Classic Sports Car

Death of a dream

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I was interested in the ill-fated gullwing dream cars, the Bricklin SV-1 and De Lorean DMC-12 (February). My brother Tom and his partner were granted one of the earliest Bricklin dealership­s, at a time when they were the slightly modish and altruistic­ally named motorcycle-only Rainbow Honda.

In the early 1970s, Honda only granted franchises for its cars to the most financiall­y sound marques, so most early dealership­s were paired with Cadillac! Luckily, in ’75 Honda Motor Ltd gave the ’bike dealership an automobile franchise – then the only freestandi­ng Honda car store in America – based on its excellent sales and service reputation.

There was trouble with the Bricklins on the day they arrived, with the doors a different colour from the rest of the body. The door seals were only a suggestion, because rain the first night resulted in a stream of water into their interiors. Although the telephone was always ringing with interest in the SV-1, in two years the company was only able to deliver eight cars.

The first car delivered locally only travelled three miles before the lower radiator hose blew off. After a price increase for the second year, Bricklins were more expensive than their closest competitio­n, the Corvette, and this, coupled with dismal quality control, doomed the firm to failure. The final three cars were sold to a chap in Canada, where interest in the locally built car had not yet disappeare­d.

Kevin H Park

Westlake Village, CA, USA

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