a stainless steel restoration by us.

This car deserves to be put back as John Delorean and Bill Collins intended her to be when she was rolled out to the public for the first time. After sufficient study time and careful consideration had taken place, it was time to start the restoration…

The repolished and refinished left front fender

Work began on the left front fender. Because this car is a prototype and the only known one of its kind, time had to be spent first disassembling certain parts of the car. Take our word for it, when compared to a stock DeLorean, this car may as well be from another manufacturer! The differences between ‘Proto 1’ and a stock DeLorean are countless.

One of the problems on working with the stainless steel was deciding which ‘imperfections’ in the sheet metal were correct, or which are merely damage that has occurred over time. As in all stainless restorations undertaken by us, the owner of the car has the ultimate say in what should be removed and what should stay. Thankfully, Tony was ever present throughout the restoration and was adamant throughout that the car must be exactly as it once was.

The prototype hood - as it was The prototype hood - partially refinished

The pictures above show the prototype with half of the hood refinished along with the left front fender. Tony Ierardi of DMC Florida decided on a certain style of our very own stainless steel custom finish – which is performed entirely by hand, as opposed to using the sandpaper wheel. It was a very wise decision on Tony’s part, as later when it was time to remove the drivers side wing mirror, we discovered exactly the stainless steel grain we had selected earlier!

The prototype was truly going to look like the car she was when she was completed by Bill Collins back in the late 1970’s.

Ripple in the stainless steel hood

With the completion of the left front fender and the removal of two ripples on the hood as seen in the above left picture, it was time to move onto the other side of the car... there were to be a few surprises!

The right front fender - as it was The ripples in the stainless steel The fender removed from the car - notice the Bondo glue marks! The prototype - with the right front fender removed

As can be seen in the above pictures, ripples littered the right front fender. With a stock grain pattern, the car ripples were not too noticeable. However with a custom finish, this is not the case - and every ripple needs to be removed to enhance the ‘lines’ of the car.

After reassembly of the fender, a custom finish was applied to match the other side of the car. The ‘easy’ parts were now over…and it was now time to work on the gull wing doors!

Depressions in the stainless steel of the driver side door The ripples and imperfections in the rear of the stainless steel door The front of the drivers gullwing door, now fixed and refinished The rear end of the driver side gullwing door, fully refinished

As can been seen in the above picture, a large depression was noticeable on the front part of the driver’s door – and ripples extended all the way back! Faced with little choice, we pushed forward and tackled all of the imperfections one at a time.

Working down through the door was fairly straightforward; the best part of this restoration was discovering the original grain located underneath the door wing mirror!

The original stainless steel grain - revealed under the wing mirror The new stainless steel finish applied to the drivers door

Notice in the above picture you can see the straightness of the original grain when compared to our custom finish located just below the ‘weather’ mark in the picture. With the repolish of the lower door section and a regrain of the rear quarter panel, the driver’s side was complete.

The passenger door was in slightly worse condition than the driver’s door. Although the top of the door was in fair condition, the lower half had its share of ripples.

The passenger gullwing door completed The passenger gullwing door - showing screw holes for the side mirror

With the passenger door complete, it was time to tackle the last panel - the rear quarter. This panel even had stainless steel corrosion as can be seen in the following pictures. The back of the rear quarter was pitted quite badly!

Stainless steel pitting around the rear quarter panel

Corrosion is common to Delorean’s and it was not surprising to see that even the original prototype had escaped this problem. The fact that it was and is a stored car means that stainless corrosion is much more likely to occur.

This car is the most famous DeLorean of all the marque and it is a testament to Tony Ierardi, and the teams at DMC Florida and DMC Houston that the car is returning back to her former self... the restoration continues...

Prototype 1 - with refinishing complete Prototype 1 - with refinishing complete