BRADLEY GT – COUPE WITH HISTORY
Bradley GT is one of the unique kit cars designed by the Bradley Automotive company, which was in operation between 1970 and 1981. The company and the vehicles produced by it have a bit of history, hence the reason behind the article.
THE BRADLEY COMPANY HISTORY
The American automotive company, whose headquarters was based in Plymouth, Minnesota, United States, started by two persons’ partnership. During the late 1960s, Gary Courneya and David Bradley Fuller came together to birth the idea behind this unique car series’ production. At that time, Fuller was running a small fiberglass design company, while his partner was more involved in sales in Beverly Hills, California.
The business started as Gary’s Bug Shop to design parts and kits for the dune buggy market at that time. Fuller was more focused on these parts’ body design, while Courneya was more involved in sales.
The company decided to change the name to Bradley automotive to produce its first product in 1970. The vehicle that first came out of this company was built on original Volkswagen beetle chassis. The company started by advertising their new product in different magazines all over the country at that time. They also added the clause of payment of 1 USD for anyone who wanted more information about the brand.
This did not earn them much at first; however, with a bit of persistence, they could make some money from it. However, the main source of the initial capital was from the sales of shares at that time. The company put out 80,000 shares, which the local construction company’s vice president immediately bought half from. Months later, the other half was also sold out to other interested persons.
The company still needed to accelerate sales, and due to Courneya’s experience in the sales business, he started making use of the cold calling technique. While doing this, Courneya made use of a pseudonym “Gary Bradley.” This was coined from the names of the two inventors of the business idea. It was so serious that this name was seen as the President and founder of the company. In fact, the signature on some important documents was labeled “Gary Bradley.” However, it was Courneya that was making most of these signatures at that time.
The company kept surviving and expanding until 1973 when they needed more capital to increase sales and production. However, this they got from an investor on the condition that the system of operation would change, and there will be the incorporation of other selected professionals in the game. The company agreed to it and changed its mode of operation in no time. Also, about 250,000 USD was gotten from Community Investment Enterprises, Inc (CIE) to help the company at that time further.
By 1977, the expansion already became massive, and the company decided to extend its base to Shelard Plaza. This was around the time that the Bradley GT II was also introduced into the company’s market. This expansion only lasted for two years, as Fuller decided to leave Bradley in 1979. Fuller’s going left a massive blow on the company as most of the workers also followed suit and worked for Bradley’s competitors.
From this point onward, the company began to experience a downslide as several complaints and lawsuits were filed against the company. In a bid to save the company from total bankruptcy, Bradley decided to look in another direction by changing the company’s name twice to The Electric Vehicle Corporation (EVC). This was because the company was looking to begin producing the electrified version of the GT II. However, this idea could not save the company until it went into complete shut down due to bankruptcy, owing to 2,500,000 USD.
BRADLEY GT MODELS
The Bradley GT model was first created around September 1970, according to the newsletter released by the company. The prototyping of the car was estimated to be around 2000USD. The vehicle was sold in the kit form and assembled form. The kit form had different levels of completeness, while the assembled form weight about 725.7kg.
The first GT model was designed without doors, with two-seat coupe and low curved sides. The incorporation of two frameless plastic panels helped to protect it from varying weather conditions. The design also had two hidden headlamps that were covered by two opaque covers.
The body of the design is made of full fiberglass and mounted on an original Volkswagen Beetle Chassis. The wheelbase was also inherited from the Volkswagen vehicle. The front and rear tracks vary depending on the builder’s choice when mounting the tires and wheels. The vehicle’s powertrain was designed to be a four-cylinder boxer engine with a four-speed manual transmission. It also had swing axles incorporated into the design. Bradley reportedly produced this GT type for eleven years from its initial production, and 600o cars were sold during this period.
The GT II Bradley model came into existence in 1975 when John Chun designed the company’s new model. This was described as the “Luxury Sports Car Kit.” This new model welcomed more sleek design and newer features such as the gull-wing doors with frames, sliding safety glass incorporated into the doors, and the interior door releases with gas struts. The interior was designed to become comfier for its passengers as the vehicle could accommodate someone who is up to six feet tall.
Just before the company went bankrupt, Bradley released another edition in 1980, which he called GTElectric. This was going to be a breakthrough for the company during the period of crisis; however, only 50 GTSs were produced during this period until the company folded up a year later.
Biswajit Rakshit is a professional blogger and writer. He loves to write on various topics.