Malcolm Bricklin resource page

Dedicated to Subaru of America co-founder and general automotive guy Malcolm Bricklin

About Mr. Bricklin, the Bricklin SV-1, Visionary Vehicles LLC, links
red 360
the 1st US Subaru car was imported by Bricklin. The 360 was available as a mini 2 door, van, or truck

this unofficial, independent website is not authorized or sponsored by Subaru or any dealers. Comments and updates welcome.
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Malcolm Bricklin: An automotive risk taker and visionary
this is unofficial information taken from many sources. corrections welcomed

1969 Subaru 360 4 door van with Joe Spitz. it's pretty small!
click for a page on the 360
courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC
Bricklin Collection Plug-in Hybrid Electric Luxury Sedan EVX/LS, 2007/2008
photos courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC
safety green
SV-1, scroll down
1975 Bricklin, front end shown
Bricklin SV1, safety orange

It starts...  Malcolm Bricklin (b 3/9/1939) gets involved with Fuji Heavy Industries because of the Rabbit scooter... 

He graduated from William R. Boone High School in 1956. Dropped out of the University of Florida (1958) and built his father's Orlando, Florida, building supply business into a franchised chain of Handyman stores. 
In the mid-1960s Malcolm Bricklin sold his interest in his "Handyman" hardware store chain and picked up a Rabbit scooter franchise, made by Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan

Mr. Bricklin "I had bought a motorscooter company in Boston. When I bought this company, they and their bank got Fuji to assign the contract to me- for the distribution of the motorscooters. And after I sold all the inventory we had, I sent them a letter of credit and they asked me who I was, and didn't I know that they were dismantling their factory and selling it to Israel? So I went back to the bank and the person I bought it from and they said, “oh yeah, we thought you'd work it out.” So in effect, they had defrauded me. So I got on a plane and I went to Japan to see Fuji Heavy Industries to talk them into not dismantling their factory and selling it to me. In any case, that didn’t work, but when I was there I saw the little car (360). And I decided, well, since I was already doing business sort of with them, maybe I could get the little car. One thing lead to another and I got a contract." (note- this text © thank you)

Read more....
In 1967, young entrepreneurs Malcolm Bricklin and childhood friend Harvey Lamm contract with Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan to import Subaru cars into the USA and in 1968, the first year, bring import 332 Subaru 360 minicars. With an investment of $75,000, Subaru of America is founded with 20 dealers on the East coast and 60 in California.

1969 Subaru 360 4 door van with Joe Spitz. it's pretty small!
360 mini-van
The first US Subaru is a 360 minicar. Rear wheel drive, it had a 2-stroke engine, got 66.3 mpg and cost $1,297. 0-50mph in 37 seconds! Total sold was about 6000. There was also a 360 minivan, convertible, truck, and even a kind of race car as well (?). Not a very successful start for the company.

In 1971 Bricklin leaves Subaru...more below

1968 for those who remember & those who don't
President Johnson doesn't run for re-election.
Robert Kennedy assassinated June 5. Richard Nixon becomes President.
In Vietnam it's the Tet Offensive.
The Redwood National Park established.
Ralph Lauren is 29.
A Hershey Bar is .05c. 
Hepburn and Streisand share the Oscar. "Hair" opens on Broadway. 
The Doors sing Hello, I Love You, The Beatles Hey, Jude, the Rolling Stones Jumpin' Jack Flash, Janis Joplin does Cheap Thrills and Led Zepplin forms.
On TV it's the first season for both Hawaii 5-0 and 60 Minutes, and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In is the top rated show.
Green Bay beats Oakland in Super Bowl II, and Wilt Chamberlin is the NBA's MVP for the 4th time.

Volkswagen captures 57 percent of the U.S. import market, selling 569,292 vehicles in the United States. Beetles cost under $1,800 and outsell Mustang, Pontiac, Chevelle, Fairlane, Fury, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chrysler. (statistics from MS Bookshelf 1997).

A brief history of Subaru... Subaru continues without it's co-founder...  For 1970-71 model year, Subaru of America introduces the Subaru 1000. Front wheel drive. Costs $1,699. The 1000 has the unusual boxer engine design still used by Subaru (as well as older VWs, Porsches, Panhard, and BMW motorcycles).
Starting in 1975 Subaru offers 4x4 as an option and Subaru survives.
in 1985 Subaru re-designs again, this time coming out with the GL/DL models
1990 Legacy, introduced in 1990 is a very successful wagon.
1996 The Legacy Outback is introduced in 1996 (the 1995 model was a trim package only) and sales take off!
1992-1997 Subaru makes the SVX, a performance, luxury coupe. It attracts followers but the high price, quirky design, and lack of any advertising limits sales.
1996 The Outback is a success and cements SoAs reputation as a dependable all-wheel-drive wagon company.
in 2000 SoA sells 172,216 cars, which is 14,351 per month or about 20 cars per hour around the clock every day of the year. The Legacy/Outback line is re-designed.
in the 1990-00s Subaru is the top selling station wagon in the US and 90%+ of  Subaru all-wheel-drive cars sold the past 10 years are still on the road.
in 2002 America gets the turbo WRX, a world rally winner. An more powerful STi version is released in 2004.
in 2004 Subaru of America re-designed its largest seller, the Legacy and Legacy Outback and focused on performance and safety. Sound like a family version of the SV1?
in 2005 Subaru introduced it's first full size SUV, the 2006 B9 Tribeca, with optional 7 passenger.
In 2007 a redesigned Impreza was available.
In 2008, Subaru sales for the year were consistent with previous years and that's one of the bright spots in the midst of a huge recession that saw almost every major producer's sales crumple including Topyota, GM, Honda, Chrysler, Ford and GM etc. A redesigned Forester was an immediate hit and largely responsible for Subarus 2008 success.
In 2009., a completely redesigned Outback and Legacy will be available with an all new CVT transmission.

Back to Mr. Bricklin...

Consumer Reports magazine called the Subaru 360 "The Most Unsafe Car in America." and sales come slow to a stop.

Bricklin left Subaru in 1971 getting 1,000 360s, and starts FasTrack International. to sell franchises that included 10 Subaru 360s and the right to build small race tracks.
He then went on to build his own car, the Bricklin. An unusual looking gull-wing car, 2,875 were built in New Brunswick, Canada before the company ceased production in 1975 under a legal and financial cloud.
After the Bricklin car company closed, Mr. Bricklin began to import Fiat after they pulled out of the US market. The company was International Automobile Importers and he renamed the Fiat Spider 2000 the Pininfarina Spider and the Fiat X-1/9 became the Bertone X1/9.
1985, after the Fiat still didn't sell well in the US, he imported another low priced import much like the original Subaru, this time the Yugo from Yugoslavia. These small cars didn't do well in the US market either and and he stopped importing them in the early 1989.
Malcolm Bricklin then formed an electric vehicle company, until 1997 marketing an electric bike known as the 'EV Warrior'.
In the early 2000s Mr. Bricklin became involved in automotive fuel cell technology.
2002: Never sitting still, always trying, Mr. Bricklin reportedly intends to market another inexpensive car from Yugoslavia, the ZMW (Zastava Motor Works). Expected in 2003-04, are 2 and 4 door sedans, a convertible and pick-up, all priced under $10,000.

2005: On December 16, 2004 Malcolm Bricklin reportedly signed a contract with Chery Automobile Co Ltd, a Chinese government-owned car company in Wuhu near Shanghai. The plan is for his new company, Visionary Vehicles LLC, to import 5 models priced app 30% lower than comparable imports. Hopefully starting in 2007, and eventually with a selection from entry level sedan to SUV and crossover, all with a 10yr/100,000 warranty, the goal is 250,000 cars the first year through 250 dealers.

2006:   December 5, 2006, NEW YORK; 'Malcolm Bricklin, Chairman and CEO of Visionary Vehicles LLC today confirmed he has ended plans to enter into a joint venture with Chery Automobile Company to manufacture and distribute Chery vehicles in the United States. Today he outlined his plans for the company going forward with a continuing focus on Chinese manufacturers as well as U.S. and European design and engineering firms to bring affordable luxury to the U.S. market. "We have great respect and admiration for President Yin Tongyao and Chery, but we are no longer negotiating exclusively with them," announced Bricklin.
Bricklin's decision comes after months of evaluation and study amid continued concerns for manufacturing 5-star quality products within a finite timeline. "The crux of our decision came from the realization that the Chinese need to learn that you can not develop cars for the Chinese domestic market and then upgrade them for the North American Market," stated Bricklin, "You must instead, build for the North American market and then de-option for other markets, never having two standards for quality since great quality is the only option." '

2007: January 9. Bricklin's Visionary Vehicles wants to have a 100mpg gas electric hybrid by 2009 and is in talks with various Chinese companies. Bricklin says "We are driven by innovation yet guided by experience - Visionary Vehicles will mass produce, pure electric hybrid vehicles powered by the most fuel efficient, long-life battery systems that will enable consumers to buy affordable vehicles without sacrificing safety, quality, performance, quality or reliability."

7/21/08 Subaru co-founder Macolm Bricklin sues former partner, Chinese automaker Chery. Bricklin is suing China automaker Chery over a failed agreement to import the Chinese cars to the U.S.. Bricklin, who with Harvey Lamm brought Subaru cars to the US in the late 1960s, has been involved with the Fiat X1-9 Bertone, Yugo, powered bicyles, and the Bricklin SV-1 which was ahead of it's time.  Bricklin's current company, Visionary Vehicles, intended to import Chery's, but Chery has since signed an agreement with Chrysler. GM had previously accused Chery of copying its Daewoo Matiz/Chevy Spark in a previous lawsuit. (The Chery/Chrysler agreement failed, Chrysler declared bankruptcy and partnere3d with Fiat.)

2008/2009 VV is working out the specs and design and powerplant details on the proposed electric car, a Plug-In Electric hybrid vehicles or PHEV
These are concept images only of a Bricklin Plug-in Hybrid Electric Luxury Sedan EVX/LS.
Proposed specs MSRP: $35,000, Length: 205", Height: 57", Width: 78", Wheelbase: 124", Curb weight: 3900 lbs, Passengers: 5, Power: hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), Acceleration: 0-60: 5.9 seconds, Range in miles: 850, 100 miles per gallon

With the closing of many  US auto plants, Bricklin has talked of siezing the opportunity and reopening one or two factories to produce cars fitted with PHEV or hydrogen powerplants.
courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC
courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC
courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC

All Bricklin Collection Plug-in Hybrid Electric Luxury Sedan EVX/LS photos courtesy and c. Visionary Vehicles LLC

Links related to Visionary and Chery:

March 21 2006  Malcolm Bricklin, SoA co-founder, has financing and still plans to bring the China built Chery to the US in 2007, from
Feb 2006 Midwestern Auto Group has paid for exclusive rights in the Columbus area to sell vehicles by China’s Chery Automobile Co, working with Malcolm Bricklin
November 2005 The president of Chery Automobile poured more cold water last week on plans to sell vehicles in the United States.
July 05, Bricklin's life as a movie?
Detroit News 4/22/05,
Autoblog 4/15/05 ,
Autoweek 4/14/05,
Int' Auto Dealers Assoc 4/8/05,
MSN Money 4/16/05

Stay tuned for further developments...

The BRICKLIN: Called model 'SV-1', for 'Safety Vehicle 1'  the Bricklin was ahead of it's time. Where most cars had heavy chromed metal bumpers, the Bricklin had energy and impact absorbing urethane bumpers. The fuel tank was protected on 5 sides to prevent fires when hit. There was a tubular steel frame around the passenger compartment.
There were 780 Bricklins manufactured in 1974 using a 220hp American Motors 360ci V-8 engine. In 1975, the engine was changed to Ford's 351 V-8 with 175 hp and just under 2,100 were built that year.
The body was acrylic using colored acrylic bonded to the fiberglass body panels. The car was not 'painted' and scratches
could easily be buffed out.
Safety cage? Plastic body panels? The SV-1 was 20 years ahead of it's time!

Available colors  Safety Red, Safety Green, Safety Subtan, Safety White, Safety Orange. You can tell what the focus was.

safety green
The Bricklin had gull-wing doors that opened and closed at the touch of a button. 
Only 12 inches was needed on the sides to open them. These doors were portrayed as a safety feature, opening out of the way of traffic. 
white Bricklin with open gull-wing doors
1975 Bricklin specifications (from sales brochure). Approximate sale price: $9,950

Total built: 1974: 790 with a V-8 from American Motors
1975: 2,083
1976: very few

Engine: Ford 351-W V-8, 175 hp @ 3800 rpm. 2 barrel carburetor
Rear axle ratio 3.15:1
Transmission: auto
Steering: recirculating ball
Brakes: power 11" front disc, 10" rear drum
Tires: FR60-15"
Wheelbase: 96"
Overall length: 178.6
Overall height: 48.15
Curb weight: 3,470
Ground clearance: 4.8'
Fuel capacity: 21 gal., unleaded gas
red Bricklin
Safety Red

the interior was a tight fit

a Bricklin dealership sign above a 1935 Steyr (Austria), with Snoopy as the Red Baron

stylish cars.... Bricklin and Citroen SM (Citroen Maserati)..
BUT WAIT... whats that in the upper corner above trhe circus wagon? Could it be a ... Subaru 360?
When was the last time you saw a 360 and a Bricklin in the same photo? At the Lemay Museum, 2011

safety orange

Bricklin and Delorean- 2 classics of the time. At the Lemay Museum, 2011

All of this info was culled from various sites and sources.

Bricklin Int'l Web Site - 1975 Bricklin SV-1
The Bricklin: Heritage Resources Saint John
'I sold mine'
California Bricklin owners home
Midwest Bricklin Owners
Bricklin Vin #782
Yahoo group
Concept Cars
CanadianDriver: Motor Memories - Bricklin
Restoring The Bricklin Racecar
About Bricklins

Missing or incorrect information? Know of a link that should be here?

Please contact
Thank you
Joe Spitz