Bricklin Dilemma

Hi there,

My name is SGT Christian Hodge. I am a member of the New Hampshire National Guard currently on a deployment overseas to Kuwait, and my father Skyped me today telling me about the story on this Gentleman having trouble figuring out what he wants to do with his Bricklin. It would be awesome to get more information about it and maybe have an sweet looking ride when i got back to the states. Thanks again and keep the laughs coming!

Sgt. Hodge

I greatly appreciate your service to our country, but I hope you know what you would be in for if you owned a Bricklin!

If you wanted the car as a project car/second or third car/curiosity, that would be fine. However, if you envision a Bricklin as a daily driver, you would be sadly disappointed. These cars were none too reliable when new, and after 35 years, things could only get worse.

Parts for the American Motors-supplied engines and transmissions could be difficult to find, and body/chassis/interior parts would likely be impossible to find. Perhaps the most “charming” aspect of these cars is the electrically operated gull-wing doors. If you can get past the abundant water leaks, you might be dismayed by being trapped inside the car in the event of a dead battery or other electrical malfunction.

These cars are best appreciated from afar.

Sgt. Hodge,
I too want to offer my sincere and heartfelt thank you for your service to our country. My prayers are with you and all those serving overseas. Come home safely.

The attached link should give you some good information on the Bricklin.

They are in fact cool cars and a true piece of history, but not something you’d want to rely on as a daily driver. And at its age it’ll probably need a lot of restoration.

However, if the current owner is looking for a home for his Bricklin and willing to let it go cheap, it might make a great project.

I worked with a guy in Ohio when the car was launched. He understood the car business and immediately ordered one, since he already knew that the company would fold (Malcolm’s dubious reputation and the poor location to build anything complex).

He bought is as a future collectable curiosity, while the gulligble New brunswick government, after being warned to not give Bricklin a dime, kept hoping all would turn out well. I’m not sure if my friend’s original $14,000 or so was a good investment; he had no intention of driving it, and where the car is now.

Much later, John Delorean pulled a very similar stunt by building such a car in Northern Ireland. We all know how that went.

If the Bricklin was a good car, it might be worth collecting, but it is a technical dog.

SGT Hodge: I agree with the other comments - if you’re interested in a (lifelong) project car, that’s one thing, but if you want something reliable to drive, look elsewhere.

I think the caller’s best bet (i.e., to keep peace in the family + address his own preferences) would be to convert the Bricklin to all-electric operation – he mentioned he was more of a Prius-type guy. That won’t fix the leaky/reluctant doors, but it should get rid of the oil and gas puddles.

Do you suppose THIS is the car Doc?

He’d have been better off investing the nearly $10,000 price tag in a good mutual fund in 1975.

You mentioned you were more of a Prius guy, so I thought you might want to make it into a green project car. There’s loads of videos on converting a gasoline car to EV on Youtube. Pull that gasoline engine and exhaust system outta there and put in some modern lithium batteries. Google Saft or Altairnano or others to find out where and how to get the best batteries, then a little more research on the electric motor, could be a fun way to solve the problem and learn a something new.

The answer to the caller’s problem is incredibly simple:

Donate it to a car museum. And make an engraved sign that says “On long term permanent loan from the collection of Dr. So and So” to go in front of it.

Explain to the good doctor that you Are Not Worthy of having such a treasure and that a car of this rarity and significance should be appreciated by lovers of fine machinery everywhere. It belongs in a museum where it can be protected and admired by all future generations.

Also, get him a tax deduction for the donation.

And if you can’t find a car museum that will take it, threaten to burn the place down if they don’t.

I don’t know, the fellow lived in Alliance, Ohio. My old house bought new in 1972 for $28,000 is now worth $400,000. A $10,000 Bricklin selling for $30,000 today has been a poor investment, considering the storage and insurance costs all these years.

“And if you can’t find a car museum that will take it, threaten to burn the place down if they don’t.”

Excellent advice!
Being charged with Making Terroristic Threats is sure to improve the quality of the man’s life.

If that house in Ohio is worth $400,000 now that baby had to have been worth $800,000 back in 2005. Just knowing there is a house in Ohio worth $400,000 makes me feel “the economy is in recovery”. You could probably buy Flint Michigan for 400K but then what would you do with it?

If you want a nice older car, consider a 4th generation Ford Mustang Cobra or a 5th generation Corvette. There are lots of parts and a dedicated following to ensure that the parts are available for years to come.