Controversial local tycoon recalled in film

The DeLorean Estate featured an adobe house designed by Weir Bros.

The recent 40th anniversary screening of a documentary film on the life of John DeLorean, who had a long-standing and controversial connection to Pauma Valley and Valley Center, rekindled interest in the man hailed as a tycoon. automobile, industrialist, innovator – and an accused con artist and suspected criminal.

John DeLorean was all of this and more, with a name as famous and eponymous as the automobile that bears his name.

In addition to personal issues, and there were many, his local residence was also mired in controversy. The estate spanned 500 acres atop a hill from Pauma Valley to Valley Center.

According to documentation collected and maintained by the Valley Center Historical Society, DeLorean told a local real estate agent in 1972 that he read an advertisement for a property for sale in an airline magazine. The following year, he left his management position at General Motors where he graduated from an engineer and was on the verge of becoming president.

Instead, in 1973 he started his own auto business and purchased a nearly 5,000 square foot adobe house set amid 277 acres of citrus and avocado trees overlooking both Pauma Valley and Valley Center. . He will subsequently increase the area to 500 acres in a street named Cuesta de Camellia (Camellia Hill).

Although the DeLorean automobile was widely known and promoted, within a decade the company became insolvent and went bankrupt. In 1982, he was arrested for cocaine trafficking after the FBI reported that he was trying to save his failing business.

In a lawsuit that ended in 1984, DeLorean was acquitted of all charges but forced to sell his local estate which was then reduced to 84 acres. Instead of paying his lawyer over $ 2.6 million for a successful legal defense, DeLorean turned Camellia Hill to the lawyer. The lawyer then sold the house which has been resold twice, most recently in 2018 for $ 2.2 million.

Today the property covers 17 acres and is owned by a company called EH Astin Farm LLC which rents the house as a retreat. He currently rents for $ 950 per night.

Of the 9,000 DeLorean cars manufactured, approximately 6,500 are believed to be still in service. The car also lives like a time machine in the movie “Back to the Future”.

While living locally, DeLorean had a large investment in the San Diego Chargers. He was married to model actress Christina Ferrara. The automotive hub passed away in 2005 at the age of 80.

For more information, visit the Valley Center History Museum at 29200 Cole Grade Road. The museum is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum can also be reached by phone at 760-749-2993 or via its website at

The controversial pivot with its famous gull-winged car.

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