Performance in American cars had jumped off the proverbial cliff by 1974, but Malcolm Bricklin had the idea to capitalize on the newfound interest in safety regulations. He smooth-talked the Canadian government into funding a factory in the province of New Brunswick to build his “safety vehicle,” the SV-1.
The car’s shape was penned by noted designer Herb Grasse. The ahead-of-its-time, fiberglass-reinforced body had the color molded right into the acrylic, and was available in less-than-subtle colors like Safety Green and Safety Orange. The car up for auction here is one of 223 Safety White automatics made in 1974.
The car received a mechanical restoration some time in the past, with new tires, brakes, master cylinder, shocks and 4-bbl carburetor specifically mentioned. It’s had just 5k miles put on in the last 20 years, opposed to the nearly 52k acquired in its first 17.
The seller does not overlook the most controversial feature of the car, stating clearly “The doors open and stay open! And close/latch properly!” The hydraulically-assisted, electrically-powered gullwing doors weigh more than 100 lbs each—making it rather vexing for occupants trapped inside, comedic value notwithstanding. A new pump and solenoid were reportedly installed a year ago.
The Bricklin experiment lasted only a couple of model years, 1974-75, resulting in 2,897 examples. Included in that number are 34 from 1976 that were built from parts leftover after the company’s liquidation. Just 57 SV-1s have sold on eBay Motors in the last three years, with good-to-excellent cars averaging $8k to almost $13k. Click here to see this one.