Gearhead News

May 25, 2021
World’s Most Powerful DeLorean Rocks a 630-HP Kia V6 and a Porsche 911 Six-Speed Manual

One of the many weak points of the DeLorean DMC-12 was its engine. The Peugeot-Renault-Volvo 2.8-liter V6 produced just 130 horsepower and struggled to push around the DMC-12’s stainless steel body with any gusto; a problem which owners over the years have addressed with engine swaps ranging from Chevrolet V8s to electric drive. But easily the most interesting DeLorean swap so far has to be the transplant of a tuned Kia Stinger GT‘s turbo V6 engine with an estimated 600+ horsepower. In fact, its owner claims it is the world’s most powerful DMC-12.

This DMC-12 and its Kia swap were engineered by Otsuka Maxwell Design of San Diego, California for Nick Reid of Reid Performance, the manufacturer of exotic and sports car performance parts. Having seen the Stinger GT’s 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 hold up well to the punishment of drifting, OMD and Reid chose it to power this resto-modded DeLorean, in the process equipping it with what Reid calls a “plethora of one-off machined and fabricated parts.”

Nick Reid
3.3-liter, twin-turbo Kia Stinger GT V6 in a DeLorean DMC-12

These start with custom-machined intercoolers said to have the heat-shedding capacity of those in the Ferrari F40, which feed cooled charge air into a stock-inspired intake manifold. Cut from a 70-pound hunk of aluminum, this manifold integrates velocity stacks and hides the fuel rails and a one-gallon surge tank. They empty out not from the stock direct fuel injection system, but a high-flow aftermarket port setup better equipped for the task of metering fuel for boost generated by twin Garrett turbochargers.

Even at only nine pounds of boost, Reid’s DeLorean registered 487 horsepower at the wheels on a dyno where a Ferrari 458 managed just 405. From this, Reid extrapolates a likely power output of 630 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. Seeing as the last DMC-12 to lay claim the title of most powerful appears to be the 575-horsepower, Buick Grand National-powered car we covered back in 2012, Reid’s DeLorean is indeed the new king if the math checks out.

To avoid confetti-fying the transmission by sending five times the stock power output through it, OMD swapped it for the six-speed, LSD-equipped manual transaxle from a 996.2 Porsche 911. Because of its extra gear(s), close ratios, and minimal drivetrain loss, it helps haul this DMC from stationary to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds—about as quick as a 996 Turbo—and down the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds. More boost could make it faster, Reid says, but he’s pleased with his DeLorean’s power balance as it sits.

“This is only on nine psi, so the motor has potential to make significantly more power but I think more power would reduce the fun factor of the overall package,” he told The Drive. “We’re not looking for more power, the chassis handles this level very well and is incredibly fun in all gears, in a straight line and in turns.”

Making a DMC-12 handle better than a pool noodle is no simple task, either, as it was built on an infamously floppy double-Y frame. OMD addressed this by reinforcing parts of the suspension and upgrading to KW coilovers, as well as installing brake calipers from a Ferrari 348 Challenge with rotors from AP Racing.

Reid’s DMC may be a roll call of exotic parts, though he won’t go out of his way to broadcast it as such.

“The motif of the build is to look period correct and stock to the untrained eye,” Reid told us. “The interior hasn’t been addressed yet, but we’re going to do some vintage Recaros and Alpine and completely redo the rest.”

“Although it’s in very good shape for a 40-year-old car, it doesn’t do the car justice with the effort into the rest of the build.”

In other words, no flux capacitor, but you bet your sweet applesauce this thing will do 88 mph—Reid’s pushed it to 147 in the half-mile. Seeing that, one would assume, still qualifies as serious shit in Emmett Brown’s book.

Got a car this wild of your own? Tell the author here: james@thedrive.com