Scattered Clouds 30° Good Morning
Scattered Clouds 30° Good Morning

Bricklin lovers gather Saturday for national car meet

For the past few days, there have been enough Bricklins on the roads of the East End to make it the unofficial Bricklin capital of the nation.

Of course, it only took about three dozen of those special cars to do it. Bricklin International says of 2,854 of the gull-wing sports cars built before the company went bankrupt in 1975, a little more than half still exist. The organization has 570 active members who have cars on the road or in restoration.

Long Island was picked for its Grand National Meet this year, and about 30 cars will be on display Saturday on the Great Lawn in Westhampton Beach in a competition to decide which is best.

"I always wanted a Bricklin," said Joe Vasso, 58, of Quogue, an art teacher in the Middle Country School District who had his car at the show.

It was a love that remained unrequited for years but flared up again after he and his wife went to Hawaii on vacation, where he saw a lime-green Bricklin. "I just stood there and said, 'That's my car. I want it,' " he recalled.

That wasn't the one he got. But he found another. People at the Bricklin Owners Club Annual Grand National Meet said that usually, someone somewhere in the country is selling one or two.

Jeff Sheehan, 52, a retired postal worker from Caledonia, Minn., fell in love with the Bricklin when he was 18 and has purchased one for every member of his family, including his son, Levi, 16, and daughter Sarah, 14.

Knowing a car was waiting for him when it was legal for him to drive wasn't as big a thrill to Levi as actually getting behind the wheel. "Owning and driving is a whole different thing . . . driving is better," he said.

Sheehan says he looks forward to the annual Bricklin meet. Too many people came along this year for him to bring his car, however. "We took the minivan," he said.

Friday morning, Vasso was at a Riverhead motel, sending Bricklin owners off on a poker run - a contest that required them to drive from place to place across the Hamptons, ending in Montauk - and warning them to follow speed limits.

Original Bricklin parts are harder to come by, owners said. Bricklin did not make its own parts, and the cars, which were assembled in Canada, had components from other manufacturers, including a Ford engine.

Like the DeLorean that followed it, the doors open up rather than out. And there were only a few colors: Safety Green, Safety Orange, Safety White, Safety Red and Safety Suntan.

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