De Lorean, John

De Lorean, John (Zachary)

(1925–  ) automobile executive; born in Detroit, Mich. He was an engineer who in a meteoric career in the Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions of General Motors (1956–73) introduced the Tempest, Firebird, and Vega, obtained many patents for innovative engineering, and was influential in shifting U.S. manufacturers to smaller cars in the 1960s. A number of later ventures, including his De Lorean Motor Co. (founded 1974), failed. In 1982 he was arrested and subsequently convicted on drug trafficking charges, but he maintained he had been entrapped.