Only 1,200 Left: 1975 Bricklin SV-1

Many writers over the years have drawn comparisons between the Bricklin SV-1 and the DeLorean DMC-12, so I’m going to leave well enough alone on that one. The one point of difference between the two cars is the fact that there have been ongoing attempts to revive DeLorean production, while no such efforts were ever attempted with the Bricklin. Barn Finder Patrick S located this 1975 Bricklin for us, so I have to thank him for that. This example, one of only 2,854 production Bricklins to have been built, is located in Venice, Florida. Complete with a clean title, you will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist.

The appearance of this Bricklin looks quite good. The ingenious fiberglass body is coated with an acrylic resin, which has the car’s finish color impregnated into it. Some early cars were prone to the fiberglass and resin delaminating, but a lot of work went into this issue by the manufacturer, and finding cars with this issue today is pretty rare. The perimeter chassis was fairly robust, but there are areas that are susceptible to rust. The owner doesn’t mention any rust issues, so hopefully, there aren’t any nasty surprises there. The glass all looks to be present, and it all seems to be in good condition. The other area that doesn’t rate a mention is the door seals. These can be prone to shrinking over time, causing problems with wind noise and water leakage. Thankfully, replacement seals are readily available.

Depending on when it was produced, the Bricklin was available with either a 360ci AMC engine or a 351ci Ford. The AMC engine produced more power than the Ford (220hp versus 175hp) and was also available with a choice of either an automatic or 4-speed T-10 manual transmission. This car is fitted with the Ford engine, which means that it is also fitted with the FMX automatic transmission. The car has been fitted with a new water pump, new battery, and new ignition components. It was running fine but has recently developed an electrical glitch which means that it currently doesn’t run. The ignition systems on the Bricklin are not particularly complex, so hopefully, it can be revived with little effort.

The photos of the interior of the Bricklin are a bit lacking, but the overall impression that they convey is quite good. The steering wheel looks pretty awful, but the rest of the interior trim and carpet seem to be in good condition. I did notice that the original radio is missing, but it should be possible to source a replacement unit. There are a couple of small marks and wrinkling of the upholstery on the console, but I think that these can be fixed without having to reupholster it. One of the worst aspects of owning a Bricklin was actually getting out of the car. This is something which is not an elegant process when you are young and fit. As you get older, the process gets even less elegant, but it is still possible.

When it was new, the Bricklin SV-1 was a sales disaster, and this was the result of a number of circumstances, not one single problem. Of the original production run of 2,854 cars, it is believed that there may only be around 1,200 left in existence. This one looks like quite a clean example, and it may not need a lot of work to return it to its former glory. It is possible to buy a project-grade ’75 Bricklin for around $5,000, but good ones will easily fetch $25,000 or more. The owner has set the price of this nice looking car at $5,900, which seems like a pretty fair price.

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Comments

  1. Steve Meli

    Were Bricklins a joint venture with AMC?

    Like 1
    • AMXBrian

      Nope, though that probably would have gone better if they did.

      “The front suspension used A-arms and coil springs and was made up of parts shared with a variety of existing AMC models.”

      “Kelsey-Hayes provided the brake components for Bricklins built from 1974 to early 1975″(so did AMC)

      “a tilting steering wheel from a Chevrolet.”(AMC used Saginaw columns and steering boxes as well)

      Like 4
      • Miguel

        Brian, I think it is funny this car used an AMC engine, when AMC themselves borrowed engines from other manufacturers.

        Like 4
      • AMXBrian

        Sure for when they had to. The 360’s in these are an AMC design, but they bought components when they had to. It’s how they kept up with the “Big” 3.

        AMC was able to sell parts instead of buying them which is pretty amazing and that also explains the switch to the 351 when they ran out of excess motors.

        Like 4
      • James Schwartz

        Miguel, It should be noted that AMC “borrowed” engines from other manufacturers far less often than is generally believed. Did it happen? Yes, but quite rarely actually.
        In the mid-50’s, the still very young AMC bought Packard V8 engines for a couple years for their senior cars. That ended once AMC started producing it’s own V8 for 1957, first in a 327 displacement, later in 287 and 250 displacements.
        Throughout the 60’s and early 70’s, AMC produced all of it’s own engines. V8’s in the sizes 250, 287, 290, 304, 327, 343, 360, 390, and 401. And inline sixes of 196, 199 232, and 258.
        It wasn’t until mid to late 70’s that AMC would again “borrow” an engine, and that was a 2.0 litre audi/VW design that AMC used so they would have a 4 cylinder. That was only a couple years until they began buying 2.5L “Iron Dukes” from GM, which lasted until 1984 when their own 4 cylinder was ready to go (also a 2.5 Litre to be used in Jeeps). A 2.8 V6 was also purchased from GM for a few years (84 to 86 I believe) to power the redesigned Cherokee until the fabulous 4.0 L inline six was ready to go. And I believe that was it. Otherwise, AMC’s had AMC engines. It happened, but not nearly as much as people believe it did.

        Like 6
  2. Streamliner

    I worked at a dealership selling new Bricklins in 1977. By that time Bricklins were no longer in production. But there was still plenty of new supply. The price in 1977 was Cdn $12,500. At that time, many new cars from big 3 cost 50% of that. The salesman pitched the Bricklin as a future collectable that would one day be worth a lot of $. Well, it’s now over 40 yrs later. Makes me feel old. At best, if you’d garaged a new Bricklin from new, it would not sell for more than $25K today — about double what you’d paid. But then you have to consider 1977 vs. 2018 dollars. Read $12,500 in 1977 is about $60,000. in 2018. In most cases, today you wouldn’t even sell for what you paid. As Tyler Hoover of Hoovies Garage puts it, the Bricklin is akin to a put together kit car. I think that sums up the Bricklin well. The build quality was not sophisticated.

    Like 8
  3. James

    Less than half of the production left after only 40 years? That seems higher than usual for a limited production, “future collectible” when new car doesn’t it?

  4. Dan

    I’m just trying to wrap my head around the concept of advertising a Bricklin without a single photo of the door(s) open…

    Like 4
  5. Vincent Habel

    Nothing fit well in these.

    Like 1
    • Streamliner

      Well said Vincent. I worked on these and around these. The dealer I worked at had more than 10 new Bricklins for sale. In addition, we worked on fixing all of the fitment problems on customer Bricklins that came in. The resin panels warped bad. The roof and top of door lamination delaminated. Eventually, everyone wanted the hydraulic pump for the doors converted to air. I distinctly remember how crazy heavy those doors were. When the hydraulic lift shock was removed, they’d use a hockey stick to hold the gull wing doors up. The doors were hinged on top in middle of roof. Every once in a while the door would come crashing down. Imagine if you had your leg, head or arm in the way when a 70 lb. door came down. It would’ve broken your leg or neck. With hydraulic lift detached, those Bricklin gull wing doors were heavy and crazy dangerous.

      Like 1

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