Ladas And Triumphs And Bricklins Oh My!
In the weeks following its inception, I was happy to find that this little blog of mine was often getting as many as 20 to 30 hits a day. Over the next few years I watched in amazement as it gradually rose to well over 150 views a day (and 1,126 hits on Wednesday October 8, because of one extremely politically driven column), on occasion gathering up to over 6,000 unique individual hits a month.
I was sure that this growing following I had was due to the brilliance I was showing as a writer, a mistake that lasted until I was suddenly bitch-slapped back to reality with the discovery of a WordPress page that showed my “Site Stats”. This page lists the search words people had used to find BoskoLives, and also which websites referred readers to the site from my signature link I had posted on other blogs or web pages, and even how individuals using tags found photos I’ve included to track their way back to here, etc…
And the dual winners of bringing the most viewers of my blog? Photos and many well earned subsequent jokes that I had posted about a car, an obscure shit-box of a car that was made in Eastern Europe and then brought to this country by a Mr. Malcolm Bricklin, creator of the Bricklin SV-1 Gull Wing Coupe (more about that a few paragraphs later). This hard top lawn mower was called the “Yugo”, and truth be told it was also often referred to as a Fiat made in the Slavic region and as a Lada made and sold in many of the former USSR satellites, so it’s basically a Soviet made Fiat 850 clone.
The Yugo shared the credit for the largest percentage of clicks on my site with another car that was brought in to the U.S., about 9,000 of them were imported from Northern Ireland by the former GM exec John Z. DeLorean. You might know it as the car that was used in the “Back To The Future” films to enable Marty McFly to go, eh, back to the future, it’s the one that shares his name. And by his name, I mean the DeLorean part, although I suppose if he had called the car a “John” it may have been more appropriate once you consider how many people who bought one considered it to be related to taking a dump.
There’s an odd connection to all this. It turns out that Malcolm Bricklin had years earlier imported a car from Canada called (in an ego driven naming method later to be emulated by DeLorean) the Bricklin, which also featured a Gull-Wing design that was thought by some to later be the basis for the design of of the DeLorean car. Malcolm Bricklin was the (a.) builder, (b.) exporter to the U.S., (c.) only importer in the U.S., and (d.) end seller of the cars, so long story short he sold the cars to himself and somehow it took the government of Canada almost three years to figure out that none of the moneys generated by those sales were coming back to Canada before they shut his operation down.
When in truth, both were mere derivatives of the stunning Mercedes 300 SL of the 1950’s.
A non-gull wing version of that car competed at Le Mans, and was used to great effect by Pierre Eugène Alfred Bouillin in a strong effort to thin the race car fan herd. Msr. Bouillin was a French race car driver who changed his name to Pierre LeVegh shortly before he careened the factory roadster version of the SL into the crowds at Le Mans in 1955, killing (some say) 83 fans. This was a fact of minor importance since many of them were French. The lucky ones in the crowd were killed quickly, the less fortunate were slowly sauteed or deep fried (possible origination of the term “French Fry”?) as the result of the close proximity of high octane fuel and magnesium in the Merc, which can (and did) produce a huge fireball, this was seldom a good emergency situation combination as was earlier found by pilots of the World War II Mitsubishi Zero aircraft (Yep, the same company that now import their cars, televisions, and various electronics to the U.S.). To add to the dilemma of those “Devine Wind” pilots, the canopy was bolted shut from the outside to deter them from having 2nd thoughts. Adding insult to injury, the wheels fell off upon take off, leaving the bottom of the aircraft separated from potential ground contact by the externally attached bomb load, so unless a pilot was highly adept in making a skid landing upside down……
Ah, but I digress……
Full disclosure? Before it was lost in my 1st divorce, I once was the proud owner of a Bricklin gull wing coupe. I recall that it was #132 of the first 142, with an AMC 360 c.i. V-8 Matador engine, the subsequent few thousand made after mine were powered by a Ford 351 c.i. (Windsor or Cleveland?) V8.
And even on those occasional (I didn’t live in Arizona) rainy days when it always doused me with water when I opened the doors, I still miss it.
N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed.
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Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: "Devine Wind" pilots, a fiat from the slavic region, Back to the future, bitch-slapped back to reality, boskolives, fireball, gull-wing car, Japanese Zero aircraft, john z. delorean, le mans 1955 crash, Marty McFly, mercedes 300 sl gull wing coupe, Mr. Malcolm Bricklin, obscure shit-box of a car, pierre levegh, race car fuel and magnesium, Soviet made Fiat 124 clone, wet dream for the 21st century, Windsor or Cleveland?, World War II Mitsubishi, Yugo DeLorean Bricklin Oh My.