Our friends at Automodello, who shared their Griffith Series 200 with us, have provided us with another beautifully crafted small scale diecast vehicle to ogle. This time they have focused their skilled efforts on the Bricklin SV1 and the results are speak for themselves.Founder of Subaru of America, Malcom Bricklin teamed up with designer Herb Grasse to produce their vision of a sports car that was also safe to drive. The result of their work is the Canadian-born Bricklin SV1, or Safety Vehicle One. It featured stand-out styling thanks to the push-button operated gullwing doors, fiberglass body, and five available “safety” colors which were white, green, red, orange, and suntan. Besides the styling, the SV1 included an integrated roll cage, 5 mph bumpers, and side impact beams.
Production of the Bricklin SV1 ran from 1974 up through 1976. The 1974 model SV1s were powered by an AMC 360 V8 engine. For 1975 and ’76, power was upgraded thanks to a Ford 351 V8. During the 1974 model-year production, 772 cars were created and 137 of those were equipped with a four-speed manual transmission. The 75-76 cars all came with automatic transmissions.
Unfortunately for Mr. Bricklin, the production of the SV1 was issues both financial and technical. The cars were not turning a profit fast enough to keep up with costs, which as any econ 101 student will tell you is a very bad thing. Another major factor was the $16,000 per car production cost. The cars were sold to dealers at just $5,000. My math isn’t great, but that seems the opposite of smart to me. To combat cost, the fiberglass bodies were being bonded to acrylic plastic. This process had not yet been perfected at the time and lead to major cracking issues with the body parts, with some pieces even cracking before coming out of the mold. Ultimately, the company went into receivership and the remaining parts were purchased by a company which put them together to produce the 1976 models.
The Bricklin SV1 is a part of motoring history that can easily get lost as time marches forward. Automodello is there to try and prevent that from happening. Their beautiful collectible preserves the style and ingenuity that Malcom Bricklin and Herb Grasse attempted to create. This is not a “toy” but a piece of automotive modern art and deserves a place in any collectors display.
Thanks to Automodello for sending me an example of their newest diecast! Visit Automodello.com for information on this and their other collectibles.