Sunday Drive: Bricklin SV-1

It just occurs to me while I clean out my image archive that I’ve collected a fair amount of great photos of some great (and not so great) automobiles, mostly courtesy of the Usenet group alt.binaries.pictures.autos. I think I’m going to start a little Sunday Tradition of my own here and post one photo from my collection each Sunday afternoon. And provide as much information about the subject vehicle as I can find. Hope you all enjoy. AND if you have any suggestions for any future postings, lemme know!

1975 Bricklin SV-1

I’m starting with one that I know a little bit about. The Bricklin SV-1 (“Safety Vehicle 1”) was the brainchild of Arizonan Malcolm Bricklin, who bought an abandoned auto plant in New Brunswick, Canada, and began manufacturing this ahead-of-its-time vehicle in 1974. I first came across the intriguing Bricklin while I was a teenager working part-time at a Chevrolet dealership in San Antonio in 1975. Although these cars sported powerful 351 Ford engines, they were being sold through Chevrolet dealerships! (Go figure!) The most outstanding feature of this car was its gullwing doors. While these weren’t the first of their kind (recall the earlier Mercedes), and certainly not the last (recall the De Lorean of the 1980s), they were certainly different in the very economy-conscious 1970s. And if you were a frugal individual, this car certainly was not for you, since its list price in 1975 was well over $11,000 — a very hefty chunk of change, considering that the same Chevrolet dealership sold fully loaded Corvettes for a “mere” $8,000-$9,000!

These cars are unusual, no doubt. And they are also quite rare. The Bricklin factory cranked out just over 2,800 of these cars between 1974 and 1976, when the plant was forced to close for lack of funds. A visit to the official Bricklin website will tell you that there are around 500 of these cars accounted for through the Bricklin registry. Their uniqueness extends even further: They came from the factory with no ashtray and no cigarette lighter. I can understand the automakers not wanting you to smoke in their beautiful car. Could Bricklin have ever foreseen the need for that DC connection to hook up our 21st-Century doodads? Radar detector (mandatory in a car with such a powerful engine!), portable vacuum cleaners, laptops and cell phones.

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