On March 19th, the 12th anniversary of John DeLorean’s death, I visited the site of the 1981 DeLorean QAC (Quality Assurance Center) in Santa Ana, CA at 3500 W. MacArthur Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92704. I’ve been wanting to come to this site for a while, and being that it was a beautiful 68° Sunday afternoon, and a significant day in DeLorean history, I figured it was time to uncover the car and make the 15 minute drive. I txt’d several other local owners and posted on the OC DeLorean Meetups group, but only one person showed – Ron Ferguson.
The location is now a Home Depot, but in 1981 the site temporarily stored thousands of DeLoreans as each car was quality checked before they were delivered to the dealers. The majority of the cars were sent by ship from their original home in Belfast, Ireland, and were offloaded at the Port of Long Beach.
Ron and I parked side by side at the back of the parking lot and chatted about all things DeLorean. There were plenty of Home Depot customers who took extra turns around the parking lot to see two DeLoreans side-by-side, as well as the popular ‘thumbs-up’, a few picture takers, and of course lots of smiles.
(Left/Top) 2017 Home Depot parking lot | (Right/Bottom) 1981 DeLorean QAC – photo from DeLoreanPOGs.com
But, it was the last person who parked and came over that really made my day. He was an older gentleman who came up and said he had some trivia for us, but he said we probably know most of the answers. He asked if we knew where the cars were built. Of course we did, and answered that one. Then he asked if we knew where the cars were shipped to, which we also answered. Then he asked if we knew where the cars went after landed in Long Beach. I was pretty shocked at the question, and answered “Right here, where you’re standing.” I think HE was surprised that knew that one. It turns out, he owns a building right next door in the industrial park, and he’s worked in his building since before DMC became his neighbor. He said he watched thousands of cars get parked in the lot as they came in on trailers. He also confirmed that once DMC left, the original building was torn down, and Costco built the building that’s there now – but it was too small of a lot for them, so they moved down the street, and Home Depot moved in to the space.
What a fun treat to visit a DeLorean history site, and then to talk with someone who saw the cars come in and go out.