Find Your Car

Loading...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

1974-1976 Bricklin SV-1


Bricklin bristled with many innovative features, the most dramatic being hydraulically-mounted gull-wing doors. Less than 33 centimetres (12 inches) is needed to open the doors, thus minimizing  odious parking lot scratches.
Malcolm Bricklin made his millions as owner of a chain or hardware stores. He had a good life but he wanted more. The California-based entrepreneur began to  import the tiny Subaru 360 into the US market in the late 1960s. The Japanese micro car was actually laughable by North American industry standards but the quirky little critters sold and owning the import license made Bricklin a force to be reckoned with.

The 1968 Subaru 360.
In 1971 Bricklin resigned from his post as President of Subaru of America. He had bigger fish to fry. Opening a corporation in Delaware, the super salesman was ready to try his hand at creating a sports car. Well, safety car. Bricklin fired the first designer for creating a coupe that looked too much like the Datsun 240Z. Design guru Dick Dean then came up with sketches that appealed to the demanding tastes of owners. A prototype was ready in late 1972.

Changes were forced upon the design almost immediately. The original sleek and trim 1,600-pound prototype called for the use of off-the-shelf Japanese mechanical components. This was a world that Malcolm Bricklin understood. But signing deals became an elusive art and the car grew from harbouring an efficient four-cylinder German power plant under the fibreglass hood to take on Chrysler's slant six engine. That deal fell through, too.

The car would grow larger and heavier than ever intended when Bricklin finally wrangled 3,000 thunderous 360 (5.9-litre) V-8s from American Motors Corporation. These were competition engines rumoured to have been developed for a special AMC racing Javelin--a project that had been ultimately nixed by AMC management.

Malcolm Bricklin could sell microwaves ovens to the citizens of Hell. Armed with his prototype vehicle and a movie, he promoted his company, General Vehicle, Inc. The hype was amazingly effective.

Bricklin was revolutionary in using new approaches to automotive design and engineering. Passenger protection was a recurrent theme and to that end Bricklins came in five body-impregnated safety colours: Safety Red, Safety Green, Safety Suntan, Safety White and Safety Orange.

The body frame was made of tubular steel. Passengers sat in a steel roll cage. Innovative front and rear bumpers simply receded into space provided in the event of impact. Literature claimed the gull-wing doors were safer than ordinary doors, needing only 33 centimetres (12 inches) of clearance to function and when moving, hydraulically locked for safety.


Oh, and there was snob appeal, too. Bricklin was shameless; this car came with no options. One could choose automatic or manual transmission but the list of standard features was exhaustive, including such premium goodies air conditioning, space-age acrylic exterior surface, mag-style aluminum cast wheels, custom suede-like interiors and a digital clock. The one thing one couldn't order on a Bricklin was a cigarette lighter because Malcolm Bricklin believed that smoking while driving was not safe and he didn't want you "...dropping a hot cigarette in your lap and driving our beautiful (Bricklin) car into a tree."

Spinning this yarn for potential investors, Malcolm raised more than a million dollars . With cash in hand it was time to put the car on the road. A deal was almost inked for a factory when Bricklin heard about space up for grabs in Canada.

The French automobile consortium of Renault-Peugeot-Citroen was winding down assembly of its Canadian products in the suburbs of Montreal. Bricklin was interested in taking over the St. Bruno facility that came with an already trained work force. Talks were held but failed when the Government of Quebec balked at having to cough up $7 million for a minority shareholder position in the company. It didn't sit well in Quebec City that Bricklin was perceived as being all promoter with no management skills.


Bricklin was a quick study and that experience prompted him to rapidly put together a first-rate team of of managers, each with a most impressive array of credentials. General Vehicle Inc. was suddenly talent laden with folks from Ford, Chrysler's British subsidiary and Renault. The experienced team would prove itself as soon as it could find a manufacturing home.

Through accountants' gossip the Bricklin team got in touch with New Brunswick's Multiplex Corporation. Multiplex was a Crown corporation created by Premier Richard Hatfield's government to bring industry into the province. Multiplex had a good track record of bringing jobs to the ruggedly beautiful but poor Maritime province including Venus Electric, a manufacturer of personal-care products, principally hot hair curlers and curling irons.

Canada Post issued a Bricklin stamp in 1996.

Bricklin and the people of New Brunswick would do business together. Things looked good even after the federal government agency responsible for giving out job venture grants in the hard-pressed Atlantic Provinces refused to kick in for the Bricklin project.

In 2003 the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $20 coin honouring Bricklin.

A second blow was delivered when the federal minister responsible refused to allow Bricklin access to the duty-free Auto Pact accord between the United States and Canada. Despite the setbacks the project was still considered viable by all accounts. Bricklin Canada Limited was established. The Canadian company would sell completed vehicles to the Bricklin Vehicle Corporation of Scottsdale, Arizona.

New Brunswick's citizens became the majority shareholders as 51% of the shares were purchased by the province. Premier Hatfield announced that the government of New Brunswick would back the deal with some $9 million worth of loans and loan guarantees.

Malcolm Bricklin and his sporty namesake in the Saint John factory.

The factory in Saint John was far too small from the very beginning, so the space-age acrylic fibreglass body panels were built in Minto, New Brusnwick and shipped to the port city. Losses were staggering from the very beginning. nearly two thirds of the Minto plant's body production had to be scrapped and then another 25% of what arrived in Saint John was damaged beyond repair.

The situation was exasperating to say the least. The 200 dealers in the United States wanted their cars but by the end of calendar year 1974 only 800 or so of the Safety Vehicles had trickled out of the Saint John factory. 
Bricklin production projections were pegged at 12,000 units for the first year, 30,000 the second, 50,000 the third and 100,000 at the end of four years.
 Problems got solved and production kicked up a notch. One change was AMC's power plant was dropped in favour of Ford's 5.7-litre (351-cubic inch) V-8. More than 2,000 Bricklins were built and shipped in 1975 but money became scarce. Malcolm Bricklin went hat in hand to Fredericton where Premier Hatfield guaranteed to pump more money into the company if the private sector would offer matching funds.

A total of 2,854 Bricklins were built over three years.

Sadly, there were no takers and Bricklin Canada Limited slipped into receivership in September of 1975. Canadian Press reported that 183 vehicles were in various stages of assembly at the time the plant closed. This author lived in Saint John at that time and remembers peering through the factory's chain link fence in foggy damp winter rains after the plant closed, watching brightly coloured Bricklins being loaded onto car carriers for undisclosed designations.

While the original plan called for the Bricklin to be built in Canada, the smart two-seater couple could not be purchased by Canadians. Regardless, a few Bricklins were sold here at home. Records show that 13 Bricklins were registered domestically in 1975 and a further 117 were registered in 1976.


Had Bricklin been successful the next generation might have looked like these renderings, dubbed 'Chairman'.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Copyright James C. Mays 1999
 All rights reserved.

12 comments:

junk car prices said...

great blog and the cars are pretty cool too..very classic one.

Graham Clayton said...

After working for Malcolm Bricklin, Herh Grasse worked for Ford Australia in the late 1970's and 1980's on the XD Falcon, Laser and Telstar.

dong dong said...

2015716dongdong
true religion outlet
toms shoes
longchamp handbags
michael kors outlet online
jordan shoes
jordan shoes
adidas outlet
chanel handbags
mont blanc pens
oakley sunglasses
longchamp outlet
chanel outlet
louis vuitton outlet
cheap jerseys
ray ban glasses
longchamp handbags
adidas outlet store
michael kors outlet online
cheap jordans
nike air max
true religion
michael kors outlet
tory burch sale
kate spade
tod's shoes
pandara jewelry
abercrombie store
true religion outlet
abercrombie store
oakley sunglasses sale
toms shoes
coach outlet
toms outlet
copy watches
chanel bags outlet
oakley sunglasses
michael kors handbags
hollister

陈晓 said...

mont blanc

new balance

air max 2015

nike outlet

nike running shoes

nike free

nike running

nike air max

nike mercurial

roshe run

cheap nike shoes

north face jackets

north face jackets women

oakley sunglasses outlet

oakley outlet

oakley vault

cheap oakley sunglasses

omega watches

pandora sale

pandora charms

ralph lauren outlet

prada outlet

prada outlet

prada shoes for men

louis vuitton outlet

louis vuitton handbags

marc jacobs bags sale

mcm bags

mcm handbags

michael kors outlet store

michael kors outlet online

michael kors outlet

michael kors uk

supra shoes

swarovski outlet

swarovski outlet

dong dong23 said...

kobe bryant shoes
air jordan retro
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
toms
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet
toms outlet
mont blanc pens
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet online
toms shoes
coach factory outlet
coach outlet
tiffany and co
gucci shoes
michael kors outlet
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet
gucci outlet
jordans
michael kors outlet
abercrombie & fitch
nike trainers
tods outlet
nike huarache
coach outlet store online
cheap jordan shoes
tory burch outlet
nike free run 2
true religion outlet
rolex watches
insanity workout
michael kors outlet online
michael kors uk
ugg outlet
ray ban sunglasses
asics running shoes
michael kors handbags
20164.20wengdongdong

Gege Dai said...

mac cosmetics
new york jets jerseys
san diego chargers jerseys
seattle seahawks jerseys
air jordan 11
ed hardy clothing
texans jerseys
houston texans jerseys
cleveland cavaliers jersey
vikings jerseys
jaguars jersey
hollister canada
cleveland browns jersey
eagles jerseys
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
nike free running
valentino outlet
golden state warriors jersey
air max uk
new balance outlet
saints jerseys
minnesota vikings jersey
puma outlet
oklahoma city thunder
foamposite shoes
puma shoes
polo pas cher
nike roshe run shoes
carolina jerseys
miami dolphins jerseys
ysl outlet online
cleveland cavaliers jerseys
tennessee titans jerseys
new york giants jerseys
cleveland cavaliers
linyuan0428

Hua Cai said...

fitflop clearance
burberry outlet store
tiffany outlet
rolex watches
nike roshe run
soccer jerseys
nike air force 1
cheap soccer jerseys
polo ralph lauren
babyliss pro
tory burch outlet
cheap jordan shoes
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet
rolex watches
air max 90
reebok trainers
michael kors outlet
jordan shoes
coach outlet store
burberry sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
adidas wings shoes
louis vuitton outlet online
fitflops sale clearance
thomas sabo uk
ferragamo outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
michael kors canada
ralph lauren uk
true religion jeans
cartier outlet store
celine outlet online
nike air max
lululemon outlet online
20160517caihuali

Gege Dai said...

toms outlet store
nike air max 2015
longchamp
lebron shoes
ray-ban sunglasses
christian louboutin uk
ray-ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet
true religion outlet
mulberry bags
fitflops clearance
adidas trainers
true religion jeans
rolex outlet
tods outlet
cheap football shirts
kobe bryants shoes
kate spade handbags
hermes birkin
air jordan 13
instyler ionic styler
nike roshe run
mlb jerseys
beats headphones
polo shirts
michael kors handbags clearance
cheap nba jerseys
tory burch shoes
louis vuitton outlet stores
cheap oakley sunglasses
ferragamo outlet
louis vuitton bags cheap
czq20160712

xjd7410@gmail.com said...

coach canada
kobe 9
coach factory outlet
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
asics shoes
nike outlet store
asics outlet
jordan shoes
adidas shoes
true religion jeans
gucci handbags
polo ralph lauren outlet
jordan 11
tory burch handbags
coach outlet store online
ray ban sunglasses outlet
jordan retro 11
oakley vault
nfl jerseys wholesale
hollister shirts
louis vuitton handbags
adidas ultra boost
adidas uk
coach outlet
nike roshe run
burberry outlet
coach outlet
chenyingying2016803

dada24 Xu said...

kate spade bags
michael kors outlet clearance
louis vuitton purse
adidas nmd runner
coach outlet store online
burberry outlet stores
nike blazer
pandora jewelry
jimmy choo outlet store
ugg outlet
michael kors purses
nike air max 95
ugg outlet
birkenstock outlet
coach factory outlet
uggs outlet
adidas nmd uk
designer handbags wholesale
reebok shoes
uggs
bottes ugg pas cher
michael kors outlet online
pandora charms
rolex replica watches
michael kors outlet online
north face outlet
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet online
moncler pas cher
michael kors bags
nike free 5.0
red bottoms outlet online
louboutin shoes
coach outlet store online clearance
coach purses on sale
ugg boots outlet
2016831caian

dada24 Xu said...

toms shoes
ugg boots
the north face outlet
ugg boots
bottega veneta
canada goose
pandora jewelry
birkenstocks
ralph lauren outlet online
fitflops
2016106caiyan

mmjiaxin said...

christian louboutin outlet
adidas tubular runner
oakley store online
huarache shoes
http://www.christian-louboutin-outlet.uk
true religion sale
true religion jeans
cheap oakley sunglasses
nike roshe run
huaraches shoes

Post a Comment

Please share what you think about today's thoughts by posting a comment here.