Malcolm Bricklin is not a household name—unless you’re a car enthusiast. If you are, you’ll know he’s big on wild ideas.
He convinced Subaru to start selling its cars in North America when Subaru itself thought it wouldn’t work; then, he affixed his name to the sporty gullwing-doored SV-1 built in New Brunswick. Later, he would attempt to bring Chinese cars to North America through a deal that delivered lawsuits, but no vehicles.
According to Automotive News, the noted 78-year-old outside-the-box thinker is back with a proposition that, if it gets enough takers, would see luxury car dealers sell art and help him sell an electric three-wheeled car that once again wears his name.
The way Bricklin sees things, many of the same people who buy high-end cars also spend lots of money on original artwork, so why not display art – priced at $10,000 and up – in showrooms?
Bricklin is looking for 100 dealers willing to pony up $2 million apiece for the privilege of helping artists sell their pieces.
The deal also includes allowing Bricklin to place a virtual reality pod on the dealer’s used car lot so prospective buyers of that electric three-wheeler – the Bricklin 3EV – can test drive the car virtually.
At the moment, Bricklin’s latest car exists only virtually: Georgia-based sports car maker Panoz has apparently started working on the design, but hasn’t officially been contracted to make it reality, though they say they could, by a seemingly arbitrary 2019 deadline.
So far, five dealers have signed on, with one having handed Bricklin a cheque, which means he needs to convince 95 more to secure the funding needed for the project.
It’s possible it won’t even matter if the car comes to be, if enough investors think like Brian Miller of Manhattan Motorcars, who says he’s in it for the art, and doesn’t care if he gets an oddball car to sell.
“The art kind of intrigued me,” Miller told Automotive News. “I think it’s a cool idea. The car kind of got thrown in. The cars, whatever. When they come, that’ll be great. We’ll try to sell some, but the art is really how I got involved.”
(via Automotive News)