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Bricklin SV-1

Model Year: 1975

Location of Manufacture: St. John, New Brunswick

American millionaire Malcolm Bricklin’s idea was to develop a “high performance safety car” which was also a sports car. Designed by Herb Grasse with its signature gull-wing doors, the Bricklin SV-1 (standing for “Safety Vehicle 1”) was prototyped in the early 1970s. Unable to find sufficient investment in the United States, Bricklin went to Canada where he was able to strike a deal in 1974 with the Province of New Brunswick.

In exchange for shares in the company, the New Brunswick government provided Bricklin with loans amounting to just under $3 million. Bricklin agreed to open two factories in the province – one in Saint John which would assemble the car, the other in Minto where the bodies would be produced.

Technical problems involving the fibreglass and plastic body, combined with design and engineering flaws resulted in the collapse of the company. The cost to produce an individual car was three times the wholesale value of the car.  

By the fall of 1975, the company was in receivership and the provincial government of New Brunswick was owed $23 million. Fewer than 3,000 cars had been produced despite massive infusions of millions of dollars of public funds.

In 2007, the Bricklin SV-1 won the dubious award of being included in Time magazine’s list of “The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.”