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Even though he’s probably best known in connection with nerd and questionably Oedipal pop culture juggernaut Back To The Future John Z. DeLorean, American auto tycoon and inventor of the DMC-12, was possibly one of the most frat men ever to live.
From his humble origins in working class Detroit, Johnny studied and hustled his way into a cushy mid-level engineering gig at General Motors after briefly attending and dropping out of law school. From there, he climbed the corporate ladder to both invent what is widely considered the first American muscle car (Pontiac GTO) and become the youngest division head in GM history. As everyone knows, powerful cars and corporate success are a solid basis of frat credentials, but it’s not enough to get you to the top.
That’s why Johnny struck out on his own, funding extravagant promotional tours on the company dime, sinking money into the Yankees and the Chargers, hanging around with GM arch rival Lee Iacocca, and wearing unbuttoned shirts with a pair of sick sideburns. The GM head office was constantly irritated by DeLorean’s wild non-conformity, but Johnny was making them so much money they had to just shut up and take it. But while having your insane competence force others to kiss your ass no matter what you do is one of the core points of distinction for the truly “frat,” DeLorean still wasn’t there yet.
That’s when he turned down a big promotion, told his bosses to eat shit, and started his own company, the DeLorean motor company. Their first product: the legendary DMC-12 AKA the Back To The Future car, a glorious, beautiful, gull-winged monstrosity with an underpowered engine and an exorbitant price tag.
It bombed spectacularly. Soon Johhny was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and still several years from Steven Spielberg making his car a permanent part of pop culture.
This was when Johhny crossed the threshold of high frat-chievement and ascended to the level of legend: where anyone else would have thrown in the towel, John Z. DeLorean hatched a plan to save his company by smuggling and importing a shit-load of cocaine. No, really.
On October 19th, 1982 DeLorean was arrested by the FBI after trying to initiate the smuggling scheme with an FBI informant. And you know what? Your boy actually got off. He was acquitted after the court found that the FBI had entrapped DeLorean and set him up in the sting.
Pissing away guaranteed success, shooting for the stars, failing spectacularly, and your solution being to turn cartel-class drug dealer? That’s frat AF.
John Z. DeLorean earns his place in Frat History as one of the frattest men of all time..
Image via Youtube