John DeLorean was a car designer who had worked his way up through the ranks of the Detroit auto establishment. Ultimately he yearned to create his own car company and, with the help of Hollywood friends, pulled together the financing to open the DeLorean Motor Company.

DeLorean had orginally intended to open his factory in Puerto Rico but when the Irish government came knocking with over $100 million in additional financing if he'd open his factory in Northern Ireland, DeLorean couldn't resist.

After myriad production delays and cost overruns the first car rolled off the assembly line in January 1981. It officially entered the pop-culture mainstream when it was used as the time traveling vehicle in the movie "Back to the Future" in 1985.

Well before that though things had started to go wrong. The car received only lukewarm reviews from the automotive press and sales were sluggish. Facing possible bankruptcy in 1982 DeLorean was caught on video arranging a high stakes cocaine deal as part of his plan to raise capital. It raised capital alright: capital charges of drug trafficking.

Though he was eventually found not guilty by reason of entrapment the damage to his reputation was done and his company went out of business shortly after the trial ended. DeLorean himself died in 2005 but other financiers eventually picked up the DeLorean name and returned the car to extremely limited production.