Safely In A Junkyard: 1974 Bricklin SV-1

To see a classic sitting among the piles of junked vehicles is a bit jarring. Then again, if this lime-green Bricklin SV-1 came in by way of a donation or property clean-out, it’s not surprising to see it in this environment. This gullwinged-oddity looks too nice for the scrapper, but it will still need a fair amount of work to give your neighborhood DeLorean owner a run for his money. Find it here on eBay in Florida with bidding over $2K and no reserve listed.

No word on whether the paint job is original, but it seems suspect when the license plate is sprayed the same shade of green. However, the door jambs are green so perhaps it received a quick respray at some point. Speaking of the doors, they don’t stay up, as noted by the seller who also says he hasn’t driven the car in a few years. It did run two years ago, but no word on its current operating condition. These SV-1’s proclaimed to combine safety with sports car styling and V8 power, and for the most part, it seemed to succeed.

Of course, that depends on your interpretation of success, as the company was not long for this world. Interior-wise, it looks OK – but the steering wheel has clearly seen better days. Carpets look rough and the modern stereo is very out of place. The dash pad seems to be holding up better than expected, but overall, I’d factor an interior restoration into the budget after you get the AMC-sourced 360 humming again. The one photo of a driver’s seat the seller includes shows untorn upholstery.

The turbine-style wheels are totally period-correct and likely original equipment, if they haven’t been swapped out with an aftermarket set. The big bumpers may spell safety, but they also look gross on such an interesting design. The safety innovations are what set the SV-1 apart back in the day, and who knows how much gratitude we owe Malcolm Bricklin for the in-car features we now take for granted in modern automobiles. If this one stays cheap enough, there are worst projects to buy for solving winter boredom.

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Comments

  1. RoKo

    Hopefully it’ll be restored.

    • Pa Tina

      Why?

      • russell spreeman

        I’d take one of these any day before something like a DeLorean with its raging French V6. Maybe half of these came with the Ford 351 Cleveland engine.

  2. Bob Sawtelle

    The body panels were acrylic with the color built in so let’s hope nobody repainted it. You can however get new fiberglass panels out of Virginia, as the acrylic fades and people paint them or replace. Door pistons are common problem easily fixed. That ugly brown interior always bothered me, but it’s the only color you’d get. This has been on my list of cars to own for years….I will be watching. BTW Jeff didn’t know you wrote for Barnfinds you are multi talented!

    • Ivan Yarrow

      Sorry Bricklin Parts of Virginia is no longer in business. The owner Terry Tanner passed away in 2015 and his daughters put up the business for auction a couple of months ago.

  3. txchief

    Absolutely…no one would have survived without Malcolm Bricklin.

  4. DRV

    The body is a very complicated project and not for the non professional shop. It’s a great safety car but it ends there.

  5. rmward194 Member

    Safety Green was one of five colors available in 1974. “Colors and corresponding data plate codes for 1974 are: Safety Red (1), Safety Green (2), Safety Orange (3), Safety White (4), Safety Ochre / Suntan (5)”

    When I was about 20 years old my brother had a 1974 that was Safety Suntan. Cool car when he let me drive it.

  6. Citroenmaniac72 Member

    Have one. It’s orange and love driving it. Still a clean design for a 45 year old car
    Most parts are available. The color is in the panels from the factory but that does not mean it could have been painted later on. Go for it !!

    • Pa Tina

      Have you ever dealt with Autosport Rochester? They have a nice collection.

  7. Dave

    “Brick” might be the key syllable here after a close up inspection. Looks too nice on the outside compared to the rust inside.

    Like 1
  8. Vince H

    If it is original it is not painted.

  9. elrod

    The year is 5010. Archeologists digging in Canada discover – a CAR! “Look! ITS A BRICKLIN!” Fills hole back in.

    Like 1
  10. Tom Justice

    Don’t forget he brought the Subaru into the US which was great but then he did the same thing with the Yugo so I guess it evens out. One thing I remember about the Bricklin was no cigar/cigarette lighter as he said you should not smoke while driving as it is a distraction. I wonder what he would think of all the cup holders in cars now? Here is his latest idea:
    http://www.autonews.com/article/20170515/OEM02/305159996/malcolm-bricklins-next-bright-idea

  11. gbvette62

    For a car that stressed safety, I’ve always wondered just how safe they were in the event of a roll over. Those gullwing doors get a little difficult to open, when the car’s upside down.

    Like 1
    • Tom Justice

      Didn’t Mercedes put explosive bolts in the hinges of their newer gullwing so you could blast your way out? Good point.

      Like 1
    • Greg72

      Unlike the DeLorean DMC-12, the Bricklin has full-size side windows that roll down manually

      • russell spreeman

        And unlike the DeLorean, the Bricklin has a real engine. Not that French pastry mixer V6.

  12. Rabbit

    Painting a Brick is like painting a fiberglass or gelcoat boat. Requires special prep & coatings. If it’s an AMC-sourced car, it’s an early 74, as AMC ran out of spare engines due to a strike, & Bricklin changed over to the Ford 351W for the remainder of the production run. As I recall, most of the chassis is AMC sourced as well.

    Like 1
    • That AMC Guy

      A lot of the small interior bits are from AMC as well. I remember seeing a Bricklin at an auto show back when they were new and being surprised at things like switchgear, window cranks, and automatic trans shifter out of a Hornet.

      Like 1
  13. Pa Tina

    Google “Bricklin Autosport” or “Autosport Rochester” More about those cars in one place than you will ever need to know.

    • Rabbit

      Also a lot of good stuff at bricklin.org

  14. Jermey

    Anyone notice the Thunderbird convertible out past the silver Pontiac?

    Like 1
  15. Bob C.

    I see it Jermey, looks like a 61 to a 63.

    Like 1
  16. Victor Anderson

    I test drove one of these back in 1989 – there was a car dealer that dealt in used sports cars and had a white one for sale. I was actually pretty disappointed. I didn’t care for the interior layout at all – and the seating in it sucked – I’m not a tall person but there was still something that could hit my head on the rear left of my head if I moved around to much – if I remember right it was one of the tube thngys for the gullwing doors. When I went to drive it I assumed it would be fast – but it wasn’t – and the handling wasn’t impressive at all either. The thing weighed a zillion pounds and it felt like it. My conclusion was that the car was all show and no go, the gullwing doors were cool of course – but the damn thing was such a slug I didn’t want it. At the time they wanted $6,500 for the car & I thought (back then) it was worth closer to $4,500. As for this car for sale – I would keep the 360 motor in it – but get rid of the automatic and put a 4-speed muncie with a hurst shifter in it, build the motor up to 450 or more horsepower, and change the whole suspension around to something more modern. THEN you might have something worth driving. These cars don’t bring that much money though – one if pristine condition would probably top out at $20,000. In the long run it doesn’t seem worth the hassle for what you’d end up with – unless you’re just a Briklin fan of course (and there are some) — if that’s the case then if the chassis isn’t rusty then this car might be worthy of your time. In any event, not a car for the scrapper for sure.

  17. Bruce

    Having been in one that had serious electrical problem and getting stuck inside I have Zero Love for these cars. Mr. Anderson is quiet correct but he forgets that in most garages you can not open the doors. That the panel fit is a joke and I have been in Caddis of the period that handled better. I love sports cars and any car that is well designed. I know there are some reasons to love them but my experience being around them killed that love long ago.

    As for getting stuck inside at least the windshield is easy to kick out. Yea that is how we had to exit. That door system messes up you are truly in there for the duration.

    Like 1
    • dr fine

      Isn’t this the car that trapped you inside until you cooked if the battery went dead? They should have had “kick here for escape” decals on the windshield.

      Like 1
  18. Bob

    A few months ago I was given a private tour of the Steve Ames collection. One of these is in it. He has a battery in the back and can hook it up to show visitors how the doors work. He described it as a “terrible car!”

    But I still think they’re interesting.

  19. PETER P BAUSYS

    If no ashtray, I guess no Cadillac shot glasses either.

  20. Bob
  21. Dave

    I think the car is ready for the Scrapper it’s worthless

  22. Franklin Amiano

    The Bricklin started out as a very cool concept,but too many cooks spoiled the stew. Don’t discount the 360. Wally Booth proved they could be made to run! The wheels are OEM from Permacast,who got dragged into bankruptcy by Bricklin.

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