1974 Bricklin SV-1 for sale: Quirky project car for under $4K

With a design ahead of its time but now undoubtedly retro, this shortlived sports car is a great project buy

Plucky entrepreneur starts car company, sets itself standards and uses technology beyond that of the rest of the automotive industry, faces occasional financial difficulties and gains a cult status. No, this isn’t Tesla, it’s the lesser known General Vehicles, otherwise known as Bricklin.

Its one car, the Bricklin SV-1; designation ‘safety vehicle one’ was simply a two seat sports car, following the design fashion of the time and implementing it with some additional ‘niche’ features like hydraulic gullwing doors. In actuality, it was an ambitious vision for automotive construction, which also served to reduce unemployment in Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada.

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The car was made with composite bodywork of acrylic resin bonded to fibreglass, a roll-over structure and energy absorbing bumpers, which are one of the striking details when giving the car a first look. Power comes from an overhead valve 360ci V8 engine, and a in-period 220hp delivered through the rear wheels.

It was built by the local population of Saint John through 1974 and ‘75 with the support of the local government. Once that support ended it called production to a stop, and became another of entrepreneur Malcom Bricklin’s failed ventures, but one that nevertheless he was extremely proud of. It is believed 2854 cars were made while things were looking good, and an estimated 1700 were to have survived on last count in 2012.

One example that may once feared to have been lost but is clearly still kicking about is this 1974 model, currently listed on eBay for $3500. It is chassis #78 and was found with just 1056 miles on the clock, with the same crossthread wheels and tyres it was sold with.

Only the paint job differs from the original specification, and it looks good considering it has been in a barn since the 1970s. According to the seller the owner of the car would visit it several times a year just to start the engine, but since his death has been sat in complete silence.

An additional remark from the seller is that ‘the car is sold as-is the drivers door frame is no good but I will include a replacement. The car is sold as-is it does roll and steer and I was told it could run. What you see is what you get car is being sold as a project!'

No doubt there's an element of risk but, at only $3500, it's definitely a tempting risk for such a quirky and unique piece of automotive history.

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