New Brunswick

Bricklin car celebrates birthday at Moncton Resurgo Place

One of the few remaining Bricklin cars will be on display at Resurgo Place in Moncton on the weekend to mark four decades since the gull wing sports car was first manufactured in New Brunswick — a vehicle that has gone on to make several "worst car ever" lists.

Only 2,854 cars built in 1970s before company went into receivership, owing province $23M

One of the few remaining Bricklin cars will be on display at Resurgo Place in Moncton on the weekend to mark four decades since the gull wing sports car was first manufactured in New Brunswick — a vehicle that has gone on to make several "worst car ever" lists.

The car was conceived by Malcolm Bricklin. The wealthy American had the cars assembled in plants in Saint John and Minto, N.B., from 1974 to 1976.

The 1975 model owned by filmmaker Chris LeBlanc, a neon green Bricklin Stock #1956, will be turning 40 on Saturday, said James Upham, the heritage development officer for programming at Resurgo Place.

"It looks a bit like a stingray. It's got a long nose to it, and was built that way not just to look cool, but also to protect you," Upham said on Thursday.

"So you've got the engines set way out in the front, you've got these big bumpers, it's got lights that pop up — it's got a sleek, laid back look to it. And this is the only production car that had powered gull wing doors," he said.

It's those unique doors that set the Bricklin apart from any other sports car of its day. Upham says they were also built with safety in mind.

"The idea with them was it wouldn't crumple up around you. They would pop off so people could get to you," he said. "And the things were built like tanks. They had incredibly solid structures to them.

"When they welded the structures together they'd get the biggest guy in the show, and they'd give him a sledge hammer and say, 'Hey dude, hit the thing.' If it broke it wasn't a good weld. If it didn't break it was solid. These were tough cars."

The futuristic vehicle was never produced in large enough numbers to be profitable.

The company went into receivership owing the New Brunswick government millions of dollars. There were 2,854 cars built before Bricklin closed the factories in 1976. An estimated 1,500 still exist today.

Upham says people seem to focus too much on the Bricklin's public-spending controversy, rather than its innovation.

"When people talk about the Bricklin it's condescending," he said. "'What a joke,' but why not? At least we tried."

Activities celebrating the Bricklin are taking place Saturday at 20 Mountain Rd. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. It is free of charge, and will be taking place outside the Resurgo Place discovery centre.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now