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Not For Tall People: 1972 Bradley GT

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Here’s a car you don’t see everyday, at least a finished one! This is a 1972 Bradley GT and it’s in Staten Island, New York. It’s listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of just $3,500; less than what you spent for the photographer at your wedding. These cars were around $3,000 in kit form and $4,000 fully assembled, and after 44 years a price of $3,500 for an almost perfect example seems like a killer deal to me.

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I can’t believe that this car is still for sale, it won’t be for long. Apparently, the seller recently bought it for a friend from someone in Pasadena, California for $3,800 and spent another $1,200 to ship it to Staten Island, NY and then the friend didn’t fit in it. They say that it’s not for anyone over 6-feet tall, so I’ll just add this one to the long list of cars that I like but can never drive. Even Liberace liked these cars, here’s a photo from a story in Hemmings of him taking delivery of a Bradley GT.

6,000 other, non-sequined, folks took delivery of a Bradley GT and another 500 or so took delivery of the Bradley GT II. The GT II was by all accounts a better car, but since they used a lot of custom made parts, which aren’t available anymore, if you need parts now you’re out of luck. The company took a wide left turn after a few years and became the Electric Vehicle Corporation and concentrated on electric versions of the Bradley GT. I kid you not. Here is an interesting story listed on an old eBay auction along with a ton of photos of one of those unbelievably rare Bradley GT Electric cars.

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The Bradley GT was the brainchild of founders David Bradley Fuller and Gary Courneya in Plymouth, Minnesota. The cars were made from 1971 until 1981 when the company filed for bankruptcy due to quality and financial issues. The gullwing doors may be its most famous feature. This car looks perfect to me, especially the hidden headlights. Whether they’re closed or open, they look straight as an arrow. The little convertible top over the rear section looks great, too.

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Right on cue, the interior looks as great as the exterior does. There’s a fairly large space behind the seats for your luggage, since there is no trunk. The underside also looks good on this car. I’m not sure what the Oregon plates are doing on a car that was purchased in Pasadena, California, but wherever it’s from it seems to have been well preserved. The seller says that the “car has solid floors and solid chassis all the gauges and all the electrical works properly.”

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This is a Volkswagen engine, but of what year, model, or size is unknown. I’m guessing that this is a 1,600 cc VW engine, one of you should know. The Bradley GT was basically a stylish, sleek dune buggy, or the idea was the same: slip a fiberglass body over a standard VW engine and chassis. I think that if a person was looking for a fun, cheap, goof-around-car, this one would be hard to beat. There is no question that you’d have a crowd around it any and every time you stopped for gas or groceries. Are any of you fans of these kit cars, or have you ever owned or driven a Bradley GT?


  1. DAN


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  2. Rabbit

    Judging by year & setup, it looks like a stock AE or AH motor. That’d be a ’71 or ’72 1600 dual-port, good for about 63 HP.

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  3. Fred W.

    One of the best looking VW kit cars ever produced.

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  4. Francisco

    Didn’t know Liberace was under 6′. Now he’s 6′ under.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    This must be the nicest Bradley left. From the ones that I saw on the road back years ago they didn’t get finished nearly as well as this one is, and they went downhill from there as they got used.

    These were advertised a lot in the car mags of the day, and from what I remember they were usually shown, beautifully built, on a well groomed lawn with no people around other than maybe a beautiful blonde model who was usually wearing tall white boots. And they didn’t have side view pictures showing the driver’s elbow sticking out only a little above the knees of the people next to the car like in the Liberace photo…..Might not have been good for doing business with tall people.

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  6. Randy W

    How come you show cars for sale, good write ups the day after they’ve been sold. A lot of your listings are like that. Maybe to just make us drool or what?

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  7. Marje S.

    Loved this car. We had a bronze with gold specks, purchased around 1977 as our VW was in an accident. Commuted to work for two years in this – wearing a shirt was a challenge to get in and out, but when young, no trouble. Thank you so much for bringing great memories back. We sold it after a couple of years since that job ended and began working at home.

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  8. Jay

    I have always loved these Bradley cars and looked for one for many years when I was a lot younger. This was the first realistic sports car I ever got to ride in. I must have been 12 or 13 and a teenage family friend drove his dad’s Bradley from Cut Bank, MT to Shelby, MT to impress my older sister who he had a crush on. He took me for a drive and if you ever drove on the roads in MT in the 70s you know they were not conducive to small sports cars. He hit a bump and we left the ground for a short time and when we came down the fiberglass cracked all over the car. He was scared to take it back home and come to think about it I don’t know if I ever saw him again. That Bradley always gave me a soft spot for the old VWs, but I actually married someone who hated them as she used to get a ride into school in one. She said that it was always so cold.

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    • Dolphin Member

      Great story, Jay, especially the ‘glas cracking, and the cold. I’m still laughing.

      Sometimes the reality isn’t quite up to what the ads want people to think it will be.

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  9. Doug Towsley

    These were the bottom of the barrell back in the day, They typified the cheap side of the kit car movement and I once was in a kit car club and we were often told by show organizers they didnt want our club there because they assumed all our cars were like the Bradley GTs and Dune buggys. There is a wide spectrum of quality and form in Kit car world but when you say Kit car,,,,, most people picture these.

    That being said,,,,,,,For the right price Id buy one like this. Would be a blast to drive. I drove a few in early 1980s and were a hoot. These days Id camp it up, strap some surfboards on it. I think even Steve McQueen had one and theres a story of taking some movie starlet out in the sand and running the piss out of the car. These days such a car like this would be very much a novelty. I wouldnt want to commute on a Seattle, Bay area, or LA freeway to work in one (Deathtrap when a SUV runs you over while texting) but for the backroads and country lanes would be fun.

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    • Loadstar

      Would of the Fiberfabb of been at the high end? Car and Driver in 81 built a Kellmark .

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  10. Jim

    My Dad and I built one back in the early to mid 70’s. Used a ’66 or ’67 bug that my girlfriends brother rolled. The GT was sliver metal flake with the oxblood red interior. The car was so light that the rear wheels would not “tuck” in so we added about 300 lbs of Black Beauty sand blasting media to the side bulk heads – 150lbs per side. Handled extremely well and was quick. I’d park at out local shopping mall and when I came out I had to fight my way to the car! Also got great gas mileage. The original gull wing doors were plexiglass. After one broke my Dad and I make fiber glass top panels like a T-top with smoked plexiglass inserts. We cut down the bottom part of the original doors and used the bottom sections as removable windows. They were held on with hinges and hairpin clips. I still have the assemble manual and all the rest of the literature that came with the kit. I wish I still had it……………

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    • Doug Towsley

      Great story Jim, I think some one got a deal, however I am hearings lots of stories about people abusing the Buy it Now feature on vehicles…Sellers take the hit and litttle recourse when a scammer or flake does that. (Which is why so many are saying they limit bidding to zero or low feedback buyers), Hopefully this goes to a good home.

      My 2 nephews were over a while back, they live in redneck country where one aspires to drive a lifted F350 with the biggest tires you can get. I took them into the big city and they were making fun of a smart car. I lectured them on good luck finding parking for a big truck, and many parking garages you would bash in the roof at the entrance.
      So, for some places a smart car makes a LOT of sense. Now taking this to the next logical step would you want to pay for a new smart car?????? Or does this car sure look like a bargain? Old VWs dont get the greatest gas mileage in the world but since you are unlikely to drive long distances anyway not a big deal but for many places this would be a cheap and fun little car. My biggest worry is SUV drivers and people dinging the fiberglass. Might need nerf bars

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