This Bricklin SV-1 is an Affordable, Eye-Catching Oddball
You might think you can count on one hand the number of production cars with gullwing doors. Technically you can’t, but it’s true that a few are more famous than others. And when it comes to attention-grabbing looks blended with affordable values, the Bricklin SV-1 is unrivalled. Considering our recent coverage of the Mercedes 300SL, it looks like gullwing doors and radical engineering only become more valuable over time. If that’s the case, the sub-$20K Bricklin sold this week has nowhere to go but up, right?
OK, perhaps mentioning Canada’s Bricklin SV-1 in the same breath as a one of Germany’s 300SL is a bit too apples to oranges. But, as two classic cars and nothing else, they are both limited production sports cars that catch the eye. As for the low-slung Bricklin SV-1, it started with 1970s minimalist wedge style as a foundation, but built upon it to make a safety-oriented vehicle. The frame includes an integrated roll cage, and the recessed bumpers are able to withstand a five-mph impact, without resorting to the bolt-on afterthought battering rams found on many other cars of the era. The chassis is wrapped in a fiberglass body constructed with input from Bruce Meyers, Herb Grasse, and Dick Dean.
But while the Bricklin had distinctive looks up top, its not necessarily all wine and roses underneath the fiberglass. Bricklin, like any underfunded startup, raided someone else’s parts bin, and chose American Motors as the donor of choice. Suspensions were lifted from the AMC Hornet, including its less than sporting solid axle, leaf springs, and drum brakes for the Bricklin’s hind quarters. Early models had AMC’s 360 and a 4-barrel carburetor, but this later model on Bring a Trailer has Ford’s 351 Windsor with a two barrel and a modest 175 horsepower for its nearly 3500lb curb weight. This example also has Ford’s FMX automatic transmission. Only 137 cars reportedly came with a four-speed manual transmission supplied by Borg-Warner.
But to dig too deep into the Bricklin’s engineering realities is to miss the point. Just like how the DeLorean has taken flight over time, the Bricklin SV-1 is much more than the sum of its parts. It’s elevated to a piece of history, back when startup companies couldn’t go “to the moon” with a flashy rendering, and back when safety and performance were being redefined to what we enjoy today.
And this particular 1975 Bricklin SV-1, finished in “safety white,” presented itself very well when it was sold this week on Bring A Trailer for $19,425 (including fees). That’s significantly less than the Hagerty Price Guide’s value of $23,000 for a #3 (good) condition example, making this Bricklin quite a good deal.
In the last three years, values for the 1974-75 Bricklin SV-1 have increased a whopping 20%. That may not be as heroic as what we see today with DeLoreans or the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, but it no doubt shows that gullwing doors from a long-forgotten moment in history can still find appreciation amongst classic car enthusiasts.