[DeTomaso] Bricklin Tail Lights and Other Questions....

Stratton, Steven - BLS Stratton.Steven at bls.gov
Tue Oct 28 14:29:46 EDT 2008


In reply to the several comments and questions about the Bricklin that
came up, I thought I could help answer some questions and clear up a few
misconceptions about the car. To begin, my name is Steve Stratton and I
am the VP of Bricklin International, the club dedicated to the
preservation of the SV-1 (The model designation of the car.) I also own
two Bricklin's, a 1975 and one the very few 1976's produced before the
company went into receivership. My 1976 car is stock with the original
351W/2BBL/FMX combination and around 16,000 miles. My 1975 has been
rebuilt as a more modern car and modified with a crate 351W/4BBL Road
Demon Carb, 4-Speed AOD Transmission, Headers, Flowmaster Exhaust, etc.
I have had both cars rebodied with straight Fiberglass body panels, as
the original fiberglass color-bonded acrylic panels would crack, fade
and warp in sunlight. (Acrylic makes great shower stalls, but not good
car body panels.) The gullwing doors were originally a hydraulic system,
but most of the surviving cars have been updated to an Air Door
configuration that is a 100% improvement over the original and opens and
closes the doors inside of two seconds.
To answer a few questions:
1.) The taillights are indeed Carello's from a Pantera. Herb Grass, the
designer of the Bricklin was driving a Pantera at the time of the car's
design (in 1973) (and he has owned two Mangusta's, according to my
conversations with him), and he did not like the original tail light
designs on the clay model of the Bricklin. So, he went out to his car,
removed the Pantera tail lights, painted them clay color, and stuck them
on the model that was casted for the Bricklin panels. That's how the
Bricklin ended up with Pantera tail lights. 

2.) All 1974 Bricklin's came with an AMC 360 4BBL Engine and were paired
with either a t-10 4-Speed or Torqueflite Automatic transmission. This
would account for the first 773 cars produced. All 1975's and the 30 or
so 1976's came with a 351W/2BBL and FMX 3-speed Automatic Transmission.
(Which together made for poor performance, since the 75's were seriously
detuned due to the regulations in effect at the time.) All 1976 cars
came with Catalytic Converters, which slowed things down even more. 

3.) Malcolm Bricklin built the car from "Off The Shelf" parts, so there
were no real deals with any other manufacturer. The designers and most
of the production staff at the time were ex-Ford people, and they were
behind the push to the 351 from the AMC 360. Also, AMC had winded down
Javelin production during that time period and the 360 was getting hard
to come by. As for Malcolm bringing in the Yugo, it is true. But, before
designing the Bricklin, he was also the man who founded Subaru of
America, but sold out to do the Bricklin. (A mistake on his part, as
from what the stories are, if he had held onto his Subaru stock, he
would be very wealthy indeed.) He also imported the Fiat/Bertone cars in
the early 80's.

4.) The Chop Cut Rebuild car did have its original 351W rebuilt into the
monster that they put into the rebuilt car. No Bricklin's came with
351C's. I have spoken with both Dan Woods, the host of CCR and Syndicate
Concepts, and they confirmed the motor is the original 351W that came
out of the car. The FMX was dumped, however, for a C-6.

>>>>> Incredibly safe for their day, solid engineering, some of it
genuinely advanced, with questionable aesthetics, and horrible build
quality.   The fiberglass would warp as it dried, so none of the panels
line up properly.

5.) As I previously stated, the body panel quality was non-existent.
While there are some original cars that look good with original Acrylic
body panels, most cars that have been restored have been updated with
Fiberglass panels or a mix of the two, and then the cars would be
painted. The five original Bricklin colors were Safety Red, White,
Green, Orange, and Suntan. I also heard stories from the factory that up
to 40% of body panels that they produced were trashed prior to use, due
to the fact that the bonding process would not work and the Acrylic
would "peel off" the finished panel.

6.) There is a club for Bricklin owner's and admirers (And Mike, John
Worsley is a board member of the club, and he was at our National Meet
with the Delorean Club in Gettysburg, PA this past June. Please tell
John I said hello.) 

As for myself, I happen to like DeTomaso's (though the Pantera is too
low and tight for me to get into, my favorites are the 'goose and the
Longchamp, which I am looking for one to buy,) Bricklin's have been a
favorite of mine since I saw my first one as a teenager in the 80's.
Just like DeTomaso's, all of the parts, except for body panels, are "off
the shelf" and can easily be located with the right sources. The
Bricklin community has two businesses who manufacture body panels and
restore cars; one located in Bedford, VA and the other in Milford,
Michigan. There is a third group of restorers in Ottawa, ONT and a parts
supplier in California. 

Dave, Mike, Barry, Asa, Dan, Roland, et. all, I hope this helped answer
some of the questions that were brought up by members of this group. If
you would like to see pictures of my 1976 Bricklin, it is the Suntan car
with VA tags on Ultimate Car Page.com. The link is:

The engine and interior picture on the site are also from my 1976. As I
hope you can see, the cars can be saved and are aesthetically pleasing,
but a lot of Bricklin's have been left to die and most of those that I
have seen for sale on Ebay and Craigslist are in horrible shape and well
beyond saving.

The following link is from our meet with the Delorean group in
Gettysburg. There were almost two hundred cars in attendance over the
weekend. http://photos.grenexmedia.com/Events/533955


Steve Stratton

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