1975 Bricklin SV-1


  • Only known road legal UK Bricklin
  • Later example with Ford 5.8-litre V8
  • Some early history
  • Incredible rarity – once in a lifetime opportunity


Malcolm Bricklin is an automotive tubthumper extraordinaire – he gets knocked down but he gets back up again. From the highs of being a hardware store millionaire by the age of 30 to the lows of being bankrupt five times, having launched both Subaru (successfully) and Yugo (disastrously) in the USA and becoming the inspiration for a famous episode of The Simpsons in which Homer creates his own car, his life in the car industry is one well-lived. Now in his 80s, he’s still actively involved in automotive projects.

In among his amazing career was the SV-1 - Malcom Bricklin’s dream. His very own car from his very own car company, which he launched at the age of just 29. Bricklin’s ‘SV-1’ was a striking, wedge-shaped coupe that was aimed at the sports car market (especially the Corvette), but packed with safety innovations that were its USP (SV-1 stood for ‘Safety Vehicle Number 1’).

Anti-submarine seats, separate safety cell and gullwing doors (to stop the opening of doors into traffic) were among its innovations. But with no external investment, Bricklin soon whittled down his fortune. In the end, his venture got the support from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The region's Premier, Richard Hatfield, decided that the region would invest an initial $4.5 million in creating the production facility – in the hope that the jobs would enliven what was a deprived area. Production began in 1974 in St John, New Brunswick, with 1,200 employees manufacturing the cars and a network of 400 dealers across Canada and North America. 

Bricklin frequently boasted of 40,000 pre-orders (one would imagine to procure further investment) but the reality is that just 2,897 cars were made, each featuring multiple build quality issues, before almost all external investors pulled the plug. 

This one is the only known, working example in the UK, imported here in 2019 and used for various shows and events by its owner since. It’s an original, low mileage Canadian-made example with the later Ford V8 in lieu of the AMC unit that powered earlier models, so is also pretty easy to own. One things for sure – you’re unlikely to see another coming the other way…


  • Imported in late 2018
  • First registered in the UK in January 2019
  • Fully road legal and UK registered
  • Previously owned by one registered keeper in Burlingham, California
  • Copies of former title slips from California Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Invoices for recent brake and mechanical work
  • Original owners’ handbook
  • 34,960 miles indicated
  • UK V5C
  • Tax and MOT exempt
  • Workshop repair and service manuals
  • Copies of three classic magazines featuring this very car
  • Old road test books
  • Owners’ club documents


  • Two-tone brown “anti-submarine” seats
  • Six-dial dash
  • Aftermarket door conversion to a pneumatic system
  • Original integrated radio-cassette
  • Air conditioning
  • Electric windows

The biggest challenge with the Bricklin is working out how to get in. Once unlocked, there’s a vacuum-operated switch that releases the gullwing driver’s door and it raises automatically to allow access.

A common conversion has been carried out here, with the ponderous hydraulic door opening system having been replaced with a speedier and more reliable pneumatic system. The air tank is hidden in the rear bumper and the system works very well.

Avoid getting clonked on the head and you’re greeted by an amazingly kitsch cabin. Beige and brown vinyl dominates, with complementary cloth inserts to the seat centres. All the fabrics look to be in good order, with minimal wear and no major damage we could see. The same can be said of the brown, deep-pile carpets. Black rubber mats sit atop them to offer a little extra protection.

The slab-fronted six dial dash has a hint of Ford Capri to it and features the original radio-cassette, which is a lovely period detail. Everything is in good order and of a style definitive to the mid-1970s. It realyy couldn’t be anything else.


  • Safety White paintwork
  • GFRP and Acrylic layers bodyshell
  • Gullwing doors with pheumatic operation
  • Tubular steel chassis
  • Very good overall condition

In certain lights, the Bricklin looks to be two colours. It isn’t. It’s Bricklin Safety White (they were always highly visible colours as this was part of the safety spiel) and the bumpers, side trims and mirrors are painted, whereas the main GFRP/Acrylic composite body isn’t. It has the same shiny surface as a bathtub. Indeed, you’re supposed to clean it with bathroom cleaner (though we’d advise you to go easy on the limescale remover near those delicate finned alloy wheels). 

All of the surface looks to be in fine condition, with no notable damage, no cracks and no significant blemishes we could see. Obviously, there are some minor marks and areas of wear, as you'd expect from any vehicle approaching its 50th anniversary. But, overall, the body is very well kept indeed.

Similarly, the external trim and badging, such as there is, presents well. So too, the light lenses and glass elements are all in fine fettle, with no cracking or chipping apparent.

The front bumper is impact resistant to 10mph and retracts hydraulically, while the pop-up headlights (which go up and down one at a time) use a mechanically operated vacuum to work automatically, much like an old Mercedes-Benz central locking system but on an industrial scale. It’s a fascinating albeit slightly oddball approach. But it works and works well.

It appears to be completely original and, although there are minor marks here and there, the condition is remarkably good in general and it appears sound underneath.


  • 5.8-litre Ford 'Windsor' V8 (351ci)
  • Three-speed automatic 
  • Recently serviced
  • Runs well

Compared with the rest of the Bricklin, the Ford V8 and automatic transmission are quite conventional – although that means you can actually use the car without having to worry too much about mechanical reliability and parts sourcing. The compact 351ci V8 is robust and parts are reasonable and simple to acquire. Thanks to the oil crisis and mid-70s emissions controls in the US, that mighty V8 delivers 175hp. But, should you require more power, Carroll Shelby had this same engine delivering a reliable 390hp. So the potential for more shove is there and very accessible.

Meanwhile, it's reported that the car runs and drives without any mechanical issues. Most of the running gear comes from proprietary US manufacturers, too, and the literature that comes with the car will help you source the correct steering, suspension and brake parts if needed. It might be an ultra-rare car, but the Bricklin is quite a straightforward one to own from a mechanical perspective.


It's true, the Bricklin may not be a 'high end' rarity like a 250GTO or Aston Zagato. However, park this on a concours lawn (as the current owner has) and we know which one will garner the most interest and raise the most questions. If you're after a show-stopping, head-turning classic, then look no further.

As this is the only road legal Bricklin SV-1 in the UK, it's also a vanishingly rare machine. This is a genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the most controversial and fascinating cars ever made. 

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1975
  • Make Bricklin
  • Model SV-1 Coupé
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 34,960 Miles
  • Engine size 5751
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Milton Keynes
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
25 bids
  • h4_affi•••• £8,600 08/02/23
  • steve-w•••• £8,500 08/02/23
  • h4_affi•••• £8,000 08/02/23
  • steve-w•••• £7,900 08/02/23
  • andrzej•••• £7,800 08/02/23
  • tarbon £7,600 08/02/23
  • h4_affi•••• £7,500 08/02/23
  • David34•••• £7,400 08/02/23
  • h4_affi•••• £7,300 08/02/23
  • David34•••• £7,100 08/02/23

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