Canada has a massive auto industry, just not their own. While many auto makers have manufacturing facilities in Canada, all of them belong to foreign companies. Canadians sure have tried to start their own car brand, but all have failed – with the possible exception of Campagna, but since that is more like a three-wheeled motorbike than a car, so shouldn’t count.
Back in the 1970’s, an American by the name of Malcom Bricklin wanted to start a new car company. I don’t know much details as to what lead Bricklin to start this company in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada – a city better known for its fishing industry than building sports cars – but he did.
Bricklin wanted to produce a sports car with gullwing doors for added visual drama, and contracted Herb Grasse to pen his dream car. Grasse had previously worked on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept, and the original Batmobile from the 1960’s TV series, so he knew how to pen an eye catching car.
Some say that safety was the reason that the Bricklin SV-1 (Safety Vehicle – 1) didn’t come with an ashtray or cigarette lighter (a common necessity in cars back in those days), but legend has it that by the time the car was finished, Bricklin noticed they forgot to add these features, and to justify their absence, they came up with the whole “Safety Vehicle” marketing concept – because smoking in a car can be a distraction and hence could cause an accident.
However, there was some actual safety stuff on the SV-1, since it had an integrated roll cage, 8 km/h energy absorbing bumpers, and side impact protection door beams. All this added weight, and while 1,570 kg doesn’t sound like a lot compared to modern cars (the new BMW M4 weighs in at 1,601 kg), but given its modest powertrain – AMC 360 V8 for 1974 production, Ford Windsor V8 for 1975-76 production – roughly 175 hp going to the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic (no manual available), this sports car wasn’t very fast.
The SV-1 wasn’t very waterproof either, as many owners complained that the door seals were insufficient, so when it rained, you’d get wet. However, the SV-1 did offer power opening and closing gullwing doors, which I think makes it the only production car to offer that from the factory.
The example I’m showcasing today has spent its entire life in Moncton, New Brunswick, not far from where the car was built, and in the last 40 years, has covered just 10,810 km. It’s dashboard was signed by Mr. Bricklin himself in 2011, and features the alluring (!!!) color scheme of Safety Red on Beige.
If you want to park it on your property, it’ll cost you $25,000 – making it the most expensive SV-1 I have ever seen. Still, if you’re interested, visit this >>>link<<<.
In its three-year production run, only 2,854 examples of the Bricklin SV-1 rolled off the production line, and I bet road worthy examples are far fewer than that today. So, if you’re looking for an interesting classic, give this a closer look – just don’t drive it when its raining.