Culture > Diversion

The John DeLorean documentary on Netflix is TV gold

The three-episode series is definitely worth your time

I will be the first to admit that Netflix is a treasure trove of entertainment. I unequivocally blame it for my addiction to K-drama. Last weekend, however, the streaming service treated me to some much-needed respite from cheesy South Korean fare—and so Hospital Playlist had to take a back seat. You see, I stumbled upon Myth & Mogul: John DeLorean, a three-episode documentary on the life of the man behind the popular stainless-steel car (whose gullwing doors were immortalized by the Back to the Future movie franchise).

John Z. DeLorean was a legend in the American automotive industry, having worked for General Motors handling Pontiac and then Chevrolet. But while he became a rock star in the corporate world, he wanted more: He had to build his own car and put together his own car company. And that’s what the series revolves around. The series, by the way, is something any petrolhead can finish in one sitting (each episode is just 40-plus minutes long).

This man once had the most famous name and face in the car industry. SCREENSHOT FROM NETFLIX

Now, if you expect to see a lot of the DMC-12 (officially named DMC DeLorean), you will be disappointed. This is not a technical car show that aims to depict the automobile’s workings and performance. Rather, it’s about the tale of how this vehicle came about—its creator’s motivations, schemes and, ultimately, failure.

Too bad that history will simply remember this car as a cinematic time machine. SCREENSHOT FROM NETFLIX

At the heart of the story is the fashion model Cristina Ferrare, DeLorean’s former wife who was much younger than her husband but just as glamorous as he was during their marriage. She uttered the quote of the whole series: “He was a malignant narcissist.”

Cristina Ferrare was half the age of John Z. DeLorean when she married him in 1973. SCREENSHOTS FROM NETFLIX

The DeLorean Motor Company will forever be known for its spectacular debacle, including the involvement of the British government which ponied up a fortune to fund DeLorean’s ambitious project (at the expense of the taxpayers, of course) and that of Colin Chapman. But at least the startup was able to build a legitimate assembly plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The automotive world was amused that DeLorean built an assembly plant in North Ireland. SCREENSHOTS FROM NETFLIX

About 9,000 units of the DeLorean car were manufactured. Widely celebrated for its iconic styling, it has also been universally maligned. Among the things that led to its flop—and which were discussed in the Netflix series—were its malfunctioning doors.

The DeLorean is viewed by many as one of the worst cars ever built. SCREENSHOTS FROM NETFLIX

This is a heavy and sad story. Avoid it if your idea of a TV good time is Vincenzo. But if you love cars and are fascinated by anything connected to them, this is a must-watch. The plot is riveting, and the lessons you’ll pick up along the way could change the way you approach life.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.