What can you say about the Bricklin SV1 that hasn’t already been said in song? Well, first that it was primarily designed to show how safe cars could be sexy and second that it remains a surprisingly fun car to drive.
Driven by Motor Week’s Joe Ligo, the forward-looking SV1’s design remit turns out to have placed it well in history.
According to Malcolm Bricklin, the car’s design was entirely centred around safety, hence the name: Safety Vehicle 1. It came at a time when auto manufacturers were complaining about allegedly onerous safety requirements making their cars ugly. So he built a sexy safe car.
With gull wing doors and a classically proportioned coupe body style, the Bricklin SV1 integrated the latest safety technology into its design, including those bumpers that could deform without damage at speeds of up to 10 mph.
Even the paint was designed for low-speed impacts. Rather than being painted orange, it was made of orange plastic, meaning that dings and scratches could be buffed out easily.
Its attempts at sexy safety weren’t entirely successful, though. Those electric gull wing doors turn out to have been less than reliable and apparently trapped people inside.