‘I didn't think sensible people would take the DeLorean advert seriously,’ says Valentine. ‘Of course, I realise there are some very stupid people out there but I didn't think any would really believe you could get a DeLorean in 2013. It was made by an American cocaine baron in Northern Ireland from aluminium foil, after all, and was discontinued pretty quickly.’
However, there is one reason that a buyer might be keen to get their hands on the DeLorean. The car rose to fame back after the release of cult classic Back To The Future. It was the car in which a young Michael J Fox and an eccentric ‘Doc’ Christopher Lloyd drove into brief rifts in the space/time continuum (with dramatic and often hilarious) results.
The DeLorean was unique because the doors opened like a gull's wing, but its manufacture was stopped due to safety concerns in late 1982. Just 9,000 had rolled off the production line.
Ling Valentine first rose to fame when she pitched on Dragons’ Den back in 2007 - and famously turned down the cash. It was a brazen stunt to get on the telly, she admits, and Valentine has been using spoofs, gags and publicity stunts to draw attention to her business ever since. Indeed, the DeLorean isn't the first spoof advert she's run: 'No one complained about my Robin Reliant spoof offer,' she says. 'Not enough Del Boy fans out there.'
When Valentine was originally contacted by the ASA, she thought it was a practical joke. 'I couldn't believe they were taking such a stupidly malicious complaint seriously. It's an indication of today's society that the ASA feel that stupid people should be protected from evil people like me, who force-sell 30-year-old cars that don't exist to people with the mental capacity of a mouse.'
Valentine's entire correspondence with the ASA is published here.
'The ASA insist I remove the spoof advert. I have refused,' she continues, 'they are stamping their feet but are more annoyed that they might look very silly. In an email yesterday, they told me they may add me to a list of non-compliant advertisers and: 'This will appear as a natural search result on a Google search for Lingscars.com so potential customers might see it.' - so LINGsCARS get free Google SEO from them, from a respected source. Great! That's £1,000 of free SEO, right there.'
Ling: 1. ASA: 0.