Scottsdale Police Cars...DMC-12's? Not Quite!

Submitted By: Hugh Halladay - AZ-D Club Historian

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.