Dream Car Examines Momentous Economic, Political And Social Changes In 1970’s North America – Book Review


A new book by a business historian at the University of Toronto tells the story of entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin’s fantastical 1970s-era Safety Vehicle-1 (SV1), audaciously launched during a tumultuous breakpoint in postwar history.

The tale of the sexy-yet-safe SV1 reveals the influence of automobiles on ideas about the future, technology, entrepreneurship, risk, safety, showmanship, politics, sex, gender, business, and the state, as well as the history of the auto industry’s birth, decline, and rebirth. Dream Car: Malcolm Bricklin’s Fantastic SV1 and the End of Industrial Modernity is written by Prof. Dimitry Anastakis, who is the L.R. Wilson and R.J. Currie Chair in Canadian Business History in the Department of History and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Written as an “open road,” the book invites readers to travel a narrative arc that unfolds chronologically and thematically. But Dream Car’s seven chapters have also been structured so that they can be read in any order, determined by whichever theme each reader finds most interesting. The book also includes a musical playlist of car songs from the era and songs about the SV1 itself.

Dream Car adroitly manages the unlikely feat of analysing the automotive industry’s transformation from industrial modernity to postmodernity through the lens of a mostly forgotten episode from the 1970s: the entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin and the launch of his SV1. The analysis is insightful, and the book is an enjoyable read!” said Thomas Klier, Economist

Dream Car: Malcolm Bricklin’s Fantastic SV1 and the End of Industrial Modernity is published by University of Toronto Press, and is also available through Audible.

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