• Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
  • Chassis number 
  • Engine number 
  • Lot number 
  • Reference number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Location
    United Kingdom
  • Exterior colour 
  • Performance 
    383 PS / 282 kW / 378 BHP


Manufactured from 1974 until early 1976 for the U.S. market, the car was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin, who had previously founded Subaru of America although the actual design was the work of Herb Grasse, the designer of TV's original Batmobile. The model name (SV-1), stood for "Safety Vehicle one". Assembly took place in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

The original concept was a safe and economical sports car, with an integrated roll cage, 5mph bumpers and side beams. The body was colour-impregnated acrylic resin bonded to fibreglass in five "safety" colours (White, Red, Green, Orange and Suntan) which had the potential to reduce costs, as it eliminated the need for the factory to paint the cars in a separate step. Cigarette lighters or ashtrays were not provided as non-smoker Bricklin believed it was unsafe to smoke and drive. The SV-1 was the only production vehicle in automotive history to have powered gull-wing doors, opening and closing at the touch of a button. An innovative design it may have been, but for his choice of power unit Malcolm Bricklin relied on the tried and tested good old US V8. Cars built in 1975 and 1976 were fitted with the 351ci (5,752 cc) Ford Windsor V8 mated to the 3-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission although 1974 cars were optioned with a 4-speed manual box. Performance figures rated favourably against the contemporary Corvette, which most magazine road-tests used as a point of comparison. 

Due to Bricklin's lack of experience in the auto industry, coupled with funding problems, the Bricklin factory was not able to produce vehicles fast enough to make a profit. As a result, only 2,897 cars were built before the company went into receivership, owing the New Brunswick government $23 million. An estimated 1,700 Bricklins are thought to be somewhere in the world today, not a bad survival rate. Despite the Bricklin’s troubled story, the marque has a dedicated and loyal following, and several parts suppliers offer door conversion kits and body parts.

Finished in Safety White and powered by the 5.7-litre Windsor V8 with an automatic transmission, the SV-1 on offer here is thought to be one of only a couple of running and driving cars in the UK today and, our vendor informs us, is in good order. Imported from California in 2018, the mileage today is 34,895 and during his current ownership the suspension bushes, fuel lines and brakes have all either been changed or refurbed where needed and the carburettors rebuilt. Interestingly the doors have also been converted to have a remote operation and videos of this in action can be supplied upon request. This SV-1 has also enjoyed appearances recently at various car shows and indeed graced the concours lawn at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2021.

Ten years ahead of his erstwhile colleague, John DeLorean, Malcolm Bricklin's gull-winged, safety-conscious V8 sports car was an interesting chapter in the tale of the automobile and is to be respected for putting safety first at a time when that was simply not in fashion.