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We talk to Malcolm Bricklin and hear the hidden stories of the SV-1
You can only fake it in the auto industry for so long. There are plenty of careers where where people can fail upward—covering mediocrity with marketing spin, resume padding, and aggressive grooming of your “personal brand.” In the auto industry, however, you eventually have to cast, stamp, weld, and assemble something of value or else go out of business.
I own both a DeLorean and a Bricklin. The DeLorean’s fit and finish is much better (although the quality of the early ones wasn’t that great). By comparison, the Bricklin very much has a “kit car” feel to it, especially the interior.
Still, both cars are interesting. The DeLorean rides better, and is more fun to drive, but the Bricklin has more power (I’ve got the AMC powered version). The DeLorean’s torsion bar and gas strut door system is vastly superior to Bricklin’s hydraulic door system, even if it’s been converted to pneumatic. People LOVE the DeLorean. The Bricklin usually just gets weird stares, and is commonly confused with a Corvette with aftermarket gull wing doors.
Parts are easy to get for both. There is a company that makes fiberglass panels to replace Bricklin’s acrylic versions , and although nobody is stamping DeLorean panels anymore there are plenty of leftover panels from when the factory closed (one notable exception being the left front fender, which you can find used easily enough for a price). Both cars used some parts from other companies, which helps with availability.
To dispel some of the myths I see about DeLorean v Bricklin: no, DeLorean was not influenced in any way by Malcolm or his car. DeLorean decided on gull wing doors because he loved the Mercedes 300, not because Malcom did it. The stainless steel panel idea came from the Allegheny Ludlum cars, not because Malcolm had used rust proof panels. Malcolm was simply a guy with money who wanted to build a car. John DeLorean was an automotive engineer and had been a car guy his whole life. He had nothing to learn from Malcolm.