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

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Gullwing doors and impact-absorbing bumpers were signature features of the Bricklin

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. 

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. 

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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.

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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.

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.”

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

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

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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.

4 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🙃🙂🏁

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