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Made In Chicago: DeLorean Midwest

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's one thing to repair a Chevy or a Ford, but where do you go to fix a DeLorean?

DeLorean Midwest, in northwest suburban Crystal Lake, specializes in repairs to the classic stainless steel cars.

John DeLorean hoped to build 30,000 of the distinctive gull-winged sports cars each year, but only 10,000 were ever made. Some parts can be bought off-the-shelf, but most are unique to the DeLorean.

Enter collector-turned-dealer Dave Swingle.

"It's a hobby gone wrong," Swingle quipped.

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DeLorean Midwest in Crystal Lake is one of only five official DeLorean repair shops in the U.S. (Credit: Bob Roberts/WBBM)

Some of Swingle's customers drive their DeLoreans in to his shop, but shop manager Michael McElhattin said many ship them from as far away as Nebraska, New York, and northern Canada.

"At least a third of our business is cars that have come in that haven't seen the road in a decade or more, and the owner's just ready to get it back on the road," he said.

The Bosch fuel injection system in DeLoreans doesn't like old gas, but that's not the repair owners hate to see the most. Swingle said that would be the left front fender, which you can't buy new.

"It's kind of interesting to explain to insurance companies why one fender costs four times more than the other one,"he said.


Right now, McElhattin said the shop and storage area are full, with one DeLorean in the showroom, 10 in the shop, and another 19 in storage.

"We try to pack the rafters with cars to get us through that season, but in a way it's not our busy season, because nobody's looking go get a car back until spring," he said.

While DeLorean Midwest has not worked on any of the DeLoreans from the "Back to the Future" trilogy, he said the 1980s movies made them famous.

"Because of the movie, there's a huge age range that recognizes the car," he said.

There are only five official DeLorean repair shops in the United States, and DeLorean Midwest in Crystal Lake is the place to take them if you want the repairs Made in Chicago.

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The interior of a DeLorean at DeLorean Midwest in Crystal Lake. (Credit: Bob Roberts/WBBM)
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