1 of 772: 1974 Bricklin SV-1

The Bricklin SV-1 was a 2-seat sports car built in 1974 and 1975. Its claim to fame was its gull-wing doors and composite bodywork of color-impregnated acrylic resin bonded to fiberglass (which was not foolproof). Manufactured in Canada, only about 2,900 copies were built overall. First-year models (772 produced) used AMC drivetrains before switching to Ford components. This example is being sold by an estate liquidator and its interior restoration was never completed. Available here on eBay from Kingston, Pennsylvania, this rarity has only had one bid of $3,000 so far. Thanks for the tip, Larry D!

American entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin created the Bricklin but he had a spotty history in the auto business. Malcolm hit an eventual home run by bringing Subaru to the U.S. in the 1960s but faltered with this car and again with the Eastern European Yugo in the 1980s. The name SV-1 is an abbreviation of “safety vehicle one” which is attributed to some of the car’s safety bona fides such as its integrated roll-over structure and energy-absorbing bumpers. Sales were less than robust, due mostly to internal problems within the company that included ongoing quality control issues, supplier shortages, worker absenteeism, and a doubling of the car’s sales price during its barely two-year stint. After less than two years, Malcolm pulled the plug.

This ’74 SV-1 was found in a warehouse after sitting for who knows how long. Its production number of 250 would make it one of those that used a 360 cubic-inch V8 supplied by American Motors in 1974 only, paired with a 3-speed Torque Command automatic transmission. No mention is made as to whether the automobile runs, so we assume that it does not.

The body and paint look okay and might be coaxed back into presentable condition. The interior is “raw” according to the seller, with parts of it missing or in a bad way. Work may have started here that was never finished. But the door panels not seen are said to have survived. The hydraulic cylinders that keep the gullwing doors open will have to be replaced. The odometer reading is just 33,000 miles but no claims to accuracy are made. Given that many of the mechanical parts from AMC, perhaps getting this oddity going again won’t take heroic efforts.

Comments

  1. That AMC Guy

    “Partial restoration,” according to the seller? Looks to be in very rough shape. Mechanically it’s pretty much the same as any AMC product from that time period, down to the Hornet/Gremlin suspension components. Lots of interior parts are from the AMC parts bin as well.

    Like 12
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    There’s one of these near Oak Level,Virginia,
    on highway 220,that’s in pretty good shape,at a small
    used car dealer.
    I don’t want it,but it’s cool to see it there.

    Like 11
    • Robert Starinsky

      Excellent example of a Bricklin, if properly cared for and/or restored!

    • Timothy Oneil

      Can you please provide Oak Level used car dealer’s contact information?
      Thanks in advance.

    • Carman

      angliagt < Can you tell me name of the used car dealer near Oak Level? I'd like to call about that Bricklin

      • angliagt angliagt Member

        It’s at Little Mountain Motors,3713 Virgil Goode Highway,
        Rocky Mount,Virginia (540) 489 – 3912

  3. Rw

    These like them Lotus,Jenson Interceptor,and the 6 wheeled amphibious things,I have been seeing sitting behind shed since I was kid, never seen a runner, I was born in 64.

    Like 1
  4. Rw

    No mention if it runs, probably needs a jump.

    Like 1
  5. Bill D

    I read in a review somewhere that “The front end looks like it’s eating an 8-track tape” and now I can’t unsee that.

    Like 12
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    The couple cars I got close to showed pretty shoddy build quality. Besides not being the best looking car on the road it really doesn’t have anything else going for it.

    Like 1
  7. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I bet if you painted one of these all silver people would think it was a Delorean.

    Like 5
  8. Steve

    Read of one instance where the gull wing doors wouldn’t open (don’t recall why) so the driver had to exit via the back hatch. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.

    Like 1
  9. Bruce

    Steve the doors of a friend who had one were electrically operated hydraulics because just one mode of failure was not enough and got locked into hers. Her future husband was contacted because she had one of the earliest brick type of cell phones and he jumped the battery and got her out. It was sold the next month. I never drove it but he was a Formula Ford driver and he hated the thing. Terrible visibility from the drivers seat. A good idea with terrible execution and resultant bad car.

    Like 2
  10. PairsNPaint

    I always thought the reasoning behind the “SV-!” designation was a bit absurd. In a flip over, how would you escape?

    Like 2
  11. Robert Starinsky

    Much like the DeLorean, the Bricklin was always an oddity. The Bricklin looks more like a kit car but arguably has better mechanicals than the DeLorean. The inferior build quality and the plastic composite over fiberglass really shows on this example with serious wrapping/delaminating apparent. I would not call this a partial restoration, but a rather complete shell requiring total restoration. It’s too bad it isn’t in better survivor condition but the rarity and novelty of this car make it a candidate for restoration and you’ll likely be the only Bricklin at the show.

    Like 1
  12. Robert Pellow

    The only all-Canadian car built since the demise of the Russell. Not much to celebrate unfortunately.

  13. Howie

    I had a red 75 for a few years, i laugh at what some people ask for them, thinking it is a rare exotic sports car, very kit car like, mine was like a oven inside even on a cold winter day, had my fun and sold it, yes this is pretty rough.

    Like 7
  14. George Mattar

    I was 19 when these were new. I went to the local dealer, grabbed a brochure, remember them? They were free. Took it home. Put it away until 2010. Took it to Carlisle swap meet. A literature guy handed me five $20 bills. Wish I took more brochures. Worth more than the car.

    Like 1

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