It was the car that had it all. Gull-winged doors that wouldn't open when you put it in the garage; a stainless steel body that left a mass of fingerprints whenever you touched it, and an engine that made it go like a lorry. Fifteen years ago this month, the De Lorean car company collapsed, owing pounds 40m What happened?

Underfinanced This might sound odd with De Lorean able to syphon pounds 9m off in to a ski company in the States. But he kept asking for more money, so he must have needed it.

And the Labour government seemed only too keen to give it At a cabinet meeting on 26 July 1978 the then Northern Ireland secretary Roy Mason voiced his approval for the project. De Lorean's credentials were much admired. A factory set up by a man who had reached the heights in General Motors, only to be eased out, seemed ideal. Two thousand new jobs in Northern Ireland appeared one way to transform the situation there. Ultimately, for the worse - a report submitted to the government by McKinsey Associates called it "an extraordinarily risky venture". So they gave pounds 47m.

Please Sir, can I have some more? The Conservative Party took over, but policy toward De Lorean stayed the same. He went back for more - pounds 21m in July 1980, then pounds 10m in February 1981. Forty seven million pounds later that year really seemed to be going a bit far. At last he was refused and the company went into immediate receivership.

Health, wealth and happiness De Lorean seemed largely unaffected. A chain of health clubs opened in 1986, echoing his own personal state. "I take good care of myself. That is why, in spite of all my stress, I've never had any problems." Pleas of poverty that resulted from receivers moving in in 1992 were curious bearing in mind his possession of a pounds 4.5m penthouse, and so much art that the cleaners complained about the dusting.