Are DeLoreans slow? / Can they go over 88mph?

The DeLorean was never intended to be a drag racer, but rather a highway cruiser. As such for both comfort and fuel economy, the DeLorean was given tall gear ratios and tuned more for emissions than power.

While the speed was decent, compared to other vehicles in its time, it’s true that other advancements give modern cars better performance. The 5-speed manual transmissions also performs better, given the ratios and additional gears, not to mention the lack of a lock-up torque-converter. On the flip side, the DeLorean has fantastic low-end torque and will not slow down when encountering steep hills, and will even continue to gain speed uphill where many other cars will bog down.

Yes, the DeLorean does indeed go faster than 88mph. The 85mph speedometer wasn’t meant to display a lack of prowess, instead, it was a government mandate to discourage excessive speeding to conserve fuel. In fact, DeLorean reported the the car had a top speed of around 130 mph. Many DeLorean owners have reportedly done 110-120mph, using phone GPS for measurement.

A few favorites quotes about the DeLorean:

  • “It’s a smile machine, not a speed machine.”
  • “It looks fast, it doesn’t need to be fast.”