1975 Bricklin SV-1 / The Safety Vehicle

Malcolm Bricklin began his own automobile manufacturing company in 1974. This was after starting Subaru of America and importing the Subaru 360. The story is quite interesting albeit a short one. Bricklin began in 1974 with loans from the New Brunswick government and went into receivership in September of 1975. The theory behind the financial support from New Brunswick was to create jobs in the two planned factories.

bricklin sv-1
1975 Bricklin SV-1

The 1975 Bricklin SV-1 featured in this article was created Malcolm Bricklin and designed by Herb Grasse. As mentioned above, two plants were set up.  Minto was chosen as the location for the Acrylic Body Fabrication while St. John, New Brunswick was the Assembly Facility. New Brunswick reportedly poured in some $23 million before the plug was pulled on the venture.

Because of the very short production run, the Bricklin is a rare car. As to the exact number produced, there’s some disagreement. Reports are that 780 vehicles were produced in 1974 and 2,062 units in 1975. When the company went out of business there were twelve vehicles left on the assembly line that were to be 1976 models. In fact, the last official Bricklin SV-1 that was built was designated a 1976 model.

bricklin sv-1 interior
Bricklin SV-1 interior

The Theory Behind the Bricklin SV-1

The Bricklin SV-1 was a sports car with safety being the number one priority. The “SV-1” meant Safety Vehicle First Edition. Here are some of the car’s features which were designed for safety.

* Gull Wing Doors that when opened did not interfere with traffic.

* A Four-Sided Perimeter Box Frame which incorporated a Roll Cage to provide maximum protection.

* Bumpers that exceeded Federal government standards.

* Five “Safety” Colors were available including Safety White, Safety Orange, Safety Red, Safety Green, and Safety Suntan.

Bricklin Production Difficulties

The Bricklin SV-1 was built in New Brunswick but many of the car’s parts came from Detroit. This fact alone created serious problems with supply.

Difficulties also included the sport car’s quality. These included problems with the electric Gull Wing doors, inferior weather stripping and general poor quality of assembly. Put all this together with disappointing sales numbers and the end of financial support from New Brunswick and the automaker folded.

1975 Bricklin SV-1 Specifications

The 1975 Bricklin SV-1 built for the North American market came with a Ford 351 cubic inch V-8 engine with a stated horsepower of 175. Top speed was rated at 103 MPH and the car’s Zero to 60 rating was 9.1 seconds.

Transmission was an automatic three speed.

Dimensions for the 75 Bricklin included a 96 inch wheelbase, an overall outside length of 178.6 inches and a width of 67.6 inches. The curb weight was 3,470 lbs. This was heavier than the Chevy Corvette.

The Bricklin was the only production vehicle at the time to have powered gull-wing doors that opened and closed electrically.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below..

1964 Corvette Stingray

The 1955 Gull Wing Mercedes

A good book regarding the Bricklin SV-1 and it’s short time in New Brunswick is...Only in New Brunswick by author David Goss.

bricklin sports car
Rear view of the Bricklin SV-1

Bricklin SV-1 Production Totals

As mentioned above, total production was just under 3,000 vehicles during the company’s short time in existence in New Brunswick.Trying to find the serial number of the last Bricklin built is not an easy task. There was confusion during the last days of the company’s operations and there were cars left on the production line in various states of assembly. Reportedly, the last car left on the Bricklin assembly line when it was shut down had a VIN 2864. This automobile was fully assembled and drivable. That being said, the VIN of the last recorded Bricklin was #2857. That was the official number quoted.

Obviously there were cars built past that number and that’s where the confusion rests as to exactly how many Bricklins were eventually built. We do know that cars 2858 to 2864 were fully assembled but not entered into the company’s books. There were likely cars assembled later with spare parts that would add to those numbers.

bricklin sv-1 dashboard photo
Dashboard view of the Bricklin SV-1

Bricklins For Sale

As mentioned, there were under 3,000 Brickilns built during the short production run. Most estimates are that there are about 1,200 vehicles still around. This figure alone would tell you that the Bricklin is somewhat rare.

The Bricklin is a part of automotive history and therefore is an interesting collector car. At the time the car was an achievement and was the first automobile designed and built specifically for safety which is what the SV-1 is all about.  At the same time the car resembles somewhat the DeLorean without the stainless steel and power.

If you have a Bricklin that requires some restoration, parts are available from a few suppliers that can be found online.

There are not a plethora of Bricklin SV-1’s for sale as of this writing but there are some. Asking prices range from about $14,000 to $30,000. Mechanical and cosmetic condition will determine the asking price.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)