The parent company and indeed the sole customer of the Delorean Motor Cars Limited was the Delorean Motor Company in the US, which controlled distribution of the cars through a subsidiary company
The US operations were primarily based in prestigious offices on the 43rd floor of 280 Park Avenue in New York, where John Delorean and Eugene Cafiero were based. Sales and quality assurance were primarily handled by Dick Brown and later Roy Nesseth from the Irvine office in California.
This section of the website details the people who worked for DMC, and explains their roles, their involvement, and in some cases, what they moved onto after the Delorean dream came to an end.
John Z Delorean & DMC
John Zachary Delorean - born 6th January, 1925 in Detrroit, Michigan - started his brilliant carrer as an engineer by joining The Chysler Institute. Delorean become disillusioned when he heard a speech from a top executive James Zeder, who explained to the class that team work was the only way forward within the company. Delorean, a true individual, found this hard to comprehend and with a lot of regret he started looking elsewhere for a career move.
Delorean was offered a job at Packard Motor Company , which took him in a new direction. It was not long before John was establishing himself within the company. One of John's designs early on was to play a part in the development of the (Ultamatic) an automatic Transmission unit. After successful designs were incorporated into the Ultamatic, John's ideas were being noticed for the first time.
However Packard was a struggling company and when Packard merged with Studebaker Corporation, John was left the choice of relocating to Indiana, or looking for another job. Fortunately, John was approached by the engineering vice president of General Motors, Oliver Kelly, who offered John his choice of job across five divisions of the GM group. It was a choice that would set John Delorean on the path of a true maverick, for the rest of his career.
Delorean Joined The Pontiac Motor division of GM, in which he excelled - most notably for being the design of the GTO muscle car along with Bill Collins. Delorean continued to impress with his engineering abilities and his unique design ideas, and played a large part in turning around the division, both in terms of their image and their profitability. As a result, John Delorean was 'fast-tracked' within the company, and was appointed as General Manager in 1965.
In 1969 John Delorean was promoted to head of the Chevrolet division, which at that time was the largest division in the world. Although Chevrolet was making money, the division was out of control and it was the hope of GM's senior management that Delorean could rearrange the division and gain back control. It was not long after John's appointment that many changes started to occur within Chevrolet, from tightening parts inventory, to smoothing and building relations with the GM dealer network.
GM senior management realised that John was making positive changes to the business, but was a hard man to control. Faced with an invaluable asset which they could not control, GM did the only thing they could, and in 1972 Delorean was promoted to head of North America car and truck operations.
John Delorean soon discovered his new life on the GM 14th floor was powerful in many ways, although he also realised that he was no longer playing a part in the actual build and design of the work which he so loved. (Even after years as a senior manager he always thought of himself as an engineer). His position now was part of the decision making process and while it was a highly important job within the company, for John it meant that he had little say, and his methods which had been tried and tested and had made GM millions of dollars, had to be held in constraint. It was not long before John had reached the point of leaving GM.
While John was in line for promotion as the next possible president of GM, it was not to happen. In 1973 he left General Motors and become the head of the National Alliance of businessmen (NAB). After a successful year held in office, John was unemployed after many years in the automotive business.
Soon enough John started talking to engineers about the possibility of starting a motor company from scratch - The Delorean Motor Company. John asked Thomas Kimmerley to start up a new company with him and after many discussions; both men agreed that the basis for the business was sound enough to proceed. John set himself and Kimmerley the task of raising the needed money to keep the project going. Kimmerley created the Delorean Motor Company in January 1974. Delorean later founded his own personal venture ‘The John Z corporation in 1975.
In 1974, John Delorean and Bill Collins (DMC's newly hired Chief engineer) went to Europe and visited the Turin Auto Show to find a designer for their new sports car. They had visited four different design companies before they selected Ital Design. Deloreans attention turned to financing his new project. many possible finance and investment deals had been arranged including Puerto Rico through to Detroit - although ultimately the most attractive deal was tabled by Northern Ireland, and Belfast was to the 'Home' of the Delorean Sports car. While trouble persisted in the we torn Belfast area at the time, it was not long before the production of the plant with the promise of thousands of jobs for local Catholics’ and Protestant workers alike.
Problems began for DMC from the very Beginning - finances for the company were always to the last dollar and DMC had agreement with the British government which they did not honour due to a change from a Labour government to a Conservative government at the mid point of the DMC project in Northern Ireland. DMC found itself struggling for money and for its very survival. Nonetheless, DMC pushed forward and with occasional injections of money into the project by the British government started to show profit in potential sales in the United Sates.
However with a recession in the United Sates unfavourable exchange rates and one of the worst winters on record, DMC sales were hard hit. The British government slowly backed away from the whole project seeing nothing but troubles ahead and without the backbone of the British government financial support, the Belfast plant was doomed from that day on.
DMC was put into Receivership in 1982, and later to declare its bankruptcy.
Eugene Cafiero was born in brooklyn, New York in 1926 and graduated from Darthmouth College with a degree in psychology. he joined the Navy, and worked as a steel salesman before entering the car industry as a Ford management trainee in 1949. Cafiero was working for Briggs Manufacturing, a major supplier of Chrysler's auto bodies, when Chrysler bought the business in 1953. After he earned a master's degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960, Cafiero climbed steadily through Chrysler's ranks before becoming vice president in 1968.
Cafiero was a talented manager and well respected within his profession. In a particularly famous confrontation, Cafiero, president of Chrysler, had travelled to England to meet with workers from a troubled plant there. He was confronted by a burly, hostile worker loudly proclaimed. "I'm Eddie McClusky, and I'm a communist"! The Chrysler extended his hand and said, "I'm Eugene Cafiero, and I'm Presbyterian." The ensuring laughter defused a potentially explosive situation.
Cafiero became president of Chrysler in 1975, when the company was in financial distress and the American automobile industry was beginning to undergo dramatic changes. Under his watch, Chrysler saw two profitable years until a recession and the imposition of federal fuel efficiency standards caused sharp losses in 1978. Cafiero left the company in 1979, after Chairman and chief Execuitive John J. Riccardo appointed Lee A. Iacocca, who eventually ushered in a new era for Chrysler.
Cafiero joined DMC in May 1979. Gene had quit his position as president of Chrysler and began looking for something else. He found John Delorean.
"I thought it would be fun to go with a small company where there was no history, no built in constraints. I wanted to start with a clean piece of paper."
Cafiero bcome president and Chief executive of the Delorean Motor Company.
John Delorean set Cafiero's Salary at $375.000 plus cost of living adjustments, pension rights, a $164.000 interest free loan (to compensate him for any loss of pension rights at Chrysler) and a company car. This car was a Delorean Vin 686. We tracked down this car, and unfortunately discovered that it had been broken up, only 8 years previous the car had a $20.000 restoration on it.
Gene was based in the office next to John at 280 Park Avenue, Manhattan. At first, with all the work ahead of each individual, executives concentrated on their own tasks, and Gene was no different, and he undertook his presidency to the best of his ability. After Concerns that Charles Bennington was pushing himself too hard, and after his accident in his own Lotus Esprit, Gene was sent to 'help out' in Dummurry and help Bennington. Just before the memo scandal become public, Cafiero was planning on leaving the company. He managed to leave on his terms, and acted as a consultant at future meetings, which he did as time moved on. Gene left the company in October of 1981; he was succeeded by none other than Roy Nesseth who took over Genes Pak Avenue office. However, Roy was never to have the title of president.
Although, Roy Nesseth's title within the company wa somewhat vague he was one of John Deloreans personal Friends and top executives at DMC. he played a vital role in the formation of the Delorean dealer network. this network was being managed by C.R Dick Brown and Roy in an effort to sign more dealerships to create sales channels for the DMC-12.
It was the requirement of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) that Delorean Motor Company meet the numbers of dealers stated by Dick brown which was 150 - spread out throughout the US. The SEC had given DMC just 4 months to complete the task. With 8 weeks before the deadline, Brown managed to secure agreement from 122 dealers. However John Delorean become concerned that the remaining 28 dealers would not be found in time, and the contract could not be completed. In fear of the program being set back, John set Roy the task of finding the remaining 28 dealers in time.
Roy recruited his own team who 'convinced' Dick Brown's potential dealers to sign up. Some of the tactics were described as somewhat 'grey'. However when all was taken into account Roy's team had signed another 36 dealers. By the time the underwriting was closed, the Delorean dealer network stood at an impressive 158. The dealerships had invested an impressive 4 million dollars into the venture.
However, this was still only part of the puzzle, and 4 million was still far short of he capital needed to build a state of the art factory and hire a full complement of employees, let alone produce a car.
Roy Nesseth next promotion was to replace Gene Cafiero after his planned departure. Roy was essentially president of DMC, although not in title. He operated from gene office and answered only to John Delorean. At this point in time his salary had grown to $150.000 - almost twice as much as the previous year.
At 6'6, Roy was often referred to as 'Big Bad Roy' by John, although both men had been great friends for over twenty years, and shared a mutual respect. Roy had a Delorean Company car Vin 805.
C.R Dick Brown
With over 25 years experience and understanding in automotive design, CR ‘Dick’ Brown had previously set up the Mazda dealer network in the United States in the early 1970s. It took Mazda just 2 years to achieve what took Volkswagen and Toyota 11 to 14 years to achieve. By 1972, Mazda was the 4th largest importer in the United States.
Dick Brown joined early in DMC’s history and became crucial in the early financial stages of the company. John DeLorean hired Brown based on his reputation with Mazda and with the prospect of raising as much money as possible for the new venture. Dick Brown was a man who could get things done. He was also responsible for arranging some of the key financing loans for the company, most notably a Bank of America loan in the region of 18 million dollars - and crucial to DMC’s survival.
Working with his team, Brown explained to the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission that he could have in place, within four months, 150 dealers located across the United States. After this was approved, Brown had to fulfil this obligation, which was a difficult task, as dealers were each asked to invest $25,000 dollars into what was a high-risk venture. At best, the company only had a 50/50 chance of succeeding. What Brown and the whole DMC project had in its favour was John DeLorean. DeLorean had been a great asset to the dealers while he was with GM - and the dealers never forgot this. This personal history and credibility helped enormously, but was not the only reason the dealers gave money for this project - the presentation of the prototype was a minor miracle.
The DeLorean Team had many restrictions in place when trying to ‘round up’ dealers. In their promotional video they could not legally state any claims about the car’s abilities or performance or features. The video was presented with a man driving the DeLorean prototype, from the city, through to full panoramic views of beautiful landscapes - all with relaxing music in the background.
The video was a massive success with dealers and so was DMC’s plan of recruiting a dealer network. Dick Brown had signed up 122 dealers in just two months. In the remaining time DeLorean sent Roy Nesseth to ‘help’ Brown with the rest of the dealer network. By the time the deadline had passed, between them Brown and Nesseth had signed 158 dealers in total. With complex timetables and shipments of cars to the dealers, Brown was faced with not just sales problems, but now quality control. In January 1981, Brown had commented on Pilot 28 being a ‘winner’. However, when the first production cars began arriving in the US, Brown had serious quality problems to contend with, and described the first batch of cars as very rough. (His actual wording was much stronger)! To meet this challenge, Brown had to set up three Quality Assurance Centres (QACs), as quality control quickly became the most pressing issue with the cars.
The QACs were located in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Santa Ana in California and in Detroit, Michigan.
The cars were delivered to either Wilmington, Delaware, or sailed through the Panama Canal to arrive at Long Beach. At one point the QACs were spending 140 hours fixing up and proving each individual car. Later that figure was reduced to 68 hours, but $600 per car was still an extra expense that the company could barely afford.
Dick Brown was also responsible for the banning of the complimentary DeLorean toolkits, that were originally shipped with the car. He thought that the kits felt like toys and were more like Christmas presents than useful tools. Being the main salesman of the car - he got his way, as he did when he ordered the phasing out of the gas flap hoods, and later the pleated style hoods.
Brown was involved in an incident in March of 82’ when DeLorean had ordered the removal of 15 DeLoreans from the QAC in Bridgewater, NJ - all of these cars were collateral on the 18 million dollar loan from the Bank of America, which Brown had been responsible for. Ed Hansen, who was responsible for the Quality Assurance Centre In Bridgewater refused to release the cars on grounds that they were collateral on the loan. The next day Bill Mahr, who managed the DMC New York office, arrived at Bridgeport and demanded the release of the fifteen cars. Again the release of the cars was refused. Dick Brown had been alerted to an incident at the QAC in Bridgeport, and made steps to have local law enforcement officers at the Quality Assurance Centre in California - causing friction within the company and ultimately leading to his resignation. Brown should be credited for his major contributions to DMC - and in so many ways if not for Dick Brown, the DeLorean may have never been more than a protoype.
Bill Collins with over 20 years of automotive experience gained from general Motors had risen to the position of Chief Engineer at the Pontiac Motor Division of the divisions B-cars.
While he was settled in this position, he realised that it was only a matter of time before he would rise within the company, and to higher success, however a man by the name of John DeLorean presented Collins with an idea that would turn his position at General Motors on its head. John DeLorean approached Bill Collins, about the possibility of designing and building their own car - the two men had previously worked closely together at General Motors and knew that they ‘got on well’.
In October 1974, the temptation was too great to pass up, and Collins joined the DeLorean team - and the true birth of the DeLorean car became a reality. After the two men discussed the possible class of car which they wanted to design, they both settled on a ‘gentleman’s sports car’
Collins sat down with a clean sheet of paper and set about designing the new DeLorean motor car. With his experience gained from his time with GM, it was not long before Collins knew his critical dimensions, agreeing with DeLorean on the use of Gullwing doors – an idea that both men felt added to the uniqueness of the design, and complemented the initial ideal of building a ‘safety vehicle’.
Bill Collins took the design dimensions to Pioneer engineering, which took the important figures and translated them into a basic seating package - which was later made into a seating ‘buck’. In 1974, John DeLorean and Bill Collins went to Europe and visited the Turin Auto Show, to find a designer for their new sports car. It was not long after they had visited 4 different design companies that they settled for Ital Design. Giorgetto Giugiaro was only 36 at the time, however very few designers/ prototype builders had the credentials of Giugiaro. The basic contact was drawn up in February 1975, and a month later a formal contract was signed by both companies.
After DeLorean and Collins had given Giugiaro the basic package of the car, the master went to work and within the space of one month, had produced designs for both men to look at. After the most agreeable lines of the car had been chosen, the car was finally ready to move forward. Collins travelled back to Ital Design every three weeks to approve the work by Giugiaro, and to report back to DeLorean.
It was not long after that the first sets of drawings had been approved. In July, Collins travelled back to Ital Design to approve the epo-wood styling which ital design had now finished. When Collins had approved of the ‘car’ it was then sent to Design Caucus to begin fabrication of the first set of pine die models.
Not long after the pine dies were produced, fabrication on the first recognisable DeLorean (prototype - P1) was started in October 1975. Kar Kraft was the company who played a large part in the fabrication exercise, with Bill Collins overseeing the project. In October 1976, the first prototype was a running car, however the Citroen engine/transmission did not meet the requirements, along with other criticisms. Before testing could be carried out fully on the car, C.R Dick Brown took the car, which he needed for dealer interest for potential investments. And Collins pushed forward with the second prototype.
The second prototype (prototype 2) was started after the completion of the first, and was due to be finished in July of 1977. When asked by a colleague, Collins commented that 10 additional prototypes would be used for durability and crash testing.
When Lotus was contracted to make the DeLorean into a production car, the company asked to see the Collins prototype. After test drives and assessments, the Lotus thoughts were not favourable of the DeLorean, it was decided to make serious changes in the fundamental aspects of the car from a steel backbone chassis through to the dropping of DeLoreans ERM(Elastic Reservoir Moulding) to the eventual use of VARI (Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection) for the body tub.
Bill Collins while at Lotus started to realise that the car that he had created, was slowly changing before his eyes, in a short space of time, the car had changed under the stainless steel skin.
In the first of a few skirmishes between Collins and designers at Lotus in the spring of 1979, Lotus Employees commonly joked of the Collins prototype, Lotus engineers made a game of asking newcomers to the project to guess the weight of the front bonnet, it looked light yet could only be lifted by a strong man Collins had deliberately weighted it at nearly 500 pounds to balance the car - Lotus did not realise or care.
Slowly Collins was finding it more and more difficult to work with the people at Lotus. When his ideas and suggestions were not being listened to, he left the company in 1979, later to be succeeded by Mike Loasby, who would also share the same frustrations as Collins had. After leaving DeLorean, Bill Collins put his design and engineering expertise into a new project – the Vixen RV – an innovative motor home with an unusually low ride height and handling that was more like a car than a van.
Thomas W. Kimmerley
With a passion for cars, this one time partner in Kimmerley, Gans and Shaler Law firm, had many minor dealings with John DeLorean before the inception of the DeLorean Motor Company.
DeLorean asked Kimmerley to start up a new company with him, and after many discussions, both men agreed that the basis was sound. DeLorean set himself and Kimmerley the task of raising the money needed to keep the project going. Kimmerley created the DeLorean Motor Company in January 1974. DeLorean had founded his own personal venture ‘The John Z DeLorean Corporation’ in 1975.
JZD Corporation had formed Composite Technology to take a licence for the new Elastic Reservoir Moulding (ERM) process; the planned but eventually rejected process for use in moulding the DMC-12 body tub. In 1975 Kimmerley incorporated DMC and transferred to its capital stock from JZD Corporation.
By creating the ‘DeLorean Sports Car Partnership’ in December of 1975, Kimmerley created a way into which invertors could contribute large sums of money into the company. If the car was to be built, along with a production plant and work force, the sum of $70 to $90 million would be needed. This meant that at some point the company would have to go ‘public’.
Kimmerley stayed with the DeLorean project throughout and was a central figure on many ‘incidents’ during the company’s life. A famous incident where Kimmerley played a part is when DeLorean thought he was getting mixed up with the Mafia in 1982, as he was desperately seeking funds for his ailing company. (In actuality it was a FBI sting set up to entice DeLorean into a drug deal – presumably to remove him from the scene and allow the whole politically sensitive topic of the DMC to quietly slip into history).
DeLorean believed he was heading for his death when he was caught up in the drug sting, so much so that he drafted a letter to Kimmerley stating that if he was to die of anything other than natural causes, Kimmerley was to take the letter directly to the police. Otherwise the letter was to be returned to DeLorean at a later date. Of all the executives throughout DMC’s history, Kimmerley - like Roy Nesseth, stuck by DeLorean though thick and thin.
One can’t help but wonder if the other executives had the same dedication, whether the companies problems might not have got so out of hand.
Myron Stylianides, DMC director of personnel and administration, is a Greek with a master's degree in industrial relations and personnel management from the London School of Economics. He too worked for Chrysler, and became Director of personnel administration of Chrysler Europe before joining the DeLorean Motor Company.
He joined the company ‘early in its history, and was responsible for the hiring of Charles Bennington, along with other high-ranking DMC executives.
Bruce Mc Williams
Bruce McWilliams joined DMC in 1980. He had helped start Saab in the 50s and later worked for Mercedes Benz, before becoming president of Rover in the US. He was in charge of marketing until late 1980, when he joined DMC.
Bruce McWilliams joined as the Marketing Vice President of DMC. However, after DeLorean had made changes to the company, McWilliams was appointed acting president of DMC America - replacing Dick Brown.
After the company starting developing serious money problems, McWilliams turned his efforts to save DMC from the course of financial destruction it was facing.
One of the options presented to McWilliams was a deal by ‘Rent a Car’. Their offer was to buy 1000 DeLorean DMC-12 cars, and to use them as rentals cars around the US, before selling them back to dealers in the fall.
Wisely, McWilliams had his reasons for not going down this route. There sale of the cars would be fine, however the paperwork involved was tremendous for this type of package, not to mention that the DeLorean reputation and brand could be damaged in this manner with second hand DeLoreans flooding the markets at just the time that DMC needed to sell new cars.
Towards the end of the company, McWilliams was working 14-hour days, seven days a week, trying to save the company in his own special field of operations. This ranged from forming ‘exotic’ packages to DeLorean dealers to sell cars and trying make the company some money to reduce its debt, to approaching an Iranian multi-millionaire with the idea of saving the factory and putting his name on the car! Unfortunately, the lure was not enough and the Iranian investor dropped away.
When the receivers prepared to close the Dunmurry factory, Bruce Williams resigned, stating “the burden of debt in the company is so staggering and with the receiver deciding to close the factory I really felt that this was the kiss of death”. McWilliams had many criticisms of the car, ranging from dated design to problems with the window arrangement.
Don Lander later took over the ‘hot seat’ from McWilliams on the California side of the business after his departure.
Robert W Dewey Had been a financial manager with GM during 1974-75. While being successful in his job, he found it like many others, routine - with little chance of major interest. During his tenure at GM, John DeLorean had been coming to Dewey for advice in business deals, and only later for advice on his new project - the DeLorean car, and his new venture. It was after DeLorean had made Dewey the offer of joining DMC, that Dewey thought long and hard on the decision. At GM, Dewey had a secure future, with a regular prospect of promotion and financial perks. DeLorean had offered him $70,000 as a starting package, plus stock options as Secretary of DMC. What tipped it over the edge for Dewey was the prospect, like many other executives would later recall, he had a chance to make his mark on a new automobile. The temptation was too great for Dewey, and he joined DMC in 1975 as chief financial officer.
Dewey had played a large part in organising financial packages for the company and it was a testament to his profession that his managed to acquire so much financial choice for DMC.
Dewey and his team had been looking into what was needed for start up costs - estimated at $75 million dollars.
DeLorean had looked at starting up in Pennsylvania, however the package offered by the state was never going to meet Dewey’s figures. The search when on, even concentrating on Saudi Arabia, which was the chance to tap into almost unlimited funds, and later Detroit, where the numbers could never be achieved in the overall package. The next location that seemed the most financially attractive was Puerto Rico.
During early 1977, while events were still on in Pennsylvania for a possible start up, DeLorean had found Puerto Rico to be the best option for his company manufacturing base.
This was to have been Ramey Air Force Base, which had been abandoned for some time.
The options that the government were offering were attractive, and DeLorean had found that at this time the Puerto Rico deal was something of a minor miracle. The only setback that was encountered was that DeLorean had agreed to put up $25 million dollars up front, before any loans or moneys could be used from the Puerto Rico government.
However on February 16th DeLorean signed an agreement prohibiting him from negotiating with anyone else for alternative plant sites.
William Haddad Joined DMC in March of 1979. Haddad had been a personal friend of John DeLorean going as far back as when John was Head of the Pontiac division at General Motors.
Haddad’s background was extensive in the field he established for himself. He was a journalist with a long involvement with the Kennedy family. Through connections like the Kennedy’s, Haddad started to ‘know the right people’ and DeLorean realised that this would make Haddad a valuable team member.
Born in 1928 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Haddad grew up in Florida and took a physics degree at Columbia university (NY).
In May of 81’, Haddad was ordered to work at the Dunmurry plant permanently - due in part to the fact that DeLorean and Haddad were not seeing ‘eye to eye’ on certain matters. DeLoreans view won out, and Haddad moved with his wife Noreen and his new baby to Belfast. However working out of Belfast, or the New York Office from time to time, it was not long until Haddad’s relationship with John DeLorean became unbearable. Haddad found himself caught up in ‘the great memo scandal’, which totally destroyed his friendship with DeLorean. Writing a memo sent to John DeLorean on Boxing Day, Haddad talked of the ‘gold faucet memo’. This memo listed points of concern to John that the company had over spent monies provided by the British government for the Dunmurry operations. Most notably was a point on the memo concerning over indulgence at Warren House, recently renovated by the company at the order of Charles Bennington - who lived there.
The criticisms were blown out of proportion. Haddad mentioned that the faucet taps were made of gold and purchased from Harrods in Knightsbridge, London. In truth they were only gold painted - however the overall criticism was valid as the cost of renovation was excessive, and unwarranted. At a later time when DMC was forced to defend itself for possible misuse of company money, the reasons presented by DMC management were that the renovation of Warren House was intended for use of visiting VIPs. This memo and all the allegations mentioned in it brought about a police investigation into the company ordered by Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister. Marion Gibson, a DMC employee, was responsible for the infamous memo being shown to Nicholas Winterton, a British member of parliament (MP).
The national press managed to find out about the DeLorean scandal and then went public with allegations of company money being wasted and claims of mismanagement of taxpayer’s money. The incident died down, but some DMC executives, including Mike Knepper, were held and asked questions by police. When no evidence of fraud or misuse of company money was proven, the incident was over as quickly as it begun.
This incident seriously strained the relationship between DeLorean and Haddad to breaking point. After the media frenzy had died down, Haddad’s days at DMC were numbered, and after a drawn out process including a troubled meeting with Roy Nesseth, Haddad left DMC on September 23rd 1981.
Mike Knepper Joined DMC in September 1980. He had previously worked on the famous Magazine ‘Car and Driver’. John DeLorean himself personally interviewed him in August for the job. Knepper left the interview impressed, and decided to join the new DMC venture. DeLorean was looking for an expert in the field of Public Relations (PR), who could work alongside William Haddad. Haddad had personally recommended Knepper for the job because of his outstanding credentials. The DMC PR team was beginning to take shape. As Knepper started to grow accustomed to his new job at DMC, he noted the people that surrounded him – figures such as Gene Cafiero – the ex Chrysler president. Knepper held Cafiero in high regard, along with many others.
There were some staff members that Knepper did not fully get along with - Charles ‘Chuck’ Bennington was one. Knepper thought that Bennington's way of handling the press by ‘blanketing’ the factory in a shroud of secrecy was not his preferred method. In Knepper’s experience, at the time of the company start-up, the press should have been welcomed and encouraged to write favourable articles rather than spurned, and left to write negative articles – which was exactly what happened. There was an incident Knepper describes where the then editor of ‘Motor’ was kept waiting in Benningon's outer office for five hours! Later, and understandably, ‘Motor’ become one of DMC biggest critics.
Knepper was with DeLorean and Haddad when the great ‘memo’ scandal broke out in the early 80s.
At the time, the friendship between DeLorean and Haddad was more strained than ever, and Knepper was caught in between old friends with years of respect for each other, reduced now down to a future of dislike.
After Haddad left the company, Knepper took over his role. However, the company’s financial crises deepened and Knepper left in April of 1982.