The Bricklin SV-1 is one of Canada’s few contributions to the automotive industry. It was the brainchild of American automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin, who had previously formed Subaru of America along with his business partner Harvey Lamm. Car & Driver recently fired up their time machine, set it for May 1975, and discovered their head-to-head road test of the SV-1 and Chevrolet’s newly updated 1975 C3 Corvette.
Bricklin’s vision for a car was different than many others. He envisioned his New Brunswick-built SV-1 (which stood for safety vehicle one) as being a safe and economical sports car, but his quest for safety meant the car was only safe and not very sporty. As a result, it got its behind handed to it pretty good in C&D’s comparo with the Corvette.
C&D said the Bricklin’s speed “is limited by the grip of the front tires,” and that “it feels more like a big sedan.” It also had relatively loose steering, with the driver writing that it “takes a quarter turn of the steering wheel before the car’s direction changes a noticeable amount.” The Ford 351 V8 wasn’t much better, coaxing the futuristic looking two-seater down the quarter-mile in a dull 16.6 seconds at 83.6 mph.
The criticism wasn’t exclusive to the Bricklin, though. C&D had a limited amount of good things to say about the ‘Vette, too. They noted that “the sheer enthusiasm for these cars doesn’t seem to hinge on any real demand for sparkling performance,” as they posted quarter-mile times within half a second of each other. The Corvette took a 30 horsepower loss in 1975 for emissions reasons, which put it on par with the performance of Corvettes offered nearly 15 years earlier.
The performance may have been similar, but the SV-1 and the C3 were dramatically different in their image. Read the full write up of these two quirky legends, complete with the expected complaints about the Bricklin’s odd electrically-powered gullwing doors and poor visibility, at this link.