Ladas And Triumphs And Bricklins Oh My!

March 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm 4 comments

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.

Here’s a link to another Yugo related blog, of sorts.

Faster than your average Yugo

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.

John Z. astride his DeLorean

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.

Bricklin, fully engorged!

When in truth, both were mere derivatives of the stunning Mercedes 300 SL of the 1950’s.

Strangely, it was not so loved in France, keep reading

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……

The final finish line for “Lucky Pierre” and the #19 car

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.

California Bricklin Owners Club T-Shirt, my last tangible connection to the car

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.

And a fan-boy’s wet dream, updated for the 21st Century

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. 

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below, I don’t choose them and (sadly) I don’t make a penny off any of them.

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Can anyone name the exact moment? Watching a 21st Century “China Syndrome”

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sharon blake edgar  |  May 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    This is the best! ( and the benchmark for all vintage car journalism). My husband’s father had a gull-wing and said it drove like a member of the even-toed ungulate’s family.

    Reply
  • 2. Pistre  |  September 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    “killing (some say) 83 fans, a fact of minor importance since many of them were French”

    You obviously are total moron. At least it seems you’re honnest with your feeling about french people. Stupid but honnest.

    Reply
    • 3. sharon blake edgar  |  September 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      I totally LOVE ALL THINGS FRENCH! Le cinema, grapes, people, cities, music, and the truly fabulous language which has an unknowable quality to it. And I want all of you who are lucky enough to actually Be French to live forever, which I fear you may not do without a slightly better-endowed sense of humor. Stress is not good for you. Trust me, you need to watch more Daniel Auteuil movies or Fox News. We Americans are hated by just about everyone including each other, but we don’t mind! We just go about our merry way smugly smiling. Perhaps it’s a New World gift I could bestow upon you?

      Reply
    • 4. boskolives  |  September 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Msr. Pistre,
      Assuming by your sentence structure, spelling oddities, and choice of wording (not to mention that “Yahoo.fr” email provider tag) that you are not a native english speaking person, I forgive you for missing the humor. Perhaps you could find someone that does get it and have them, using very small words and speaking très slowly, explain it to you.. N’est-il pas vrai?

      Reply

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