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|Manufacturer||General Vehicle DBA Bricklin|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||two-door coupé|
|Engine||AMC 360 V8 (1974)
Ford Windsor 351 V8 (1975–76)
|Wheelbase||96.0 in (2,438 mm)|
|Length||178.6 in (4,536 mm)|
|Width||67.6 in (1,717 mm)|
|Height||48.15 in (1,223 mm) (doors closed)|
|Curb weight||3,470 lb (1,570 kg)|
The Bricklin SV-1 is a gull-wing door sports car that was assembled in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Manufactured from 1974 until late 1975 for the American market, the car was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin, an American millionaire who had previously founded Subaru of America. The car was designed by Herb Grasse. The Bricklin factory was not able to produce vehicles fast enough to make a profit. As a result, the company went into receivership, owing the New Brunswick government $21 million. Fewer than 3,000 cars were built.
The model name SV-1 was an acronym for "safety vehicle one". The original idea for the Bricklin SV-1 was a safe and economical sports car, but due to the added weight of the safety features, the car was inefficient and simply a safe sports car. The Bricklin was designed for safety with an integrated roll cage, 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers, and side beams. The body was fibreglass with bonded acrylic in five "safety" colours: white, red, green, orange and suntan. The cars had no cigarette lighters or ashtrays "to discourage smoking". A non-smoker, Malcolm Bricklin believed it was unsafe to smoke and drive. The Bricklin is the only production vehicle in automotive history to have factory powered gull-wing doors that opened and closed at the touch of a button as standard equipment. (The later DeLorean DMC-12's gull-wing doors operate manually, and the Tesla Model X's rear doors are referred to as falcon-wing doors rather than gull-wing due to the extra hinge.)
Designing the model
In 1972 Herb Grasse (best-known for his contributions to the conversion of the 1955 Lincoln Futura show car to TV's original Batmobile when he worked with customizer George Barris) built three Bricklin styling models to interest banks and other potential investors in the gull-wing safety sports car. The eventual full prototypes one, two, and three were a collaboration by the Bricklin Vehicle Corporation, Herb Grasse Design and AVC Engineering.
Power came from a 360 cu in (5,899 cc) AMC 360 V8 for 1974. Later cars used a 351 cu in (5,752 cc) Ford Windsor V8. Performance figures rated favorably against the contemporary Corvette, which most auto magazines used as a point of comparison. The front suspension used A-arms and coil springs, while the rear used leaf springs on a live axle. For the 1974 model year, 772 cars were produced, 137 of which had four-speed manual transmissions. All 1975 and 1976 cars had automatic transmissions. In 1974 potential owners were given a choice of transmission and color whereas in 1975 there was only a choice of color.
In a bid to reduce production costs, Bricklin attempted to bond fibreglass to acrylic plastic—something the plastics industry had not perfected at the time—resulting in a high failure rate and high production costs (some panels cracked while still in their molds). Cars also tended to overheat due to using a single radiator opening in the 1974 model. Doubling the size of the opening failed to solve the problem. Running examples today generally feature a retrofitted larger radiator.
It soon became obvious that Bricklin's claims of a "high performance safety car" were not realized in the production models. It is believed that fewer than 1200 Bricklin cars still exist.
After the Bricklin manufacturer's receivership, George Byers and Sol Shenk of Consolidated Motors, an automotive liquidator from Columbus, Ohio, purchased the majority of the parts and remaining cars left on the line. These cars surfaced later, completely assembled from left-over parts, and were sold as 1976 models.
Under the direction of New Brunswick premier, Richard Hatfield, the provincial government provided financing of $4.5 million for Bricklin's car. The money had been advanced on the assumption that Bricklin needed it to begin the production of cars. In truth, it had paid for the engineering and development of Bricklin's car as well as many of the costs, including salaries of keeping Bricklin's U.S. companies in operation.
Appreciation of model
- American Motors–powered variants are welcomed at AMC club shows (as well as at Chrysler shows by virtue of AMC's purchase by Chrysler in 1987).
- A Ford-engined Bricklin can be counted by purists as being an "unofficial" Ford. Bricklin owners are openly welcomed into Ford classic auto shows.
- The Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, displays its white Bricklin SV-1 (Artifact no. 1975.0622)
- There are only a couple of Bricklins in the Southern hemisphere. One is located in Christchurch, New Zealand, another was up for auction in Australia in November 2006.
- An orange Bricklin is on show as part of the Haynes International Motor Museum collection in Sparkford, Somerset in England.
- A white Bricklin is on show as part of the permanent collection of the Western Development Museum's location in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
- An orange Bricklin is on display as part of the permanent collection of the LeMay America's Car Museum, located in Tacoma, Washington, USA.
- A green Bricklin is a part of the collection owned and displayed at the Musee De L'Auto located in Les Jardins De La Republique Provincial Park in Edmundston, New Brunswick. The car sports 1976 New Brunswick licence plates bearing the DS (Dominion Service) designator, indicating that the vehicle was owned by the provincial government. This may have been the vehicle that was driven by Premier Richard Hatfield.
- A fully restored Bricklin was formerly displayed at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, New Brunswick, but after a flood, it was taken to an archives site for restoration.
- A tan Bricklin is on display in the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum in Titusville, Florida.
- In 1976, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto exhibited a model that was cut in half in order to show design elements unique to the vehicle.
- There are only five known Bricklins in Europe. Of these, a 1975 Ford-powered model resides in Finland.
- A white 1975 Ford-powered Bricklin is on display at the Kraftfahrzeugmuseum (motor vehicle museum) in Sigmundsherberg, Lower Austria.
- A white Bricklin was on display at the National Auto and Truck Museum in Auburn, Indiana. It has recently been sold and is no longer at the museum.
- A handful of Bricklins were donated by Malcolm Bricklin to be used as squad cars for the Scottsdale, Arizona, police department in the mid-1970s. Like regular squad cars, these Bricklins had the same paint scheme and a single beacon on the roof. Most weren't used as pursuit cars though, and they were used primarily for PR events. This was due to it being too difficult to get in and out of the car, as well because the Arizona heat caused battery issues that would cause the electrically operated gull-wing doors to not open.
- There are two Bricklin SV-1 on display at Charlie's Auto Museum, in Arthurs Seat, Victoria, Australia, outside of Melbourne. One is an AMC Powered example, and the other a Ford. Both are white with brown interiors.
In the media
- The Bricklin Story was a 30-minute 1974 film produced as a self-promotion piece. It aired nationally on CBC and was roundly panned by critics.
- History Television and Barna-Alper produced a documentary, Premier, Promoter & Their Car, for its Turning Points of History series. The documentary explores the political fiasco that surrounded the Bricklin vehicle.
- A New Brunswick film company, Cojak Productions, reviewed the Bricklin fiasco in a docu-drama directed by Chris LeBlanc. Malcolm Bricklin returned to New Brunswick to shoot scenes where he played himself. Three Bricklins once owned by the Irving family were discovered in Halifax and were purchased for use in the film. Titled La Légende Bricklin, the film was aired on RDI and Radio-Canada on April 15, 2006.
- A red Bricklin SV-1 was featured as a prize in an episode of the TV game show The Price Is Right in the mid-1970s.
- As part of its series Tout le monde en parlait, Société Radio-Canada presented a 2013 30-minutes documentary on the car, focusing on its economic fiasco.
- Bricklin International member and New Brunswick resident Charlie Russell wrote a two-part song, "The Bricklin", which has a satirical view on the history of the car.
- The 1975 Bricklin SV-1 was rated by Time in its series The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.
- New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield's 1974 reelection campaign was nicknamed The Bricklin Election, possibly because of his government's financial support of the Bricklin company and because of Hatfield's use of an orange-colored Bricklin in his campaign. He blamed criticism of the car on the opposing Liberal government.
- A red Bricklin SV-1 makes a brief appearance in the 1982 film The Junkman.
- An orange Bricklin SV-1 is featured in the movie Deadline Auto Theft.
- An episode of Team Knight Rider (a 1997 spinoff of the original Knight Rider TV series) depicted a fictitious (and scientifically impossible) water-powered car that was actually a Bricklin. The vehicle explodes when a character puts seltzer tablets in the fuel tank.
- In 2010, Theatre New Brunswick and The Playhouse (Fredericton) produced a musical, The Bricklin: An Automotive Fantasy, portraying the Bricklin story through funk music. An orange-colored Bricklin similar to Hatfield's was used on stage during the show.
- A white Bricklin SV-1 is featured in the 2011 movie Hobo with a Shotgun. This Bricklin is currently owned by YouTube star Andrew Grantham in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
- The last Bricklin off the assembly line, a green model, is located in Riverview, New Brunswick. It belongs to a used car dealer.
- In the 2007 season of the reality TV show Chop Cut Rebuild, Malcolm Bricklin claimed that the Bricklin's 'Grey Ghost' prototype was the inspiration behind the DeLorean.
- A Bricklin SV-1 is an item featured in a 2012 episode of the reality TV show American Pickers.
- An orange Bricklin is featured in a 2014 episode of the reality TV series Fast N' Loud (Series 2, Episode 17)..
- A brown Bricklin SV-1 is featured in "Frisky Business", an episode of the reality TV series Hardcore Pawn (7th season; 2013).
- A Bricklin SV-1 appears in the movie Demon Seed.
- A yellow 1975 Bricklin SV-1 was refurbished on FantomWorks season 4 episode 14.
Commemorating the Bricklin
- As part of a series commemorating Historic Land Vehicles, Canada issued the Bricklin Stamp on June 8, 1996. It had a face value of 45¢.
- In June 2003, the Canadian mint issued a $20 sterling silver Bricklin coin with selective gold plating.
- Both the Bricklin coin and the Bricklin stamp were a greater success than the car itself, selling out quickly.
Out of Print
- Bricklin - H. A. Fredericks with Allan Chambers (1977) ISBN 0-88790-087-9 (softcover) ISBN 0-88790-088-7 (hardcover) 139 pages
- How to Brickle The New Brunswick Funny Book - Interduction [sic] by Still Pickens (1977) ISBN 0-9690732-0-8, 20 pages
- Bricklemanship The New Brunswick Grief Book - Interduction [sic] by Still Pickens (1978) ISBN 0-9690732-1-6
- Bricklin Gold Portfolio 1974-1975 - Compiled by R. M. Clarke (1995) ISBN 1-85520-309-X
- "Bricklin designs by Herb Grasse". HerbGrasseDesign.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "History of the Bricklin car". Bricklinautosport.com. Web Easy Professional Avanquest Publishing USA, Inc. 1975-09-26. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- Dan, Niel (2007-09-07). "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time: 1975 Bricklin SV1". Time.
- Hoschek, Gero (26 July 1975). "Bricklin SV1". Autocar. Vol. 143 no. 4107. pp. 56–57.
- Auto Editors of Consumers Guide. "The First Bricklin Concept Car". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Merksamer, Gregg D. (November 2001). "The Museum of Automobile History in Syracuse, N.Y., has everything, except cars." Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- Production of the 1974 and 1975 Bricklin SV-1 by The editors of Consumer Guide
- Sherman, Don (May 1975). "Chevrolet Corvette Stingray vs. Bricklin SV-1 - Road Test". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "Where are they now?". bricklin.org. Bricklin International (club website. 31 October 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2009.
- "Richard Hatfield Archived December 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.." Heritage Resources, 21 January 2008.
- "Artifact Spotlight - Bricklin SV-1". ScienceTech.Technomuses.ca. Canada Science and Technology Museum. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- Orlove, Raphael. "Why One Police Department Wasn't Happy With Its Gullwing Future Cars". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
- Pedersen, Andy (21 February 2005). "Bricklin's Wild Ride". CBC.ca.
- "The Bricklin Song". Bricklin.org. Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "Deadline Auto Theft Movie Trailer". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "The Bricklin Stamp". SaintJohn.nbcc.nb.ca. 1974-07-01. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "2003 $20 Sterling Silver Land, Sea & Rail Coins". Coins4me.com. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bricklin SV-1.|
- Bricklin International, club website (archived)
- Brochure Pages From The Bricklin at The Old Car Manual Project
- 1974-1975 Bricklin SV-1 at HowStuffWorks.com
- "In search of the Canadian Car - Bricklin SV-1", an online exhibition of the Virtual Museum of Canada
- Bricklin SV-1 in movies and TV series at the Internet Movie Cars Database