Classic Sports Car
Death of a dream
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