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Dream Car Examines the Momentous Economic, Political and Social Changes in 1970’s North America

May 8, 2024

Toronto – 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: Malcolm Bricklin’s Fantastic SV1 and the End of Industrial Modernity is published by University of Toronto Press, and is also available through Audible. A book launch featuring both Prof. Anastakis and Malcolm Bricklin will be held at the Rotman School on May 9.

A Senior Fellow at Massey College the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, Prof. Anastakis’s work addresses the intersection of business, the state and politics, particularly in the post-1945 period in Canada, and especially the development of the Canadian automotive industry.  He has published 11 books and edited collections, has appeared and been quoted in the media extensively, and has published articles in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, National PostGuardian Online, Literary Review of Canada, and American Prospect Online.   He is the former co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review, was the first chair of the Canadian Business History Association, and is a former Fulbright Chair (Michigan State University).

Advance Praise

“Innovative, engaging, and, like the car on which it focuses, eccentric in the best way, Dream Car convincingly puts Malcolm Bricklin’s SV1 at the pivot point of North American political economy in the 1970s. Anastakis expertly draws the reader through a narrative of utopian dreams and remunerative schemes gone awry, and he even provides a killer playlist for the journey.” -- Cotten Seiler, Professor of American Studies, Dickinson College

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!” -- Thomas Klier, Economist

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Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto