DeLorean DMC-12 (Jerry S. Mendoza/AP Photo)

Larger image

Released: 1981
Backed by: DeLorean Motor Company

You know the DeLorean from Back to the Future; the auto industry knows the DeLorean as one of the biggest catastrophes in the history of personal vehicles. Ah, yes, the DeLorean, the innovative sports-car-turned-time-machine boasts a cautionary tale involving celebrity investors, cocaine and the FBI. Back in 1981, the DeLorean was released amid much fanfare by John DeLorean, an American auto exec who fronted a reported $700,000 of his own money to launch the car. The rest of the $175 million needed to form the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was provided by government grants and celebs such as Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis, Jr., who never saw much of a return on their money. The DMC went bankrupt in 1982 following DeLorean's arrest on drug trafficking charges by the FBI. Though he was eventually found not guilty, the high-profile trial sunk the automaker, which only manufactured some 9,000 of the cars before shutting its doors.

* Oddest corporate sponsorships
* Online poker millionaires
* Famous pre-nup screw-ups