1970 Excalibur SS: Acquired Appreciation

Excalibur SS

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Have you ever spent years being completely turned off by a car only to one day wake up and think – “Eh, it’s not so bad”? Well, that’s what has happened to me as it pertains to this 1970 Excalibur SS Series II listed here on eBay with bidding at $4,400 and the reserve unmet. While it’s a bit unloved by collectors, it does at least have Corvette running gear, and with a free-flowing exhaust, I’d imagine it sounds as good as any other uncorked V8. I’ve even gotten to the point that I appreciate the wacky, wide-stance styling. Heck, with some more aggressive rubber and aero, plus some big, rally-style fog lamps, I could see this being an interesting contestant in road rallies or Gumball runs! I’d also repaint it back to its original shade of Sunfire Yellow, add a CB radio and proceed to scare small children whenever possible. I got the idea from Jesse and his fire-breathing Torino GT!  Does anyone else have some modest appreciation for these ’70s outcasts?

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  1. Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

    I feel the Excalibur is a “real car” as opposed to a lot of the neo-classics that followed, mainly due to the Corvette running gear. I’ll take mine in white, please :-)

    Brooks Stevens was one heck of a designer; I’m guessing the engineering behind this one is a lot better than most.

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  2. francisco

    You are going to get attention wherever you go. It might be worth it, if you’re into that.

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  3. Christian Swanson

    That’s a running board too far, Jeff. I’m not going with you on this one.

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    • JeffAuthor

      Ha! Yes, perhaps I’ve gone a bit out on a limb – or fender – with this one!

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  4. jimbosidecar

    I always like the Excalibers from day one but hated the Clenets, modern Duesenbergs, and all the other kit classics. I read a road test of the Excaliber when I was 9 or 10 years old, liked it then and still like it now.

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  5. jimbosidecar

    I just looked through the pictures on e-bay. Not what I remember the car looking like at all. I think I was thinking of the 1966 or 1967 model with the low back seats and a little less “70s” look to the interior.

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  6. Ed P

    I like the Excalibers also. The dash is a let down. It looks like they covered some plywood with black leather (or vinyl) and stuck some gauges in it.

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  7. Jason

    completely turned off

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  8. Barry T

    No thank you. Pardon the pun but the rear end is butt ugly. Also having four seats just looks silly.

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  9. RonEBee

    not everybodys cup of tea, but I’d love to have one of these, easy to replace tranny with a 4 or 5 spped, these early ones are fun cars

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  10. HoA Howard AMember

    Excalibur automobiles have a special interest to me. In the ’70’s, I had a job as a driver for a body shop supply and paint dealer, and we supplied the paint for the Excalibur factory in West Allis, Wis. ( a connected suburb of Milwaukee) I would deliver the paint and check out the cars in various stages of being built. The employees were dedicated to building a quality piece, and from what I saw, it was true. The head mechanic of the company, (now defunct), Alice Preston, remarkable person, has dedicated the remainder of her working career to saving and restoring the remaining cars, and buys up as many cars as she can. Many are still with their original owners. She was devastated to learn 7 Excalibur’s were destroyed in the “Cash for Clunkers” program. I wouldn’t be surprised if she grabs this one as well, if nothing more, parts to keep the existing cars running. Many famous people owned Excalibur’s, including, Jackie Gleason, Steve McQueen, Bill Cosby, Dick Van Dyke, the KIng of Spain, and Phyllis Diller, who reportedly owns 4 of them. Like it or not, it was a great endeavor by a man that gave us more than we will ever know, Brooks Stevens.

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    • Booya

      Couldn’t have said it better, Howard A. Excalibur is not to be confused with the typical Fiberfab kitsch-mobiles. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but still a respectable effort with some real heritage.

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    • ronebee

      I’d buy this one if I had the room, a 4 seat corvette with some class would be a riot

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  11. Myron Vernis

    As a proud Excalibur owner and driver, I’m here to attest what wonderful automobiles they were. My preference is for the pure initial Series One roadsters with cycle fenders and no doors. Only 97 were built and, 2200 pounds and 300-350 horsepower, would easily outrun a contemporary Corvette 0-60 and in the quarter mile.

    I’d also like to second the absolute genius of Brooks Stevens and props to Alice Preston for continuing to carry the sword.

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    • Jesse JesseStaff

      Wow! I wasn’t confident about featuring an Excalibur when Jeff wrote this up, but all the comments and this photo make me rethink my opinion of these cars. I would not mind having one if it looked and went like yours Myron! Just as the Miata is a modern alternative to the British roadster, the Excalibur could be the modern alternative to the pre-war sports car!

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    • ronebee

      Myron, that car is bitchin, Dude……

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      • Myron Vernis

        Thanks! 16,000 miles and totally original, including tires.

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  12. A.J.

    I agree with almost all the comments. My only slight disagreement is that the Duesenberg II is actually not horrible.

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  13. Mr 500

    Lets not forget that Stevens designed this as the Studebaker SS for the New York Auto Show. When the board decided not to move forward, Brooks took it home to Wisconsin and started Excaliber. It began with the same Studebaker chassis and motor as the Avanti. Funny how both unusual cars outlived their defunct original manufacturer.

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  14. Tim H

    Yup I approve. My SAMCO Cord (37 Cord replica) with a 68 440 and C3 Corvette suspension conversion stole my heart. I am glad the collectors don’t like them, keeps them cheap enough for me to own. And I do like driving around looking like a million bucks!

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  15. Bobsmyuncle

    The car in question doesn’t do much for me, but Myron’s, wow what a change of character!

    The most noteworthy part of the listing for me is the colour change. The most complete I’ve ever seen with no hint of overspray anywhere. The car MUST have been entirely disassembled.

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  16. sir mike

    my answer to the opening line…….NO

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  17. Dave

    They were never quite proportioned right styling wise.

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  18. jim s

    the car is very interesting and it seems like a lot off car for the money at the current bid. but the home made looking header/exhaust system would have to be moved away from the master cyl., that has to be overheating the brake fluid! great find.

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  19. gunningbar

    MMMMM…No… but this is the best of the “type.”

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  20. Chris Buchaniec (@CBuchaniec)

    looks like patrick mc goohans car from the prisoner….

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  21. Ed Bailey

    Only had my Series II roadster 45 years. ” Five more and it’ll be paid off.”.
    would not trade it for any car on the planet. Ed from PITTSBURGH edsexcalibur@hotmail.com

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  22. Ed from Pittsburgh

    If anyone knows where this is in Dec 2021. let me know. My SS Roadster is looking for a Garage mate…Thanks 412 221-1192

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