24k Original Miles: 1975 Bricklin SV-1

History never repeats. Lightning doesn’t strike twice. Both of these expressions might seem true, but they aren’t necessarily accurate in the automotive world. One only has to look at the Bricklin SV-1 and the DeLorean to realize this. Both were conceived as sports cars. Both featured gullwing doors. Both featured bodies made from interesting materials. Both were sales failures. Finally, some private investors sank their money into Bricklin and later committed the same mistake with DeLorean! This 1975 Bricklin SV-1 is one of the nicest that we’ve seen for a while, and I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting it for us. Located in North Port, Florida, you will find the Bricklin listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is sitting at $8,700, and the reserve has been met.

While it was initially conceived as a sports car, Malcolm Bricklin decided that the vehicle that now bore his name should be marketed as a safety vehicle. It was for this reason that it received the “SV-1” designation, which stood for “Safety Vehicle 1.” It also helps to explain the fact that every shade in the color palette bore the safety name. In this case, this SV-1 is finished in Safety White. You could also choose from Safety Red, Safety Orange, Safety Suntan…I think that you’re getting the picture. It was designed with some interesting features, including gullwing doors, energy-absorbing bumpers, and concealed headlights. The body was constructed of a composite of fiberglass and acrylic resin. The color was impregnated into the resin, making for a hard-wearing finish and panels that weren’t going to rust. The appearance of this vehicle is generally excellent, with no evidence of any prior damage. The owner states that there has been no prior accident damage, which is easy to believe when you look at the overall condition. The doors work as they should, although the driver’s door will require a new lift support. The pop-up headlights also function, although they are slightly slow.

It is this shot that tells the real story of this Bricklin. While panel rust is never an issue. The frame can be prone to problems over time. This is especially true where the body mounts to the frame, but this one looks exceptional. There is barely a mark underneath, and not even any evidence of surface corrosion. I would want to get a closer look, but what we can see looks pretty exceptional for a Bricklin.

While cars built in 1974 featured an AMC 360ci V8 and the choice of a manual or an automatic transmission, those made during 1975 were available with the Ford 351ci Windsor V8 and a 3-speed automatic transmission. This engine change resulted in a notable drop in power because while the AMC unit pumped out 220hp, the Windsor was pegged at 175hp. This resulted in a ¼ mile ET of 16.8 seconds, which was hardly in muscle car territory. However, the company was not marketing the SV-1 as a sports car but more as a safety-oriented grand tourer. The owner states that the Bricklin has a genuine 24,000 miles showing on its odometer, and while he doesn’t indicate whether he holds evidence to back this claim, the overall condition tends to suggest that the claim is plausible. He does indicate that the car runs and drives well, and given the bulletproof nature of the drivetrain, it should have plenty of life left in it.

One of the most significant weaknesses of the SV-1 was the interior. The fit and finish weren’t impressive when the car was new, and it was prone to deteriorating pretty rapidly. One of the aspects that copped its share of criticism was the number of exposed screws and fasteners, which motoring journalists felt was out of place in a car of this type. I think that I need to come to Bricklin’s defense on this point because while it might not have produced an interior to rival a Ferrari, the quality of these fasteners meant that they weren’t prone to deteriorating or corroding. This interior is a surprise packet because it presents far better than we might expect. There are no significant issues or problems, and even the outer edges of the seats have avoided significant wear. It’s nice to see that the original AM/FM radio with its integrated digital clock is still intact, while the car also scores ice-cold air conditioning.

Although they were different cars built in different countries, the Bricklin SV-1 and the DeLorean could so easily have been cousins. Both shared many design features, and both held a lot of promise. Sadly, both were also a failure in the market. It is believed that Bricklin produced around 3,000 examples of the SV-1, but it isn’t clear how many have survived. The SV-1 hasn’t achieved the cult status of the DeLorean, but then again, only one of them starred in a movie franchise. However, it is worth noting that they are now finding their feet in the classic market. It isn’t unusual to see good examples selling for more than $20,000, while pristine cars will top $30,000. This one appears to be an unmolested survivor whose condition is above average. That makes me think that there still might be a little way to go before this listing ends. If the price doesn’t go much higher, it is possible that someone might be getting themselves a pretty canny buy. Is it one that you might be tempted to bid on?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    There’s a white one at a small used car lot just
    South of Rocky Mount,VA.For some reason,it’s kind
    of cool seeing it there.
    These were interesting cars,but don’t think I’d
    ever want to own one.

    Like 12
  2. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’d always thought these were the car used in the show “Hardcastle and McCormick” but that’s not the case. That car is called the Coyote X. This looks nice for what it is.

    Like 6
    • jwzg

      Looks like it’s eating an 8-track.

      Like 11
      • JoeNYWF64

        Probably because it was built to take a 12!(not 5) mph hit!
        I don’t think a flush mounted bumper could – w/o damage to the skin.

  3. Daniel Wright

    Unlike the delorian these had air doors. In the event you lost battery power you had to climb out the rear hatch.

    Like 3
    • Craigsf

      Actually the doors were hydraulic (though most have been upgraded to air by now) and if you lost electric power there was a normal looking door handle to release the door (though it did take a bit of strength to push it open and hold it open while you climbed over the large sill. Source: I owned a Bricklin and had complete electrical failure and didn’t have to crawl out the hatch

      Like 6
  4. doug

    The doors and headlights kept them from being sold in Pa. for a while. Dealer had a bunch of them sitting until they were fixed. This one looks to be well cared for and is still pretty cheap.

    Like 3
  5. UK Paul

    Some panel gaps on that.

  6. Howard A Member

    The Bricklin always seemed to live in the shadow of the DeLorean, probably because DeLorean was such a,,,”colorful” guy. We, in Wisconsin liked it because it was AMC powered, but I can’t recall ever seeing one. I heard these had a lot of problems, unlike the DeLorean, not that they were much better. Still, a hats off to those guys that thought they had a chance agin the Big 4, and didn’t.

    Like 10
  7. Motorcityman Member

    Why no pic with the doors open???
    Always liked the design of these and the 351 motor

  8. Joe

    With body panel fitment like this car has, I would think you will get plenty leaks.

    Like 1
    • Motorcityman Member

      Its how well its sealed, not the fitment of the panels.

    • Steve Clinton

      ‘Fitment’? Is that what the owner has when it leaks? ;-)

      Like 1
  9. Steve Clinton

    “(driver side door will need new lift door support it don’t have enough power to help open door all the way up- new support cost 20-30$)”
    Why wouldn’t the seller spend a few bucks to correct this?

    Like 1
  10. JoeNYWF64

    Quite a drop in horsepower from an amc 360 motor to a ford 351.
    I guess the ford had a 2 bbl to meet emissions w/o a cat converter in ’75?
    Somehow these cars got an exemption in ’75 & ’76 since, unlike corvette, they did not switch to a metal floor – they retained a fiberglass one, which a converter i guess would have melted.

  11. Howie Mueler

    I owned a red one for a couple of years, had Keystone Classic chrome wheels. Being a V8 i would guess it could blow the doors up and off a Delorean. Mine was like a oven inside all the time. Had my fun and with most toys sold it. This does look like a great deal. Yes they are very kit car like. GLWS.

    Like 3
  12. Alan Robbins

    I really liked these until I rode in one. Noisy, hot, and just felt cheap. A shame because they have that 80’s tech cool factor to the max.

    Like 1
  13. Richard D Sikes Member

    I worked at a used Sports car dealership in the early to late 1980’s. I got to drive a demo from off the lot, what ever I wanted. I drove a DeLorean for a few days, not too impressed; although even before Back to the Future, it got a lot of attention! A few months later we got a Safety Orange Bricklin, I drove it as my demo for about three weeks. I was stranded briefly by both, but the Bricklin’s doors would open when dead, the Delorean was a little more difficult to deal with. Mainly, the Bricklin’s Ford V-8 made it more fun to drive (in a straight line anyway) than the Delorean Volvo V-6. I also thought the Bricklin was a more substantial feeling automobile and a bit more handsome looking.

    • Steve Clinton

      I respectfully disagree. I thought the DMC was a classy-looking car. The Bricklin reminded me of a kit car…but to each his own!

    • Motorcityman Member

      I think the Delorean looks too WIDE…….body styling of the Bricklin is much nicer imop.

      Like 1
  14. Motorcityman Member

    Id like to trade my 73 Ranchero for a daily driver Bricklin, or a any year Challenger or a Trans Am or Formula.

  15. Steve Clinton

    My favorite line in the eBay ad.

    “No dreamers. If you need ask wife this car is not for you.”

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