When I think automobiles made in Canada the Ford-owned Mercury brand comes to mind first. Mercury was the upgraded version of a common FORD. The Mercury brand, however, has died, one of the reasons being that the models were too close-up clones of regular Ford-models.
The automotive industry in Canada consists primarily of assembly plants of foreign automakers, most with headquarters in the United States or Japan, along with hundreds of manufacturers of automotive parts and systems.
Canada is currently the eleventh largest auto producer in the world, producing 2.1 million cars a year, down from seventh place with 3 million per year a few years ago. China, Spain, India, Brazil, Mexico recently surpassed Canadian production for the first time. Canada's highest rankings ever was second largest producer in the world between 1918 and 1923 and third after WWII.
But it’s not the numbers I was bound to talk about. There is a car which actually has genuine Canadian history and it wouldn’t surprise if you never heard about it.
It’s name is BRICKLIN.
The picture below shows the
Malcolm Bricklin is no stranger to the automotive industry, having sold the first Subaru franchises in North America in the late 1960s, and brought the bargain-basement Yugo passenger car to US shores in the 1980s. The Yugo became probably the most hated automobile in North America. But between these two ventures came Bricklin’s passion project.
The entrepreneur devised a plan to create a sports car company bearing his name. In the 1970s, he successfully sought financial backing from the Canadian government, and the SV-1, or Safety Vehicle 1, was born in the province of NEW BRUNSWICK. The coupe included safety features well before proposed government mandates, including a roll cage, gull-wing doors with side impact beams and a fiberglass body painted according to a “safety” colour palette. The cars had no cigarette lighter or ashtray. Non-smoker Malcolm Bricklin believed it was unsafe to smoke and drive. The Bricklin is the only production vehicle in automotive history to have powered gull-wing doors, that opened and closed at the touch of a button, as standard equipment. But the safety equipment’s heft made for sluggish performance, and reliability plagued the company from the outset. Bricklin’s firm filed for bankruptcy in 1976, having sold fewer than 3,000 cars.
Examples have been known to surface on eBay Motors for under $10,000.