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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1975 Bricklin SV-1, bold but short-lived ‘safety vehicle’

Pick of the Day: 1975 Bricklin SV-1, bold but short-lived ‘safety vehicle’

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When automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin set out to create a vehicle bearing his own name, he wanted a car that was completely different, one that would expand the boundaries of safety, style and performance.  The result was a resounding flop, but it has become a funky collector car for offbeat hobbyists.

The Bricklin SV-1, a two-seat sports coupe with gullwing doors and a body made of acrylic resin bonded to fiberglass, was built with such safety features as an integrated roll cage and impact-absorbing bumpers. The SV in its name stood for Safety Vehicle. 

bricklin, Pick of the Day: 1975 Bricklin SV-1, bold but short-lived ‘safety vehicle’, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Pick of the Day is a 1975 Bricklin SV-1 in bright yellow, with 13,310 miles showing on its odometer after being in the same family for 43 years, according to the private seller in Piper City, Illinois, who is advertising the Bricklin on ClassicCars.com.

Malcolm Bricklin was a bigger-than-life character who charmed the Canadian government into investing in his automotive venture, with the cars built in economically depressed New Brunswick. But the timing was terrible for launching a V8-powered sports car, right into the jaws of the 1970s fuel crisis, and the Bricklin’s styling was, shall we say, controversial. 

bricklin

Bricklins also were plagued by design and quality-control issues from the beginning, including problems with the electrically operated gullwing doors that could fail and trap people inside.

Fewer than 3,000 cars were produced for 1974-75, with the leftovers sold as 1976 models, before the brand went out of existence amidst the fog of bankruptcy and political scandal. Not too many of them are left, although there is a national club of enthusiastic Bricklin owners.

bricklin, Pick of the Day: 1975 Bricklin SV-1, bold but short-lived ‘safety vehicle’, ClassicCars.com Journal

AMC 360cid V8s powered the first batch of SV-1 coupes, with later cars were switched to Ford 351cid engines, all fed through automatic transmissions.  This Bricklin appears to be powered by the Ford engine.

The owner of the Bricklin says it runs well, although it could use some TLC.  There is, however, an ominous warning: “The gull wing doors do experience problems occasionally.”

bricklin, Pick of the Day: 1975 Bricklin SV-1, bold but short-lived ‘safety vehicle’, ClassicCars.com Journal

The asking price is cheap enough, at $9,500. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah man, my Mom’s best friend, Mrs. Machamer, used to come over in Her RED&WHITE Metropolitan. She was real Open and let me Drive it around our Driveway.
    It was VERY Exciting as i was only in 9th Grade and it was the First StickShifT Car i ever drove. I Shifted it from 1st to 3rd! as i didn’t yet know the Column Shift pattern, 1964, FUNny🙃🙂🏁

  2. The first 700 cars from 1974 had most of the problems/bugs, the 75 models had a lot less problems. Name another car in 1975 that did not have quality problems. The Bricklin turned out to survive very well over the last 40 years. A safer and more reliable car than most 1975 cars. I drove my 75 Bricklin SV1 across the country to win car shows. Drove it like a modern car. Did not have any problems, never brought tools with me. They are a very fun car to drive. And none else at a car show has one. I have AACA Grand National First and I drove it 634 miles to get the award in a heat wave, through rain storms, and with the A/C on. Prices are going up rapidly on the well kept ones…I wonder why.

  3. My brother Joe, has a White AMC 360, 4 speed Bricklin, (the last 4 speed built). He purchased it new back east to bring to California to have fun in the sun. It used to be a showcar, won many awards, also 1st in its class. Low miles on it. Upgraded Gullwing doors, AC and sound system. He used to own an auto sound system and Bricklin shop, and was one of the founders of California Bricklins.
    They’re Beautiful, unique cars. I’ve owned a couple as well. The most fun I’ve ever had driving.

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