Gull-Winged Albatross: 1975 Bricklin SV1 – Sold?

Feb 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

February 20, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Malcolm Bricklin’s ill-fated SV-1 built between 1974 and 1975 ended up producing a total of just under 3,000 cars and number 1,456 produced in 1975 is originally listed on Craigslist in February 2021 in Smithfield, Virginia (Norfolk) with a Ford powertrain and 46K original miles with an asking price of $17,500. Poor build quality long kept the values of these rare Canadian-built cars very low, however, as this example indicates, that no longer appears to be the case.  A check scan of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the current caretaker has their Safety White SV-1 priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $13,500 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $22,000.  As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review confirms the current caretaker’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $12,450 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $18,725.

The Bricklin SV-1 was the pipe dream of hit-or-miss entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin who wanted to build a small, affordable sports car with gullwing doors. If you’re not familiar with the name, Bricklin is mostly known for launching the Subaru brand in the U.S. in 1968 and later imported the Yugo in the mid-eighties.  Not as well known is the fact that after Fiat left the U.S. market in 1982, Bricklin created International Automobile Importers (IAI) that year to continue importing the X/19 and 124 Roadster, renaming them the Bertone and the Pininfarina Azzura.

Noteworthy for gull-wing doors and color-impregnated, acrylic resin-and-fiberglass-bonded bodywork, integrated roll-over structure, and energy-absorbing bumpers, the abbreviation SV-1 stood for “safety vehicle one” as Bricklin promoted the safety of his innovative sports car. Known as the “P.T. Barnum” of the automotive world, Bricklin convinced the Province of New Brunswick in Canada to fund a manufacturing plant to build the car.  After a rushed and not fully tested redesigned prototype finally entered production, the factors that led to the SV-1’s short life span included ongoing quality control problems, supplier shortages, worker absenteeism, and a series of price increases that more than doubled the price of the car in two years.  If you want the complete history and both sides of the story, here’s a link to a great video documentary on the Bricklin:


Being among the last Bricklins produced, this car came equipped with a Ford-sourced 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 connected to the company’s FMX automatic.  This appears to be a nice example for someone looking to add an oddball sports car to their growing collection. We really like how the modern five-spoke American Racing Wheels complement the looks of this swoopy hatchback.  While the current owner is a private party, it appears they decided to list it on consignment with their local independent repair/performance shop. Consequently, understand the current asking price likely has a fair amount of mark-up embedded in the ask, so don’t be afraid to try to negotiate firmly on this one.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

Rare 1975 Bricklin SV-1. Production number #1456, has approximately 46k miles, 351 Windsor, 3-speed FMX automatic transmission, in the color Safety White.
With less than 3000 produced between 1974 and 1976 and less than half believed to still be in existence this is definitely a rare find.
This vehicle is believed to be mostly original with some exceptions. The original gull-wing door lift and latch electro-hydraulic systems have been replaced with a more reliable air operated system. The interior seating area has been upgraded with a redesigned console. The wheels, air cleaner, and shifter knob are not original to the vehicle.

Recent notable work includes: Transmission rebuild by AAMCO in November of 2017 including rebuilt torque converter. At the same time, AAMCO pulled the engine for a full re-seal. Engine service also included new timing chain/ gear, new heater hose assembly, new radiator hoses, new drive belts, air pump belt and rebuilt starter. Approximately 500 miles on the vehicle since. The carburetor was rebuilt in June 2020 by Tidewater Auto Electric. New battery installed in November 2020.

Known issues listed by the seller include: Original radio is operational, however, the clock in the radio is inoperable. Fuel gauge does not read higher than slightly over ½ tank when full. Tachometer is inoperable.

Interesting facts about the Bricklin SV-1:
• The vehicle is not equipped with an ashtray or lighter for safety reasons. There was also no provision for a spare tire.
• The Bricklin was only produced in 5 colors (Safety White, Safety Red, Safety Orange, Safety Suntan and Safety Green).
• Tan was the only interior color available.
• The color of the vehicle was the only option available.
• The body panels are made up of a composite material of acrylic resin bonded to fiberglass substrate. The acrylic was impregnated with the body color, therefore, there is no paint on the body panels.
• A card with an 800 number was provided to Bricklin owners to be used if problems occurred while on the road. When called, a phone number for a nearby dealer was given to the Bricklin owner which would provide parts or assistance. That phone number rang directly to the kitchen of Malcolm Bricklin’s mother.

Priced at $17,250. Being sold by Daniels Performance Group for the owner on consignment.

Show or go: what would you do with this Bricklin?  Comment below and let us know!


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