[DML] DeLoreans almost manufactured in Puerto Rico
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[DML] DeLoreans almost manufactured in Puerto Rico

A friend of mine in Puerto Rico sent me two articles from the San Juan 
STAR, dated August 27, 2007.  Of course they had the Associated Press 
"entrepreneur from Texas is going to blah blah blah" article that's 
popping up everywhere lately, but they also had another one that talked 
about Puerto Rico almost serving as the location of the DeLorean 
factory.  I have included the text of the article below.  Nothing too 
mind-blowing in there, but I thought someone might find it interesting.

I find it funny that their "files" indicate only one DeLorean was driven 
in Puerto Rico.  When I was in San Juan last year, I just missed meeting 
up with Luis, a DeLorean owner who lives there with VIN 5342.  He was in 
the process of tracking down every DeLorean in PR, and at that point he 
had accounted for 17 of them!

Anyway, enjoy.

VIN 6681


DeLorean Almost Came to P.R.
by The STAR Staff

    DeLorean lore is of particular interest in Puerto Rico, where the 
car came within an inch of being produced in Aguadilla in 1978.  
Financing was lined up, deals were all but sealed on a $96 million, 
550,000-square-foot plant at the former Ramey Air Force Base in 
Aguadilla, then called Punta Borinquen.  The Puerto Rico Industrial 
Development Company's $50,000-a-year lease included the plant and 185 
acres of land, established as a foreign trade zone so the company could 
bring in French-made motors without duty.
    Pridco even planned to put up $3 million in worker training to 
prepare some 2,000 islanders to build 30,000 of the sports cars a year.  
The car was to cost around $14,000, a pretty penny 23 years ago.
    Fomento Administrators had rounded up some $60 million in seed 
money, $40 million of it in federally guaranteed loans.  At the last 
minute, DeLorean pulled the plug, moving the operation to Ireland, which 
wooed him away with some $127 million.
    At first, the loss was the subject of great controversy and much blame.
    The decision to drop Puerto Rico was a blight on the island's image 
-- and psyche.  Here was DeLorean, the flashy maverick of the auto 
industry, planning to build a stainless steel, Italian-designed sports 
car in Puerto Rico.  The free world had its eye on this deal.  It spoke 
volumes for the island's manufacturing prowess.
    Speculation was rampant as to why the island lost the deal.  Delays 
in the negotiating process were blamed.  The Puerto Rico Manufacturers 
Association was quick to accuse the new Incentives Law that would allow 
only a 90 percent tax deduction, not 100 percent.  Others thought the 
government should have thrown more cash into the deal.
    But then-Fomento Administrator Manuel Dubon drew the line at giving 
DeLorean more than 70 percent of the cost of the project.  "We simply 
did not have those resources," Dubon said after the deal failed.  "And 
if we did, we would have been foolish to risk so much in this venture."
    In a column published in The STAR in August of that year, Hector 
Reichard from the Chamber of Commerce of Aguadilla wrote of the 
frustration and anger when the deal went sour.  But he also pointed out 
the positive side.
    "We have learned a good lesson.  If we want to do it, we can.  Never 
before...have so many [people]...worked so hard and pledged so much 
money to develop one single project."
    Reichard also pointed out then that the studies developed for that 
project made it clear that the development of the former Aguadilla air 
base for cargo, passengers and industry should be the basis for economic 
development of that region.
    As luck would have it, the factory in Ireland was plagued with 
problems.  The first car came off the line in 1980 and by 1982, the 
company was in serious trouble.  It was in receivership by the end of 
February and DeLorean was soon nabbed attempting a multi-million dollar 
cocaine transaction.
    According to STAR files, there was one DeLorean driven in Puerto 
Rico, and that belonged to Olympic Mills President Francisco Carvajal, 
who bought it in Miami for $35,000.
    "If the car had been manufactured in Puerto Rico, as we hoped it 
would, I firmly believe it would have been a success," Carvajal told The 
STAR in 1983.  "It came out much more expensive due to shipping costs, 
the duty tax and the two-year delay in changing locations."


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