Bricklin SV-1

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Bricklin SV-1
ManufacturerGeneral Vehicle
Production1974–76
ClassSports car
Body styletwo-door coupé
LayoutFR layout
EngineAMC 360 V8 (1974)
Ford Windsor 351 V8 (1975–76)
Wheelbase96.0 in (2,438 mm)
Length178.6 in (4,536 mm)
Width67.6 in (1,717 mm)
Height48.15 in (1,223 mm) (doors closed)
Curb weight3,470 lb (1,570 kg)
 
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Bricklin SV-1
ManufacturerGeneral Vehicle
Production1974–76
ClassSports car
Body styletwo-door coupé
LayoutFR layout
EngineAMC 360 V8 (1974)
Ford Windsor 351 V8 (1975–76)
Wheelbase96.0 in (2,438 mm)
Length178.6 in (4,536 mm)
Width67.6 in (1,717 mm)
Height48.15 in (1,223 mm) (doors closed)
Curb weight3,470 lb (1,570 kg)
Rear
Interior

The Bricklin SV-1 was a gull-wing door sports car assembled in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. The body panels were manufactured in a separate plant in Minto, New Brunswick. Manufactured from 1974 until early 1976 for the U.S. market, the car was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin, an American millionaire who had previously founded Subaru of America. The car was designed by Herb Grasse.[1] Due to Bricklin's lack of experience in the auto industry, coupled with the funding problems,[2] the Bricklin factory was not able to produce vehicles fast enough to make a profit. As a result, only 2854 cars were built before the company went into receivership, owing the New Brunswick government $23 million.

The model name (SV-1), stood for "safety vehicle one".[citation needed] The original idea for the Bricklin SV-1 was a safe and economical sports car, but due to the added weight of the safety features, the car was inefficient and simply a safe sports car.[citation needed] The Bricklin was designed for safety with an integrated roll cage, 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers, and side beams.[citation needed] The body was fibreglass with bonded acrylic in five "safety" colours: white, red, green, orange and suntan.[citation needed] The cars had no cigarette lighter or ashtray.[3] Non-smoker Malcolm Bricklin believed it was unsafe to smoke and drive. The Bricklin is the only production vehicle in automotive history to have powered gull-wing doors, that opened and closed at the touch of a button, as standard equipment. (The later DeLorean DMC-12's gull-wing doors must be operated manually.)

The first Bricklin concept car, latter dubbed Grey Ghost, was built by Bruce Meyers of Meyers Manx dune buggy fame in California. Its initial powerplant was a Valiant Slant Six.[4]

Contents

Herb Grasse Design Work

In 1972 Herb Grasse, the designer of TV's original Batmobile, built three Bricklin styling models to interest banks and other potential investors in the gull-wing safety sports car.[5] The eventual full prototypes one, two, and three were a collaboration by Bricklin Vehicle Corporation, Herb Grasse Design and AVC Engineering.[4]

Technical specifications

Power came from a 360 cu in (5,899 cc) AMC 360 V8 for 1974. Later cars used a 351 cu in (5,752 cc) Ford Windsor V8. A high-performance V8 was chosen so that in case of an impending accident, the power of the V8 was enough for the owner to pull away from the potential accident[citation needed]. Performance figures rated favorably against the contemporary Corvette, which most auto magazines used as a point of comparison.[6][7] The front suspension used A-arms and coil springs, while the rear used leaf springs on a live axle. For the 1974 model year, 772 cars were produced, 137 of which had four-speed manual transmissions. All 1975 and 1976 cars had automatic transmissions. In 1974 potential owners were given a choice of transmission and color whereas in 1975 there was only a choice of color.

In an attempt to reduce production costs, Bricklin attempted to bond fibreglass to acrylic plastic—something the plastics industry had not perfected at the time—resulting in a high failure rate and high production costs (some panels cracked while still in their molds). The acrylic fiberglass body was ahead of its time. It soon became obvious that Bricklin's claims of a "high performance safety car" were made for advertising.

Tended to overheat using a single radiator opening in the 1974 model, and doubling the size of the opening failed to solve the problem. Running examples today generally feature a retrofitted larger radiator.

It is believed that fewer than 1120 Bricklin cars still exist.[8]

1976 models

After the Bricklin manufacturer's receivership, George Byers and Sol Shenk of Consolidated Motors, an automotive liquidator from Columbus, Ohio, purchased the majority of the parts and remaining cars left on the line. These cars surfaced later, completely assembled from left-over parts, and were sold as 1976 models.

Financial troubles

Under the direction of New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield, the provincial government provided financing of $4.5 million for Bricklin's car. The money had been advanced on the assumption that Bricklin needed it to begin the production of cars. In truth, it had paid for the engineering and development of Bricklin's car as well as many of the costs, including salaries of keeping Bricklin's U.S. companies in operation.[9] Also contributing to the company's decline was Bricklin's tendency to assign inexperienced family members to positions on the board directors. These included naming his father Vice-President of Engineering, his mother head of public relations, and designating his sister's husband the company attorney.

During production, the company was constantly in debt, and relied on provincial government support to keep running. One reason is the vehicle was estimated to cost $16,000 to build, but sold for $5000 each to dealers, so the company lost the equivalent in sales of more than two Bricklins for every car built. To further complicate problems, Richard Hatfield was discovered to have secretly funded the failing company to win reelection. After the funding scandal, the government turned down a request for an additional $10 million to keep the company running. The factory shut down, and was put into receivership on September 25, 1975.[10]

Bricklin and enthusiasts

In the media

Awards

1975 Bricklin SV-1 was rated by TIME in the series The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.[14]

Commemorating the Bricklin

See also

References

  1. ^ "Bricklin designs by Herb Grasse". Herbgrassedesign.com. http://www.herbgrassedesign.com/bricklin.htm. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  2. ^ Web Easy Professional Avanquest Publishing USA, Inc. (1975-09-26). "History of the Bricklin car". Bricklinautosport.com. http://bricklinautosport.com/bricklin_autosport_003.htm. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  3. ^ "Bricklin SV1". Autocar 143 (nbr 4107): pages 56–57. 26 July 1975.
  4. ^ a b The First Bricklin Concept Car Consumer Guides
  5. ^ "The Museum of Automobile History in Syracuse, N.Y., has everything, except cars. Gregg D. Merksamer, Popular mechanics, November 2001". Popularmechanics.com. http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/reader_rides/1267411.html?page=2. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  6. ^ Production of the 1974 and 1975 Bricklin SV-1 by The editors of Consumer Guide
  7. ^ Chevrolet Corvette Stingray vs. Bricklin SV-1 - Road Test By Don Sherman, May 1975
  8. ^ "Where are they now? " Bricklin International (Club Website), 31 October 2008
  9. ^ "Richard Hatfield." Heritage Resources, 21 January 2008.
  10. ^ Turning Points of History VI: Premier, Promoter & Their Car, Barna-Alper Productions Inc.
  11. ^ Pedersen, Andy. "Bricklin’s Wild Ride." CBC.ca, 21 February 2005.
  12. ^ "The Bricklin Song". Bricklin.org. http://www.bricklin.org/BI_BricklinSong.htm. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  13. ^ "Deadline Auto Theft Movie Trailer on youtube". Youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUHvRd-o_w8. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  14. ^ Dan, Niel (2007-09-07). "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time: 1975 Bricklin SV1". TIME Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658032,00.html.
  15. ^ "The Bricklin Stamp". Saintjohn.nbcc.nb.ca. 1974-07-01. http://www.saintjohn.nbcc.nb.ca/heritage/bricklin/Stamp.htm. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  16. ^ "2003 $20 Sterling Silver Land, Sea & Rail Coins". Coins4me.com. 2011-04-14. http://www.coins4me.com/canadian_royal_mint/2003_canadian_land_sea_rail_coins.htm. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  1. ^ 1974 Sales literature
  2. ^ Bricklin History

Books

Out of Print

External links