Bradley Automotive History
Bradley Automotive was conceived in 1971 by Gary Courneya and David Bradley Fuller. Armed with an idea about a new kind of fiberglass car, and an idea on how to market it, the idea blossomed into the Bradley GT. The Bradley GT was officially introduced in 1972 and was built in their Edina , Minnesota Factory .
The Bradley GT was designed with the thought that Form Followed Function. It was only 45″ high and because the doors and rear window were made of plexiglass it was like driving in a bubble of sorts. Even with the stock VW engine the Bradley GT was a nibble little car. This was due to its low center of gravity and the fact that it only weighed in at about 1600 lbs.
The Bradley GT utilized a standard VW bug chassis for a simple to build car. It also used the windshield from a 1963-1967 Corvette Coupe . In 1977 the complete package was $2995 . For that price you got padded suede or pleather, fixed semi reclining seats, pile carpeting, and VDO gauges. you could even get he Bradley GT in assembled form for $3995.
After many successful years of producing the Bradley GT, Dave Fuller was quietly designing the companies next offering. sometime in late 1978-1979 Bradley Automotive Introduced the Bradley GT2. The GT2 was billed as a “Luxury Sports Car Kit” While the GT2 still utilized the Standard VW bug donor that was the only thing it shared with the GT.
Inside and out the Bradley GT2 had more of a production car feel. It had inside door releases, a nicer interior and a better gullwing door system in which the door openings sat lower to make it easier to get in and out of, and the gullwings were framed to make them stiffer. In addition it had slide down side windows to aid in ventilation. The downside is by all accounts the GT2 used a custom windshield that can no longer be purchased unless you can find one used.
Some of the other features that set the GT2 apart from the GT was better bumpers, a steel reinforced roof and electrically operated pop-up headlights. The second major area was comfort. The new interior provided enough legroom for occupants over 6 feet tall. The price for all of this “Luxury” was double that of the Bradley GT. It is said about 500 of the GT2 were sold but as creating this page I have not been able to verify that with a former owner or employee of Bradley Automotive.
Bradley Automotive also sold a 1929 Mercedes Benz Replica called the Bradley Baron Convertible, a Bradley Baron Dune Buggy, and a boat called the Surfer GT.
Sometime in 1978 Bradley Automotive sought Bankruptcy protection. Part of the reason in doing so was because several key sales people left the company to work for a competitor, Fiberfab Inc. This resulted in an estimated $300,000 loss in revenue for the company in just one month. The proceedings on the bankruptcy case were closed in April 1980 and the company resumed business on its own. Six months later, about the time its name was changed to Classic Electric Car Corp., customers began complaining about late deliveries and nondeliveries of purchased cars, according to court documents. .
In 1981 Electric Vehicle Corp also filed for Bankruptcy protection . They listed $2.5 million in debts owed to more than 300 individuals and corporations . At the time the largest creditor was Media Networks of New York, at $87,343, IBM at $12,146, Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. at $25,534 and Lester Electric of Nebraska at $29,587. 1981 would mark the end of Bradley Automotive.
When Bradley Automotive closed its doors (Some say pretty abruptly ) some of the assets were sold to a company called Sunray products. They attempted to re-market the Bradley GT as the SunRay GT but it does not appear that much happened with that. They Also had a “Sport Pack” Kit that changed the appearance of the Bradley GT. In addition they have the tooling to create the side and rear windows for the GT but they have not produced them in some time. There have been complaints that people had paid for the windows but never got the product. At this time I would not recommend doing any business with them.
There was some variations to the Bradley GT that popped up over the years but none of theses were Bradley Automotive cars. This included the Lithia GT, The Scorpion GT
Bradley Automotive Models
- Bradley GT
- Bradley GT2
- Bradley Baron Convertible
- Bradley Baron Dune Buggy
- Surfer GT Boat
Bradley Automotive Company Advertising/Promotional Material
Bradley Automotive Assembly Manuals