Bonhams auctions the 20th century's 'most controversial' car...

One of the 20th century's most controversial and fabled motor cars, a 1981 DeLorean DMC12 Coupé, will be sold by Bonhams as part of the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 2.

This example is especially unique, having once been owned and driven by Miranda Guinness, Countess of Iveagh.

The automobile, previously on long-term display at the Robert Guinness Steam Museum in Dublin and the Irish Museum of Transport, has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £15,000 - 20,000.

The brainchild of ex-General Motors executive John Zachary DeLorean, the DeLorean sports car project found a home in Northern Ireland following a grant from the British government.

Under the helm of a former Pontiac designer, Bill Collins, the car attracted much attention for its stylish coupé body and doors which opened in a distinctive 'gull-wing' fashion.

Miranda Guinness, Countess of Iveagh's 1981 DeLorean DMC12 Coupé

The highly-anticipated DeLorean finally arrived in 1980 but quickly ran into quality control problems that were never recovered. This was further exacerbated to the creator's indictment on drug charges in 1982.

A high point for the DeLorean car was its starring role in director Steven Spielberg's Back to the Future trilogy - thanks to which the DMC-12 today remains one of the most distinctive cars of the 1980s.

This left-hand drive example of the car has only 19,400 miles on the clock, and has been maintained to the highest standards. Miranda Guinness has been the only owner of the car.

Miranda Guinness, Countess of Iveagh, married Arthur Francis Benjamin Guinness, 3rd Earl of Iveagh, in 1963. The family seat, currently home to their son Arthur Edward Rory Guinness, 4th Earl of Iveagh, is Elveden Hall in Suffolk, UK.

This 1981 DMC-12 auctioned for $23,100 in 2007

It is expected that the sale of the Countess of Iveagh's car will continue the success of DeLorean on the auction block. Earlier this week a rare 1981 Delorean DMC12 realised £95,000 at Barons' classic cars auction in Sandown Park, UK.

Other high-profile auction results include a 1976 DeLorean DMC-12 original prototype, sold for $110,000 at RM Auctions in 2007 alongside another 1981 DMC-12 (pictured above) which realised $23,100.

Interested collectors can acquire a DeLorean for around $57,500 or as little as $20,000, while a souped-up version can sell for as much as $63,350. (You can see our special report, The Fall and Rise of Delorean, here.)

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