Malcolm N. Bricklin: Weird Guys Those Americans

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Malcolm N. Bricklin (born March 9, 1939) is an American businessman, widely known for an unorthodox career spanning more than six decades with numerous prominent failures and successes - primarily manufacturing or importing automobiles to the United States - to eventually starting up more than thirty companies.

An enterprising character or a megalomaniac?

After franchising his father's hardware stores at the age of 19, Bricklin founded Subaru of America, Inc. in 1968. founded General Vehicles to manufacture the Bricklin SV-1 (1974-76), imported and sold Fiat X1 / 9 and Fiat 124 Sport Spider (1982), he also imported the Yugo / Zastava Koral hatchback from what was then Yugoslavia (1985-1992), an electric bicycle marketed as the EV Warrior (1982), and had contracts for the import and distribution of Chinese-made vehicles under the Chery brand (2004). In 2017, at the age of 78, he promoted a plan to convert high-end car dealers into high-end art dealers, after becoming interested in the business aspect of art.

He could have become president just like that

In 2005, the New York Times said that Bricklin is "often compared to a car version of PT Barnum." Phineas Taylor Barnum was an American showman, politician and businessman, known for promoting famous hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

In 2009, noted documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock said Bricklin “is going non-stop. He is a pure testosterone bomb, a brilliant negotiator and an incredible character. ” In 2013 Rolling Stone described him as "brash, bombastic and pathologically inclined to bluff and cheat." In 2017, Autoweek in English said that Bricklin "has a mind that works like a machine gun." Keith Crain, publisher of Automotive News said Bricklin is "like one of those toy clowns who when you hit it, it bounces right back up." And we have heard that more recently.

But he was also a visionary. After all, he said very early on: “China is coming. This is the way the world is going. It's what the consumer wants. ”

Safety Vehicle

“SV” stood for “Safety Vehicle,” and Bricklin applied standards ahead of those required by the US government in the 1s, including surpassing US crash protection standards. The SV-XNUMX protected the occupants with a roll cage and a chassis that could withstand a high-speed impact without deforming… The car had no cigarette lighter or ashtray, as Bricklin considered smoking while driving to be unsafe.

The Bricklin SV-1

The Bricklin construction featured a vacuum forming process with color-impregnated acrylic bonded to fiberglass body panels. The car received mostly positive attention from the consumer media. In the Car & Driver comparison test, a '75 Bricklin with the Ford engine almost matched a '75 Corvette in every performance category - and Bricklin's power-operated gull-wing doors were also top notch. Despite some caveats about build quality and ergonomic shortcomings plus its price, Car and Driver called the Bricklin "a tangible threat to the Corvette."

Intended for the US market, the Bricklin SV-1s were manufactured in Canada in the province of New Brunswick, where unemployment was addressed, which reached nearly 70% in the mid-25s. New Brunswick Prime Minister Richard Hatfield backed the county's involvement in the Bricklin venture as a way to build a manufacturing base that could provide stable, well-paid jobs and generate interest in the county through the publicity that the car offered.

Production began in mid-1974 and continued through the end of 1975, employing over 1200 people at the factories of Saint John and Minto, New Brunswick. In September 1975, after building 2.854 cars and setting up more than 400 US car dealers with 40.000 backorders, the province refused to provide further financial assistance and forced the company into receivership because politics is unintelligible.

We received the Bricklins with date indication on the photos from our Canadian friend Bas van der Hoek, for which our thanks.


When press kits were still on paper and in black and white




Give a reaction
  1. I recently saw one at fatom works and they should have put in a lot of time to get the car tidy, because the build quality, the fit of the panels etcetera was deplorable.

  2. What a beautiful model.
    If they were still for sale in 2020, I would buy one immediately, just to be able to place them as a beautiful flower in that terribly ugly SUV landscape.

  3. Totally agree with the cartoon figure.
    Has it ever appeared in NL?
    Well I think Volvo's were also very safe at the time. I also understand that “beautiful” is subjective, but if I could choose I knew ………… until a Bernese Mountain dog beast has to come with it😇, then I don't know

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