1 of 47 Built: 1988 Excalibur Touring Sedan

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“For the man or woman who wants a fun machine with antique class.” That’s how Excalibur positioned their “Contemporary Classic” automobiles back in the 70’s and 80’s that offered classic 1920’s/1930’s looks along with modern reliability. They weren’t cheap, they weren’t everyone’s cup of tea (then and now), but they drew the fancy of celebrities who tooled around Tinsel Town in them including Jay Leno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Curtis, Shirley Jones, Sonny and Cher, Dean Martin, Jackie Gleason, Paul Harvey, George Foreman, and many more. Of the various models produced during Excalibur Automobile Corporation’s 25-year run, the four-door Touring Sedan you see here is one of the rarest: just 47 were built in 1988 and another 54 in 1989, making a total of only 101 Touring Sedans ever built. This well-preserved black beauty was acquired through an estate sale and is part of the inventory of American Motor Custom and Classics in San Jose, California. It’s for sale here on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $43,750, though interested parties can also make offers. Another shout out to Pat L. for bringing this rare four-door to our attention.

The eBay post has scant details and descriptions other than it has 46,740 miles on a 350 V8, is an original, runs great, and is mainly used for weekend drives. I went to the the dealer’s website and they stated: “The vehicle sports a nice reliable Chevrolet motor with automatic transmission and modern comforts: AC, power steering, power windows. This vehicle gets more attention than most six figure cars we have here at AMCC.”  The dealer also posted a walk around, start, and let’s take it for a spin video.

These Touring Sedans came in several colors, but I think this black with the gray pin striping looks the best. The current paint isn’t perfect, as you can spot some small chips, but it’s very shiny and presentable to be 34 years old. The trim, massive chrome radiator grille, four trumpet horns, dual spare tire covers, dual spotlights, glass, and Excalibur wire wheels all look very good.  This is one long car (224″ in overall length – 18 feet, 7 inches!) and epitomizes the long hood, short deck styling concept to say the least.

Based on the photos, the gray leather interior looks near flawless. According to descriptions I found at other online listings, Excalibur interiors featured a glossy burl wood dash, a Le Carra wood steering wheel, and all of the expected conveniences of a 1988 luxury car: comfy leather seats, plush carpeting, AC, power steering, seats, windows, locks, mirrors, antennae, and a premium Sony am/fm/stereo with cassette tape sound system. One look at this survivor, and you can guess it has lived a very pampered life.

The rear seat doesn’t look like it’s been sat in, but it’s interesting that Excalibur didn’t have a fold-down center arm rest like most luxury cars of the era. (Excalibur advertised the Touring Sedan as a five seater, so perhaps they wanted to give the visual impression that this was a three-seater bench seat…)

Under that long, twin-hinged hood is the original Chevrolet V8 (the seller lists it as a 350, but most other Excalibur Touring Sedan listings describe the engine as a 305) with 46,740 miles on the clock. Given the overall  condition of the car, one can believe those are original miles. With its unique, splashy looks, there was nothing else on the road like an Excalibur. This isn’t a ride for introverts as they say. That same head-turning effect is still happening today, some 30 to 50 years after these “Contemporary Classics” were produced.

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  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    When we were SCCA racing at Seattle,Jim Gandy,
    who wrote a column in Autoweek (back when it was a-
    newspaper) test drove a car like this.He told me something
    like ” I hope nobody sees me driving this”.
    Not a car for an introvert.One of those few cars that
    you could get away with wearing a mink coat while driving it.

    Like 5
  2. alphasudMember

    I really never understood these cars. All flash and no dash, a dog with no hunt, all bark with no bite. At least it has reliable running gear so no exotic powertrain to worry about. Perfect for the DIY kind of person because finding a shop willing to work on this would be a challenge. Definitely a time and materials job.

    Like 2
    • SubGothius

      They’re for the person with far more money than taste and looking to flaunt it, and more of a blithe “checkbook mechanic” than a DIYer.

      At least the engine, driveline, and all other mechanical parts should be off-the-shelf commodity items any competent mechanic of Detroit iron could service. It’s not as if Excalibur were fabricating all of those from scratch themselves; they only fabricated the body, trim, interior and base chassis.

      In that regard, I’ve got to give them credit for the fully custom body, rather than just appending a neoclassical nose and tail to the otherwise-intact (and readily-identifiable) passenger compartment of another mass-market model, as so many others in this market niche did.

      Like 2
  3. 370zpp 370zppMember

    When these somewhat peculiar “Zsa Zsa” cars show up on BF I easily find myself ready to ridicule them all for being so over the top, etc.
    But somehow, for some reason, this one while still being “over the top” is not as bad as others we have seen.
    Perhaps a bit more David Lee Roth than Zsa Zsa this time.

    Like 12
  4. HoA Howard AMember

    It’s powerful easy for me to get frustrated, knowing what I know about these cars and surfaces everytime, as if I’m defending them somehow. Naysayers clearly wouldn’t know a cool car, and what went on to create it, if it ran them over. Briefly( yay), as said everytime one comes up, and it’s not often. Like 90% of the original owners, or their families still own their Excaliburs. I had the great privilege of delivering paint to the plant in West Allis, Wis. Many didn’t have that opportunity, and rip on the tail lights. The people that built them were passionate about their work, not slamming 2x4s in Pontiac doors to get them to close. You could eat off the floor, and attention to detail was utmost priority, if you knew who Brooks Stevens was. Just think, for $50 grand, you can rub elbows with Hollywoods elite, and not have some crappy Challenger with a broken door handle that won’t start,,, or whatever. It’s no wonder comedians have a field day, the late great George Carlin once said, “the world is a giant freak show and comedians have a front row seat taking notes”. May he rest in peace,,,

    Like 25
    • Grant

      Your my hero Howard. Maybe you should issue some NFTs! I would pay $99 for that, for sure!

      Like 6
    • 454ratMember

      I drive a truck and I used to go to West Allis two times a week from Kentucky. I remember seeing these sitting all over the parking lot 35 years ago, when I was 30 years old. They spoke class then and they speak class now. They are NOT a kit car. I am a Muscle Car owner, but if I had this to drive, you would have a hard time getting me out of it at the end of the day. To quote the famous American philosopher Arnold Horshack, when looking at an Excalibur; oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

      Like 7
  5. Dave

    I could have Krusty the Klown drive it for me.

    Like 8
  6. Big C

    If I’m going to drive a kit car? It’s going to be one of those knock off Shelby’s. Not this pig.

    Like 5
    • SubGothius

      Not a kit car, but Excaliburs did kick off the neoclassical fad that similar looking kit cars tried to cash in on. These were factory hand-built from scratch to a fairly high standard, with a fully custom body, chassis, and interior, albeit using a commodity engine, driveline, and other running gear.

      Like 1
  7. TheOldRanger

    I love these cars and the style…. I know it’s a matter of taste, but these cars bring back the glory days (to me) of the true automobile. It’s a classic style …. I should have been born back in the 20s to appreciate these cars of the “30s”….. I would love to have this one in my driveway, but it’s outta my price range in terms of purchase and upkeep… but I can still dream… lol…. love these and others like them that kept the classic style

    Like 9
  8. John

    As I contemplate, a little voice says “Wonder what it gets for fuel mileage?”

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      12 city/17 highway.

      Like 0
  9. PairsNPaint

    There’s a fellow around the corner from me that has a 2-door model of one of these. Cream and brown color scheme. Not my taste, but it is a good looking car, and yes it turns heads whenever he brings it out.

    Like 5
  10. Dead_Garry

    In my younger days would have trashed this to no end.

    As age and perspective have accumulated, have to say you could do so much worse than this vehicle.

    It’s unique, well made and rare.

    Kudos to the new owner.

    Would make a helluva road trip companion.

    Like 12
  11. Chris

    I would drive that its just cool & unique

    Like 2
  12. Howie

    Not my cup of tea, and you will need a big garage.

    Like 2
  13. GerryMember

    So a few miles (or Km) up the road from me one of these has sat parked in front of a hair salon for close to twenty years and hasn’t moved an inch.
    I would have to think that it cost the original owner quite a bit of money considering we are on a small island 800 miles south of Tokyo and it would have been an imported foreign car. Probably sidelined by a minor repair that prior to the internet made parts hard to get. I remember having to write letters home in the pre internet days to get my family to run to the parts store for stuff for my 74 Grand Prix.
    One of these days when I’m just out and about Ill have to stop and ask about it. Always thought they were kinda over the top cool.

    Like 6
  14. TomP

    It looks like a Zimmer.

    Like 0
  15. Tony Primo

    I would warm up the 350 and chase the left lane hogs out of the fast lane. Imagine seeing this thing gaining on you in your rear view mirror!!!

    Like 6
  16. nlpnt

    Step 1. Tie strings around the front turn signals and hang them from the rafters.

    Step 2. Unscrew them.

    Step 3. Push the rest of the car down the nearest cliff

    Step 4. Slide an otherwise-complete 1970s VW Beetle under the turn signals

    Step 5. Fasten screws and remove strings.

    Problem solved!

    Like 2
    • Richardd Adams

      ….except , there is no problem.

      Like 9
  17. Mitch

    A Bugatti for just a bargain. Or those born later who never
    had the ability to own one.
    Decades ago i have seen a tycoon living in my city he’s
    regular drove a convertible. Seen from close these cars
    let good attention to details what the most american cars
    miss. In finish, fitment, and material quality.

    At all very special and, without the flashlights horns and
    this kitschy steering wheel, 5.66 meters of statement.

    Servicing will be tricky as except the spare tire covers
    the whole front clip or only the fenders is not detachable.
    Work must be done from below.

    Like 1
  18. John Traylor

    I rather like it, it sure would be easy to find in a parking lot among all the other cars.

    Like 3
  19. Kenn

    So glad to see the compliments outweigh the naysayers. No, this isn’t for everyone. Neither are muscle cars or Corvettes. But those of us who don’t find them attractive or desirable aren’t spending effort disparaging the “taste” of those who do.

    Like 3
  20. V8roller

    On the whole I like the Excalibur.
    More so the convertibles, except for the trunk which always look awkward.
    This sedan almost looks elegant with the truck well integrated.
    Shame about the lumber-store dash and black instruments although that could be fixed… but not by me seeing as it’s near three feet too long for my garage.

    Like 2

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