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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Festival celebrates the De Lorean
The gull-wing sports car John DeLorean built near Belfast
The gull-wing sports car was built near Belfast
De Lorean car owners from across the world are holding a four day festival in Northern Ireland to celebrate the vehicle's 20th anniversary.

More than 200 drivers are expected to congregate in Belfast on Thursday - at the location where the cars began being built in 1981.

The highlight of Eurofest 2001 will be the opportunity for the car owners to drive around the original test track at the Dunmurry factory.

The De Lorean company collapsed in 1982, four years after the government began funding the project with 77m of public money and amid money laundering allegations.

Thousands built

The car, with its gull-wing doors and futuristic image, found fame in the 1980s in the hit film Back to the Future.

At its height, the factory employed about 3,000 people and built several thousand cars.

Former employees are also expected to attend the event, which goes on until 27 May.

Eurofest 2001 organiser Robert Lamrock
Eurofest 2001 organiser Robert Lamrock

The festival is held every fours years and is organised by Robert Lamrock of the De Lorean Owners Association.

On Friday, a convoy of De Loreans will embark on a scenic rally around the north County Down coast.

The owners will spend Saturday at the former factory in Dunmurry and visit the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim on Sunday.

Last year, John De Lorean lost a five-year bankruptcy court battle in the United States to hold onto his mansion and estate.

The courts in the state of New Jersey ordered the sale in an effort to pay off De Lorean's creditors who were believed to be owed about 20m.

De Lorean was instructed to sell off the 434-acre estate in Bedminster for $15m to a golf course developer.

Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation, the largest of De Lorean's creditors, won the title to the house and estate in March 1999.

Undisclosed damages

John De Lorean: declared bankrupt
John De Lorean: Declared bankrupt
De Lorean, 75, had hoped to get $30m from the estate's sale to pay off his remaining creditors and build a golf resort and equestrian centre on the property.

But proceeds from the sale went directly to De Lorean's creditors.

In 1997, the British government accepted undisclosed damages from accountancy firm Arthur Andersen over the venture.

It ended a 12-year legal battle between the government and the firm, which audited the failed car company's accounts.

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13 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
Debt forces DeLorean out of mansion
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