Gull Wing Doors! 1975 Bricklin SV-1

Malcolm Bricklin is an American businessman who has had a colorful track record in the automobile business. That included founding Subaru of America, importing the infamous Yugoslavian-built Yugo, and starting up General Vehicles to build a car bearing his name, the Bricklin SV-1. The unique gull-wing sports car was only produced for a couple of years, including the seller’s 1975 model finished in Safety Green (aka Ice Cream Mint). It’s said to be a good runner that needs a little TLC and spends most of its time in a storage facility. Located in Coto De Caza, this Canadian-built auto is available here on craigslist for $12,000. Our thanks to Barn Finder rex m for another interesting tip!

The Bricklin SV-1 was designed with safety in mind, and that carried over into its name (Safety Vehicle One). The car featured things like an integrated roll-over structure and energy-absorbers bumpers. The 1974-75 2-seat sports car had composite bodywork of color-impregnated acrylic resin bonded to fiberglass, which would prove to be troublesome in production. That, along with quality control problems and worker issues, led to just two years’ worth of assemblies before Malcolm pulled the plug. Fewer than 3,000 cars are known to have been built.

This second-year SV-1 looks to have been well-preserved and may only have 12,000 miles. It’s been on the car show circuit and holds several trophies. We’re told it runs well but is registered as “non-op” because of minimal use. Unlike the first year Bricklin’s that relied on AMC power, the ‘75s used a 351 cubic inch “Windsor” V8 supplied by Ford. They were fitted with 2-barrel carburetors and produced 175 hp and 286 ft-lb of torque. The only transmission choice was Ford’s FMX 3-speed automatic transmission. According to a test done by Car and Driver in May of 1975, the Bricklin’s performance was found to be comparable to the contemporary Corvette.

Photos of this car are limited to rear views at the doorway of the storage unit. What we see of the body and paint looks good and the interior is said to be like new. The seller has installed a new air-door conversion for the instant push-button operation of the gull wings. We’re also told the car needs some “TLC” but the seller doesn’t elaborate on what that may entail. Here’s a bit of SV-1 trivia: the cars had no cigarette lighters or ashtrays and there was also no provision for a spare tire. So don’t smoke or have a flat tire in one of these cars!

Comments

  1. Rodney - GSM

    By “TLC” I assume the seller means
    “Total Lengthy Commitment”.
    Which is not a bad thing as this is a wonderful automotive experiment and deserves to continuing running, driving and living. Just don’t call me “A Thinking Man’s Yugo” at car shows.

    Like 7
  2. Terrry

    It might have been built with safety in mind, but certainly not fit and finish. And what’s safe about gull-wing doors? It’s one reason few if any are built today.

    Like 5
  3. Frank Sumatra

    “No looky-lou’s” “Of course, I could have spent more than five minutes taking the images”

    Like 5
    • sign guy

      Maybe the driveway wasn’t long enough to accommodate the front bumper.

      Like 5
  4. Mike Stephens Staff

    There was an orange Bricklin in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Thought it was cool then and still like it quite a bit! I’m guessing the seller is going to find a taker for at or near $12k, no matter what TLC is needed.

    Like 3
  5. JoeNYWF64

    What’s not operational?
    Would like to see the front end.
    Surprised the roof door panels are not warped.
    Hard to believe Bricklin offered this shade of green, & not one shade of blue!
    Other cars back then came in up to 4 or 5 shades of blue!!
    Today you get 1 choice of blue – maybe. & sometimes for thousands of dollars extra only in some expensive options pkg!

    Like 3
  6. Dave

    Malcolm didn’t pull the plug… the provincial government of New Brunswick, Canada did! So similar to the DeLorean story.

    Like 10
    • Leslie Martin Member

      Similar, yes Except for the briefcases full of cash and cocaine, and the elaborate FBI sting that is.

      Like 2
  7. Charles Atlas

    Sorry Mr. Bricklin, my White 1986 Ford Escort Pony 4 speed is better than this.

    Like 20
    • bill tebbutt

      No, your Escort Pony is not better than this. Actually, its barely better than walking. Now that I think about it, I’d rather walk….

      I love the fact that you keep riffing on other people’s cars, everyday, touting the obvious superiority of the Escort Pony. Have you ever been in any other car? Been in a Bricklin? (no, you have not). Your creative an insightful comments mean soooo much to us other readers. Please, please keep them coming.

      love
      bt

      Like 38
      • Steve R

        The guys a troll, responding just encourages more comments. Like most trolls, if ignored he will eventually go away when he doesn’t get the attention he is craving.

        Steve R

        Like 13
      • Dale S

        Sorry Bill, and Steve, I have too respond. My first new car was a black 1986 Escort L coupe with tan cloth, and a 4 speed. I added window tint, chrome trim rings, and an aluminum rear window louver. I had it written into the sales contract to add wide black side moldings before I accepted delivery. The sleeker moldings were put on higher than the GL models had from the factory. It transformed the look of the exterior for the better. The new AM/FM cassette player with Jensen speakers in the front doors was the last add on. I never had any problems with the car. When I traded it in 1990 I was standing outside with a Ford salesman, and he told me it was the hottest used car on their lot. With only 35,000 miles on it, I wasn’t surprised! I have pictures, but not a member.

    • Kenn

      Yeah, I’ll bet folks crowd around your Pony at car shows…!

      Like 4
  8. jwzg

    Looks like it’s eating an 8-track cassette

    Like 7
    • Ike Onick

      They are high in iron.

      Like 3
    • Miao Yin

      Good one !

      Like 12
  9. Frank Sumatra

    Looks as if the “Safety” car had lousy rear visibility.

    Like 3
  10. Ignatius J. Reilly

    Always heard the reason the SV-1 did not have an ashtray or cigarette lighter was because Malcolm Bricklin believed that people should not be smoking while driving…apparently not even the passenger. Now those items are again missing from late model cars, so he was ahead of his time.

    Like 10
  11. Buffalo Bob

    A former customer of mine back in the 90’s had an early Orange one with the AMC 360. Used boat polish on it because it made the gelcoat look great. He said wax would just dull it. No clue what happened to the car after he passed, but what a cool machine.

    Like 3
  12. David Bailey

    Wait?..Didn’t the early 1975’s have the superior AMC 360, V-8?? I don’t remember.

    Like 1
    • Michael

      Production Bricklins were powered by one of two OHV V8 engines, depending on the year of manufacture. Cars built in 1974 received a 360 cu in (5.9 L) AMC V8 from American Motors. With a single four-barrel carburetor this engine produced 220 hp (164.1 kW) and 315 ft⋅lb (427.1 N⋅m) of torque.[35] Transmission options for the year were a 3-speed Torque Command automatic (AMC’s rebranded TorqueFlite 727) or a BorgWarner T-10 4-speed manual. Of the 772 cars built in 1974, 137 received the manual. Cars built in 1975 mounted a 351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8 from Ford, a change which required an extensive redesign of the car’s subframe.[12]: 89  With a single two-barrel carburetor this later engine produced 175 hp (130.5 kW) and 286 ft⋅lb (387.8 N⋅m) of torque.[36] As Ford had no manual transmission EPA certified for the 351W engine, transmission options were limited to the Ford FMX 3-speed automatic.

  13. Russell

    A Canadian car painted US Forest Service green. Smokey says “Keep it Green”.

    Like 1
  14. Steve Clinton

    Reminds me of a kit car.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      Bingo! And built in the Cradle of Automotive Engineering and Manufacturing- St.John NB, in an abandoned fish processing plant.

      Like 2
  15. Harold R Hueler

    I had a red 75 for a few years, mine was like a oven inside. Some people ask way to much for them thinking they are a rare exotic, they are very kit-car like. No glove box either. No engine, or door up, or front of the car photos? Had my fun and sold it.

    Like 2
  16. Vincent

    Saw one in the early 80s when I was a kid. Woman that owned a boutique near my school drove it.
    Mesmerized by the full wing doors.
    Later in life I bought a Delorean. And currently on my second.

  17. Motorcityman

    U and your Escort “pony” with the same comment over and over should ride off into sunset! 😄

    Like 7
  18. Rick

    Ford Escorts were better than……………well, I can’t think of anything.

    Like 6
    • K

      I got an escort for 100bucks one time from a buddy .. it was green and not pretty but was a good ride as long as nobody you knew seen you in it . It was a hatchback too so you know..

      Like 4
  19. Bob Mck Member

    I remember one of these on campus when I was in college. Always wanted to drive it once. Good, or bad. It is a piece of automotive history and I would be proud to own one.

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Take a look at the Bricklin Autosport website.

      Like 2
  20. Laurence

    New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield had sunk a lot of tax payer money into the Bricklin, in the hope of expanding the Canadian province’s economy. Poor management, huge cost overruns, quality-control problems, and a price tag considerably above the Stingray’s, led to Hatfield pulling the plug. He knew that if he were not to do so, he could forget about being re-elected. While I personally was never crazy about this somewhat heavy safety sports car, its rarity might make it a good investment…just as long as it can be kept in good condition. I agree with Steve’s comment that it seems like a kit car…both inside and out. It lacks the “finished” production car look and the interior is way too heavy on the plastic.

    Like 8
  21. Mark James

    Canada’s DeLorean.

  22. Gordy

    Is ‘TLC’ code for: ‘mechanics special’ ?

  23. t-bone BOB

    Located in Coto de Caza, CA

    • Motorcityman

      VERY expensive area!
      I escaped So Cal after a 33 year sentence.😁

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