Strange Project Pair: Cutlass Plus A Bricklin

Cutlass front 3

Having been an old car junkie for some 40 years, I have seen thousands of ads for cars during my lifetime. I have looked at some truly great cars and I have seen some strange finds too, but I think this ad on here on craigslist in North Haven, not far from where I live in Connecticut, may be one of the most startling ads I’ve ever seen…

Cutlass rear 3

I have loved Olds Cutlasses for as long as I can remember, so this 1970 Cutlass convertible ad caught my attention right away. But it turns out the ad offers two cars for the price of one – and the second car is a very rare and unusual 1974 Bricklin.

Bricklin side

Both these cars are somewhat forlornly sitting outdoors and really need to find a new home, regardless of their current poor conditions.

Cutlass rear

The 1970 Cutlass is supposedly a “442 clone” though I do not see anything in the pictures to indicate it has any added 442 features whatsoever. Maybe the seller means “442 clone if you spend a small fortune on it.” These days, just about any Cutlass convertible is worth saving, and this one does not look all that terrible, though I presume it will need just about everything done and since it’s been buried in a field, there is doubtless corrosion in the body, floors, and maybe even the frame.  There were 11,354 Cutlass Supreme convertibles produced in 1970, so it’s a mildly rare car now too.

Bricklin front 3

But that Bricklin is really rare. In 1974, its first year of production, only 772 cars were manufactured, of which 137 came with a four speed transmission. Bricklins were the creation of the entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin, who first made his fortune as the founder of Subaru USA, and then spent a lot of his money starting his own car company. The Bricklin was supposed to be a safe and economical sports tourer, thus its original model name was SV-1 (safety vehicle one). Unfortunately, by the time it hit the road, it was a bit heftier than originally planned, so it was more safe than sporty.


The first year Bricklin was powered by an AMC 360 V-8, so it had some grunt; the body was fiberglass bonded with acrylic in only five different colors, but overall the car was just too heavy and too expensive to find a market. The most astonishing feature of the car was its power operated gull wing doors, which no other manufacturer has ever offered as a standard feature.

download (2)

Bricklin convinced the Canadian and New Brunswick provincial governments to subsidize manufacturing there, but the factory could never turn out cars quickly enough to be profitable and the company only managed to operate for barely three years. During that time, a total of 2,854 cars were manufactured and it’s estimated that around 1100 of them remain. You can read a full history of Bricklin here.

Malcolm Bricklin did not quit hustling after his eponymous car company failed; in 1982 he became the US importer for the Fiat sports cars under the Bertone name and after that, he imported more than 120,000 Yugos into the US market. He started an electric bicycle company called EV Warrior (that failed), and most recently tried unsuccessfully to import Chery cars from China.


It’s doubtful the Bricklin in the ad is counted in the number of surviving Bricklin cars. Is it too far gone to save though? There is really no way to know from this ad. The owner states that neither of these cars is operational and any buyer will need to bring a flat bed tow truck. The seller acknowledges that both cars need repair, but he’s asking only $2,500 or “best reasonable offer” to take them away. It seems these cars are well worth the asking price and am guessing someone will grab them soon.  I hope at least one of them ends up on the road again. Is someone ready to buy them both, sell the Cutlass, and get to work on the Bricklin?


  1. Marty Member

    Not sure what I’m seeing with the Cutlass there, it looks like it has been that way for a long time, but the rear bumper and lights are 1970, the front hood, grilles, bumper, etc., are 1971. The headlight bezels painted black, appear to be 1972. But even with it’s “put together” status, it alone is probably well worth the $2500 purchase price.

    • jd

      Yeap~500 in the real world~

  2. Kincer Dave Member

    I’m gonna say it’s a 71 with a 70 rear bumper, 70 and 71 had that side trim but the front bumper, hood, and grille are totally different on 70, the trunk lid has the Oldsmobile lettering across the rear and that was 71 72, so I think someone pieced this together a while back with parts from different cars but betting it’s a 71.

    • Marty Member

      I’ll be the first to say it: maybe it was built up from a cowl!

      • hhaleblian

        good one Marty

  3. DREW V.

    If only I wasn’t half way across the country from them, I would snatch these up in a second… Both have tons of potential, either as builders or to part them out…

  4. Joe Cook

    i had a 1972 442 ram air 4 speed . but some one liked it more then i did . but i still have the keys and title and the motor . i don’t go for clone ‘s .

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    OK David, I’ll bite…what’s the startling part?

    • Glen

      I’m guessing it’s the price for the pair.

    • David Wilk Member

      I was pretty startled to see a Bricklin for sale as a field car a few miles from where I live. There just are not that many of them around anymore. I hate seeing rare cars like that being allowed to rust away.

      • JamestownMike

        David Wilk, Since your so close, any chance you could look at the cars in person? I’m REAL interested in the Cutlass if it isn’t too rusty. I don’t have any interest in the Bricklin but think it would be an easy flip. Would you consider going in together? Mike in Jamestown, NC

      • David Wilk Member

        Jamestown Mike – I will call the seller tomorrow and see what he says. I can go see it on Wednesday. Guessing that Olds is very rusty. David

      • JamestownMike

        That would be great! Please let me know what he says. Hopefully they’ll still be there by Wednesday. Wonder if the pair could be picked up for $2k??

      • JamestownMike

        Did you talk to the seller yet? Still plan on seeing it tomorrow?

      • David Wilk Member

        Mike – no reply from the seller despite repeated attempts at contact, so I must presume he sold these or was not a serious seller! – Sorry

  6. Kincer Dave Member

    Nothing startling, just think it’s listed as the wrong year.

    • Rex Kahrs Member

      No, I mean David Wilk, the guy who wrote the find up.

  7. Cassidy

    At least we know who to blame for the Yugo influx!

    • David Wilk Member

      Don’t blame me for Yugos!

      • Cassidy

        oh sorry David, I was talking about Bricklin

  8. piper62j

    Never had a taste for Bricklins and these years of the Olds A-Body’s seemed big and bulky to me..

  9. PaulG

    A buddy and I test drove a new Bricklin in 75. Was an interesting vehicle new, but can’t imagine trying to restore a 40+ year old one…
    Scottsdale AZ had a Bricklin police car at one time

  10. Rex Kahrs Member

    Wow, a Bricklin police car. Imagine this scenario: Cop pulls suspect over, suspect sees how slow the gull wing doors are opening, so he takes off. Cop then reverses the door, and it takes another 15 seconds to close before the cop can take off after the perp.

    I can even imagine the perp stopping a mile up the road to do it again! Straight out of Reno 911.

  11. James

    Every time I see one of these rare cars the Bricklin in such a neglected condition, I immediately think of a ‘one of a kind’ rat rod.. Forgive me for the blasphemy but it would get interest at a car show.. Although the body wouldn’t rust, my deviant mind would love to make it a rusty patina which would get any looker really thinking… I recall that in the later years, it had a Ford powerplant..

    That Olds looks like a ’71-’72 front clip and could be a ’70 rear based on the side trim and rear bumper – the bodies were nearly identical over those years with the exception of the hood grille/lights and rear bumper…

  12. fred

    James, that may be all you could do with it…finding parts for a car with such low production numbers would be really tough.

  13. George

    Where do you find a NOS hood for the Bricklin?

  14. Ben T Spanner

    I lived in Columbus Ohio when Byers bought the last 200 plus Bricklins. They were all parked in one lot at the Byers truck sales and repair facility. They would buy new unwanted vehicles in large quantities. They once had several hundred new long wheel base right hand drive Jeeps. They were two model years old and supposedly been reimported from England.

    At Christmas I spoke with and ex auto Dealer from Columbus (Mercedes from 1958) who imported dozens of new unsold Renault Dauphines. He said, the cars cost $600, and slow shipping was $300. $900 would have been about half of new retail.

  15. Kevin

    I just wanted to let eveyone know i bought both cars and they are safe in my shop in bridgeport ct.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Congratulations, Kevin! How about posting an update for us!

  16. Kevin

    Try to post a picture

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