|Range||Daily driver range|
|Body||Cabriolet 4 places|
|Production||359 exemplaires (série V).|
|Gearboxe||Automatique 3 rapports|
|Dimensions||L : 5,18 m - l : 1,93 m|
|Features||Excellent état d'origine.|
|Mileage||16 500 Miles|
|Price||75 900 €|
Excalibur Series V
For a child with a thirst for knowledge, the name ‘Excalibur’ signifies the legendary and invincible sword of King Arthur, the 5th century Breton ruler who drove back the Saxon invaders. For older residents of Tours, the name is synonymous with a night club in the historic centre of the city. For lovers of automotive curiosities, it is an unconventional and little-known make of car, often confused by novices with Mercedes. And for good reason … The company’s first series was similar in appearance to the Mercedes-Benz SSK from the 1920s. When he created his first car, its designer, Brooks Stevens, was inspired by a real SSK in his workshop. It was the only point in common between that car and a Mercedes. At the beginning of the story, Brooks Stevens, a renowned designer, was commissioned by Studebaker to design an original-looking car. The chassis and engine both came from the company. The resulting Studebaker with a body that copied a Mercedes was christened the ‘Mercebaker’. The presentation planned for the 1964 New York Auto Show was cancelled. Studebaker considered the design to be old-fashioned and that the company needed to look to the future. Confident in his project, Stevens persevered and paid for a small stand out of his own pocket, where he displayed his new car to the public with the hastily found name ‘Excalibur’. He used the legendary sword as its logo and attached it as a badge to the radiator cap. It was a success. Twelve cars were ordered. Stevens involved his sons in the project and bought 400 chassis from Studebaker, enabling him to build the Excalibur until 1970. A 300bhp Chevrolet engine was installed in the car, giving it lightning-fast acceleration. Its roadholding, however, was somewhat approximate. But customers were looking above all for rarity, luxury and originality. In 1972, a second series was introduced, built on a new chassis and powered by a 250bhp GM engine; this was built until 1975. Stevens wanted to develop his business and stepped up production when the third series was launched. 369 cars were built in 1979. This was more than the workshop could handle and the quality of the cars suffered as a result, putting off its demanding customers. Stevens tried to put things right by introducing a fourth series with the look of a Mercedes 540K and a 305bhp engine, and then a fifth series, a kind of ultimate version with new electric seats and a hardtop. But fashions had changed, customers had grown tired of it and its price of over $80,000 put it out of the running. To sell it, Stevens had to cut the price drastically. It proved a fiasco: he sold the cars at a loss without increasing the volume of sales. Just 37 cars were sold in 1986. It spelt bankruptcy and the end of the business.
The story of the company is fascinating. It brings home the determination of a man who believed in his crazy project, which already constituted a degree of success. It was simply a big American car with a huge V8 disguised as a pseudo-Mercedes from the 1920s. It was an entertaining illusion. Nowadays, the car seems completely eccentric, which is just what makes it so charming. We remember Georges Descrières and Nicole Calfan playing at being detectives, wrapped up in thick fur coats in the series Sam and Sally in an Excalibur. It is certainly an unbelievable experience to travel in this powerful convertible with its never-ending bonnet which doesn’t belong to any particular period. It could make an amusing addition to a collection alongside other serious and conventional cars.
The model offered for sale
The model presented here is a Series V Excalibur Phaeton. It was first registered in the USA in 1986. It is therefore one of the final 37 cars supplied and represents the ultimate version in the range. It is the best equipped model of all. The seats provide greater wraparound and have electric adjustment. The leather is of very high quality, while the running boards have wood trim. This version was equipped as standard with a fibreglass hardtop. This Phaeton convertible has four seats. It has had only two owners and is in perfect condition. Its condition suggests that the mileage of 16,500 miles showing on the clock is original. It runs perfectly and provides a timeless and entertaining drive. It will be serviced before delivery and guaranteed for 12 months.