The DeLorean has returned from ignominy. Plus the Big Ideas Graveyard.
The DeLorean-the gull-winged, steel-skinned, fastbacked coupe that shot Marty McFly back to the future-has returned from the boneyard of automotive ignominy. In Houston, Stephen Wynne's DeLorean Motor Company is building them from scratch at the rate of 25 per year. Prices start at $57,500 and include features like keyless entry. Time travel is not an option, though an eight-month waiting list suggests geeked-out nostalgia is the next best thing.More big ideas that weren't quite as big as everyone thought...
Big Ideas GraveyardFor every world-transforming idea, history is littered with notions that promised much but delivered little. We celebrate the winners, naturally, but we'd do well to remember the losers, too-if only as a cautionary lesson in our capacity for folly. Some ideas that never quite made it:The SegwayFew products could survive the hype of the Segway's debut. And yet still the faithful persist, whizzing past with their "I'm-traveling-at-four-miles-an-hour" grins. And all along we wonder: Isn't this what bikes are for?Pan Am Moon TicketHere's a ticket to the moon, said Pan Am. Come back to us in 50 years. Fifty years later, no flights to the moon and, more important, no more Pan Am.Y2KA boondoggle of the first order. Governments and companies burned $300 billion to correct a problem caused because computer geeks failed to remember that time, in fact, continues.Dymaxion HouseFor all of Buckminster Fuller's genius, he failed to account for taste. Definition of a tough sell: an aluminum house built in the manner of a grain silo, with a bathroom that shrink-wraps your shit.Oxygen BarsIt's hard to look cool when you're spending a dollar a minute sucking down a tube of otherwise free air. Also, the oxygen bartender is secretly laughing at you.Alex Rodriguez's Contract$175,370 per game. $47,528 per at bat. There is such a thing as too much money, but apparently this wasn't it, since A-Rod opted out to search for an even larger windfall.Jet PackIn a crushing disappointment to successive generations of Popular Science–ogling boys, this one never really, er, took off. What's so hard about thermodynamics and jet propulsion?