This interview is with the President of the DeLorean Midwest Connection. He was kind enough to take time out to answer my questions about his DeLorean history. Thanks Don!
Tamir: When did you first purchase your DeLoreans?
Don Gowler: I purchased my first DeLorean, a brand new 1982, on April 1, 1983 - no significance to the April Fools date. The second one, a used 1983, in 1992, and the final one, a used but flawless 1981, in 1994.
Tamir: What motivated you to buy them and make changes to one of them?
Don Gowler: I used to be into sports cars in my late teens and early twenties. During that time I owned a couple of MGA's but I had to upgrade to a larger car due to a growing family. Well when I hit 40 I got the urge to get back driving a sports car on a full time basis. My first choice was a 1977 Corvette. I liked its style and it was in an affordable price range - $7K. My search to find one, which led me all over the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where I lived at the time, was unsuccessful. I could not find a likeable color and I found out after driving a few that I did not like the view of the front fender humps from the drivers position. The DeLorean had just come out and I was really intrigued with the uniqueness of the car but I did not even give it a thought because of its price range - low to mid twenties. Then a neighbor bought one and let me drive it home to show the family and the rest is history. They convinced me to dig into the bank account and buy one - a once in a life time chance, as the car was no longer being manufactured. I lowered it to improve it's standing appearance, added window shading because of the hot Texas sun, added an alarm system as I traveled around a lot, added a cruise control for the same traveling reason, and then removed the hood and grill emblems and put dark covers on the headlights to give the car a slick lower and wider appearance from the front.
The second car was purchased as an investment. It had very high mileage and needed a lot of work but was available at a very reasonable purchase price. My intent was to fix it up and re-sell it. That did happen but I really got intrigued with it while working on it because I enjoyed the education I was getting and subsequently found myself driving it a lot during the non-winter periods over the next couple of years, versus driving the 1982.
After working so much on the 1983 and getting it back into semi-factory condition I suddenly got the urge to own a real concours level car. Then along came one for sale in the area. It took a year to work out the pricing but we finally agreed and suddenly I had three DeLoreans. That's when I realized my garage space was too cramped, even with the hydraulic lift that houses two of them, so I then sold the 1983.
Tamir: At what point did you get involved with club activities?
Don Gowler: I tried unsuccessfully to find a club in the Dallas /Ft. Worth area but when I first moved to the Chicagoland area in the summer of 1985 my boss at the time noticed an article in the paper about a local DeLorean club. It so happens it was Chapter 7 of the DOA, which I immediately joined. I than became it's president in 1987. In 1993, after much conversation with the DOA about their decision to terminate Chapter status around the world and not recognize any clubs I renamed the club the "DeLorean Midwest Connection' and remain as it's president today.
Tamir: What DeLorean story sticks out in your mind since ownership?
Don Gowler: Probably the couple of times that people actually thought I was John DeLorean when they seen me with the car while travelling. It was real great to finally meet the 'man' himself at his home back in December of 1997.
Tamir: If you had a fantasy DeLorean, what changes would you make?
Don Gowler: Well I really have been there with my 1982; however, now having changed my attitude towards keeping the cars as original as possible I don't really have any fantasy thoughts on the car anymore. I have certainly seen some unique features added but in my opinion they take the car beyond, or should I say below, "DeLorean" status.
Tamir: Where do you see the future of DeLoreans going?
Don Gowler: I see a great demand today for the car from the younger group (teenagers). My fear however is that they want to do even more than what I did back in the early 80's, and that is change the car to something beyond what it was designed as. Overall though I really do see the value of the 'stock' cars appreciating in value over the next few years as more and more are brought out of storage and onto the roads.
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