DeLorean #3281 Frame-off Restoration


This project section will cover the complete frame-off restoration of DeLorean #3281. The goal for the project is to take this fixer-upper and completely restore it into a nice, drivable, and mostly-stock example. "Mostly stock" means that certain parts will be replaced with quality aftermarket (but DeLorean-specific) alternatives. Some examples include the water header bottle, plastic-tank radiator, shocks and springs, etc. But the finished product should look stock - no silly additions.

The subject of this restoration is #3281, which started out life in Florida, then moved to middle Tennessee in 1985. There are no major problems, but it's a typical project DeLorean: the car spent plenty of time outside baking in the sun, does not run well, has some body damage, has some rust, and has plenty of details that will need to be addressed.

NOTE: Previously, this page had even more photos and drivel than you'll find now. It was really long and eventually just became unwieldy. If you really want to see that monster of a section, look here. It will eventually lead right back to this "abridged" version.

Pre-Restoration Photos

Here's a look at how things stand before the work gets started.

The seats are ripped and there is distinctive sun damage to the vinyl.

This picture doesn't do the dash justice, but the dash and binnacle are mostly brown with a few large gashes in it - also from extensive sun damage.

Here's another shot of the interior. The stock seat skins used quality leather from Bridge of Weir, but for some reason DeLorean specified to use furniture grade leather, which holds up very poorly over the years.

A gash and more sun damage ruins an otherwise perfect console. Since the current selection of console recovery options do not match the stock grain, this section will have to be restored.

The interior has plenty of little imperfections like this - overall many pieces are okay, but will have something like this that just ruins the whole thing.

The stainless steel features a few issues, like this severe scrape and dent.

The right fender has several dents right along the crease. This VIN is also in the range that commonly had unsightly fender-mounted antennas attached.

Going onto the lift for some photos of the frame.

Here is more typical wear and tear. There is rust, but it's not to a level that would compromise the parts.

The rear is about the same; dirty, rusty, and old.

There are also typical oil leaks from around the axle shaft seals.

With the fluids drained and a few bits already taken off the car and placed in storage - it's time to split this car into two (large) pieces!