Scottsdale Police Cars...DMC-12's? Not
Submitted By: Hugh Halladay - AZ-D Club
The legend endures about the Blue/White Scottsdale Police cars with
gull wings and is (partly) true. Many people believe they were
DeLoreans. However, the time scale is mid 70's and the cars were leased
to the city for a dollar a year by a Scottsdale resident who was trying
to build gullwing sport cars outside of the USA. His name was Malcom
Bricklin (sounds a bit like John DeLorean’s story, doesn't it? ).
There are still a few Bricklins around, and the last I knew there was
an active support group of clubs. One of the bigger chapters about
10-20 years ago was right here in the valley. At least one, and I
think, actually two of the members had all 3 of the gullwings e.g.
Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Bricklin SV1, and DeLorean DMC-12.
The cops didn't care too much for the Bricklin because even though it
was a first class pursuit vehicle (with a 175bhp Ford 351W V-8, or
220bhp AMC 360cid V-8 engine) and fast, it was hard to get out of in a
hurry. The door lift mechanism was unreliable and slow. The police used
them mostly for PR programs at schools and other places where they
looked "cool". When Bricklin went belly up (the Canadian Gov't wouldn't
fund any more (isn't that familiar?), the cars were auctioned off
without the light bar and markings, but still Blue/White. A lot of
people still think the DMC-12 has a Ford or AMC engine because they
remember the Bricklin set-up.
Bricklin made a name in the automotive world by becoming the first to
import Suburu vehicles, giving Suburu it’s start in the USA. He later
imported a car (designed by Fiat) from Yugoslavia called (why not) the
YUGO. It was a reliability nightmare; with poor support and a poor
reputation, and also failed. Next he developed the gullwing car above,
the SV1. Several years after it failed, Bricklin tried to start a
business which planned to buy the most popular 60's and 70's muscle and
classics (all they could locate) and re-manufacture them to “like new”
to be sold through a dealership set-up. He apparently didn't get
financing. He is still living in Scottsdale, and in 2005 had a new auto
import plan. This time a new venture with China called the Chery. GM is
contesting the name; sounds and looks too much like Chevy. We’ll hear
from Malcom again, I’m sure.