John DeLorean's self-named sports car, with a gaudy stainless-steel body and gull-wing doors, was the talk of the auto world in the early 1980s. DeLorean himself was already an auto industry legend for having designed the hotrod Pontiac GTO in the 1960s, and for his fast rise through the ranks at General Motors, where he gained a reputation as a rebellious visionary. He quit GM in 1973 and later formed the DeLorean Motor Company. The snazzy DeLorean car debuted in 1981; by 1983 financial difficulties had doomed the company and it closed down after building fewer than 10,000 cars. DeLorean was arrested in 1982 and charged with smuggling cocaine to raise money, though he was later acquitted after accusing the government of entrapment. Ironically, the now-defunct DeLorean car got a huge popularity boost when it was driven by actor Michael J. Fox
in the 1985 film Back to the Future
. DeLorean talked of resurrecting his sports car company, but he never really shook off his financial troubles and was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1999.