As much of a car fan as I am, I have absolutely no memory of this Bricklin SV-1, on display at the Ontario Science Centre in 1975. I’m standing, rather bored, to the left, aged eight, and my younger brother is taking the opportunity to sit on the display. It amuses me that no one bothered to finish the lower half of the pedestal–if this was a painting that detail would be considered cheeky commentary on the car itself. Maybe the Centre staff had a sense of humor.
I was much more into trains as a boy than I ever was into cars–it wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 and could dream of having my own car one day that I became aware of automobiles as objects of desire. I can still recall the first time I ever really saw an MGB, a ’68 or ’69 model in about 1981 or so–it struck me as an absolutely cool car, what with one mirror next to the driver’s window and the other way the heck out there on the passenger fender, and a top that came down. The idea of my parents owning one was outrageous, which made the idea of me owning one attractive indeed.
(My parents have always distrusted anything that combine the words “interesting” and “automobile,” especially in the context of their teenagers, so it was a lost cause lobbying to get an MG or equivalent as long as I lived on their nickel, in their house–hence the Buick and then the Toyota. But come to think of it, how did my brother get away with owning an Audi Fox for his first car just a couple of years later?)
It’s not a wonder I had completely forgotten the Bricklin until my mother presented me this snapshot over the holidays, as it’s a somewhat bland machine despite its “exciting” specification. The car was the creation of millionaire Malcolm Bricklin, built in Canada, and, alas, destined for history’s dustbin immediately. The gull-wing doors were eye-catching but the rest of it was pretty pedestrian and kit-car in appearance. About 2,800 were made in a year or so of production before the entire operation went belly-up, leaving the Canadian government on the hook for about $23 million–neatly foreshadowing the fate of another gull-winged specialty car to be built just a few years later in Ireland.