Neal Barclay, Antrim, Northern Ireland ....
WHAT ITS MEANS TO ME 25 YEARS ON AFTER WORKING AT DELOREAN MOTOR CARS LTD.
by Neal Barclay

Well it all started for me when I worked at the British Enkalon factory at Antrim where I lived at the time. British Enkalon made man-made fibres but things were not good in the industry at the time. I was talking to a workmate one day, and he told me that DeLorean Motor Cars were looking for workers, I told him that I seen it on the news and in the papers. Up to then I was in full time employment from the time I left school. So I sent off for an application form. Well after a few weeks I went for two interviews then I got a letter to say that I was offered a position as traffic and dispatch operator.

I started work on the 16th March 1981. The first day was spent getting talks about the company and photos taken for my ID, also a tour of the factory. I was given an information pack, which I have to this day as well as my ID pass. The next few days more workers were taken on. There we were, a small team of us. Half of us worked at the factory, the others worked at the compound at the docks in Belfast.

We met the transporter drivers who were up to practices putting the cars on to the transporters. Also when it was quiet I would go out with the van driver to some of the suppliers. After a few weeks the first production cars came over to us, they were checked for missing labels, protective padding attached. Then the cars were driven out of the building lined up for the transporters.

As the weeks passed the production increased ready for the first shipment to the US west coast, Long Beach in California. The day was Easter Sunday April 19th 1981. I was not picked to work that day, but I went down anyway with my camera, as I knew that this was history in the making. All the world’s press were there, for once this was a good news story that was coming out of Belfast. Also this was the day that some said would not happen: the first sports car to be built in Northern Ireland, being shipped out to the US in record time.

Looking back now after 25 years this was the proudest moment for all my workmates, and me. This was part of Northern Ireland’s industrial history as well as DeLorean history. As the production increased to 80 cars a day, like the Titanic it was full steam ahead. More workers were taken on, all I had to do was drive the cars out of the building ready for the transporters. What a job I had driving a DeLorean living my dream. Then a year later the dream turned to nightmare, on the 31st May 1982 I lost my job I loved and to this day it was the best job I ever had! There were workers there that not had a job before, for me I never lost a job before, so I had to face unemployment for the first time. It was very hard for me to do. It took me three years before I got a full time job again. I had to be retrained. I got my HGV licence and got jobs in the haulage industry. I had to face unemployment a few times over the years but not as long as after DeLorean. I work now for Belfast City Council, still driving.

Even after 25 years it still hurts losing my job at DeLorean but it is too easy to blame people for what went wrong. Over the last few years I have met owners from Ireland and the UK and other parts of the world and seen some great DeLoreans, and just at the end of may 2006 we had Eurofest, over two hundred people 76 cars, from 16 countries, driving through Belfast my home city. Seeing that was special but taking part was something else. The highlight of eurofest was seeing I think it was 80 cars at the factory and also bring the picture of the car back after 25 years. And seeing peoples faces after george told them.

Meeting owners from across Europe and the U S, e.g. the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden Norway, Belgium, France, Italy, and as far away as Australia and the Bahamas.

I hope the two goverments in Ireland and maybe the E U will now take note of this event and help with funding for the next one, so that I can live the dream all over again, and look forward to the next 25 years.

Neal Barclay
Former Employee of DMCL (Dunmurry) 20 Nov 06.