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The market for the classic Pontiac GTO and the DeLorean Motor Cars gull-wing coupe already are feeling the effects of John Z. DeLorean's death, according to the Volo Auto Museum.

DeLorean suffered a stroke Thursday, March 17 and died late Saturday, March 19. He was 80.

The museum, 27582 W. Volo Village Road, Volo, IL, is home to the world's largest collection of muscle cars, including the cars DeLorean is most famous for designing and engineering -- the 1964 Pontiac GTO, considered by most experts to be the first muscle car, the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and the DMC gull-wing coupe driven by Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future II."

"I consider John DeLorean the father of the muscle car," Museum President Greg Grams said. "He was an artist, and the value of his work will increase with his passing just like Picasso, Rembrandt or any other artist."

In addition to displaying antique, muscle and famous Hollywood cars, the museum sells about 80 classic cars each month. When DeLorean became terminally ill, news spread fast among the collector-car market, Grams said.

The museum has sold three GTOs in the last four days, including a 1969 GTO convertible for over $100,000. Grams said the price of DMC gull-wings, which have sold for $15,000-$20,000 since 1983, also are likely to increase in the next few days. The museum's most current GTO prices are available at http://www.volocars.com/ .

"It is a phenomenon we have never experienced," said Grams, who has owned the museum since 1960. "It is impossible to tell at this point where these prices will top out."

Along with Carroll Shelby, creator of the Shelby Mustang, and a handful of others, DeLorean revolutionized the automotive world in the 1960s by taking seriously the truism "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday."

Shelby, who is 82 and received a heart transplant in 1990, will host a car show at the museum on May 28, 2005. The museum was in preliminary talks with DeLorean to do the same in 2006.

"Unfortunately for us, John ran out of time," Grams said. "We are fast approaching the end of an era."

Source: Volo Auto Museum
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