Most Looked At in America: 1982 Excalibur Series IV

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It’s easy to forget the Excalibur was a solid performer when introduced, but the somewhat garish exterior was the first thing most folks noticed before ever peering under the hood. As the seller enthusiastically points out, the Excalibur may in fact be one of the most looked at cars in America, as its almost always included in various round-ups and collections of famous cars. You could be one of the Excalibur Elites if you check out this example here on craigslist listed for $54,950 in Georgia. 

To see an asking price of nearly $60K on a car like this really does make me wonder who is still buying them. Despite their grandeur and decent performance, Excaliburs strike me as the ultimate vestige of a bygone era where coachbuilt manufacturers seemingly bloomed overnight. There was an immediate glut of these high-gloss, over-the-top vehicles that commanded serious price tags but were rarely taken seriously by the collector car set.

The interiors were six levels of opulent, but still showed signs of clumsy assembly with the likes of the straight-out-of-the-GM parts bin shifter assembly, generic door handles and wood trim and storage pouched seemingly tacked onto whichever surface had available real estate. Still, if you were looking for the pure shock value of opulence that wasn’t necessarily found in a Rolls-Royce, an Excalibur was likely a fine choice to promote the image of wealth.

Believe it or not, Excaliburs were capable of some pretty impressive 0-60 times in the six second range. V8 power courtesy of Chevrolet and a light curb weight enabled impressive sprints up through the gears, but I can’t imaging it being much fun. If you need a cruiser than no one else has the stones to drive, an Excalibur would likely test the mettle of your ego and give you the exclusivity your crave. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.

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  1. Ian C

    Needs a Hellcrate engine and watch the faces on the people when you blow the doors off them leaving the stop light. Sounds like a good idea to me anyway!! LOL

    Can you get white wall street slicks?

    Like 4
    • jdjonesdr

      I knew a guy once who painted them on. Square business.

      Like 1
      • Al

        I hope he had a steady hand,

        Like 0
  2. Matthew Van Leer-Greenberg

    Usually, I preach that everyone is entitled to like their own era, type and style of cars. Car culture is a union of men and women who are enamored with the thought of transportation and having a nice whip no matter how you define nice.

    This Kit Car is not good looking, and is an affront to the original design of the Duesenberg Supercharger. I would drive it into a field and leave it there. For those of you who appreciate these cars, power to ya.

    Like 2
  3. CanuckCarGuy

    I suspect that King Arthur would not be amused.

    Like 3
  4. MFerrell

    I’ve always been on the fence with the Excalibur. I like the idea, I’d like to like the car, but…

    These used C3 Corvette running gear and suspension, on a custom steel frame. They were several hundred pounds heavier than the Corvettes of the time, so I’d assume they would perform accordingly. In the end, I think I’d rather just have a custom car built on a 1930’s something-or-other.

    Like 3
  5. Dick Johnson

    Liberace loved ’em.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      And that is all you need to know about this type of “car”. I once heard Wayne Newton used to change Liberace’s oil.

      Like 3
      • Dick Johnson

        Wayne had a Clenet. I still can’t tell the diff if they aren’t side-by-side.

        I heard that Elvis used to change his own oil, with a hand gun. Just because his car wouldn’t start.

        That should cover Vegas for a bit.

        Like 3
  6. canadainmarkseh

    I saw an Excalibur once when I was in my early 20’s I was struck by them then and there. The only thing I don’t like about this model was the box shaped back of the convertable top. I’d love to own this car, but it is unobtainium for me. You get the best of two eras thirties MB with a modern gm drive line.

    Like 3
  7. Coventrycat

    Some think leisure suits are still good looking, too. Maybe those are the buyers, but I really doubt they pay anything like that.

    Like 4
  8. Jack M.

    My wife’s boss rented one of these on her wedding day to use a prop for pictures. Not as common as all the stretched Hummers, Lincolns and Cadillacs. Big money to be had renting these out.

    Like 3
  9. HoA Howard AMember

    Anybody that bad mouth’s these cars, doesn’t know much about them. These were Brooks Stevens swan song, probably the most influential designer of our time, and I’m proud to say, I had a small part in these fabulous automobiles. In the ’70’s, I worked for an auto paint supply, and we supplied all the paint for these cars. I delivered the paint to the plant in West Allis, Wis., and saw 1st hand how they were built. These workers loved what they did, and it showed. I got to know the paint mgr. and he allowed me to walk down the line and see the various stages of assembly. It was so clean, you could eat off the floor.
    Hemmings did a great article on a woman named Alice Preston. She was the head mechanic for Excalibur, and remains active preserving the cars that were built , 3268 cars in 40 years, and many still remain with their original owners. Not so much the car, but a piece of automotive history, the likes we’ll never see again.

    Like 14
    • Frank Sumatra

      Each to his/her own. I see this as the automotive equivalent of fat Elvis sitting on the throne. People tried to pretend these abominations were “classy”. They were anything but. They were vulgar and crass at best. And thank god we will never see these again.

      Like 3
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Sheesh, and you people think I’m a little rough around the edges,,,and these “people” happen to include, Tony Curtis, Phyllis Diller, Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin, Tony Randall, Ronald Reagan, Steve McQueen, George Foreman, Rod Stewart, George C. Scott, even Arnold, to name a few. A pretty impressive list of owners. And another thing, it’s a shame you remember the King the way you do.

        Like 3
      • Dick Johnson

        OHHHHH NOOOOOOOO!!!! NOT STEVE!! Gerald Ford, Dick Butkus mebbe. BUT NOT STEVE!

        If Steve had one of these, Bud Ekins and Malcolm Smith would’a mopped the shop with him.

        Like 1
      • Dick Johnson

        Been verified; Bud and Malcom mopped the shop floor with Steve. Bud thought that he knew Steve better than that.

        Excalibur owner archives do not mention Liberace having owned one. Never have seen a picture of Liberace riding a rat Indian chopper like Steve did. I think Lee rode a Harley Topper once.

        Like 0
      • Chinga-Trailer

        If McQueen had an Excalibur, it would have been an early one, true to Brooks Steven’s original design and it would have had a four-speed. The original cars were legitimate sports cars, too rough, crude and primitive to sell in the numbers the later ones like this one did. Hmm, too rough crude and primitive to sell in big numbers also describes the Cobra, and McQueen had one of those too!

        Like 1
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Steve McQueen owned a ’67 SSK that I think he bought for his wife.

        Like 0
  10. Chinga-Trailer

    The original Brooks Stevens design was elegant, lithe and perhaps even sparse. Inspired by the Mercedes SSK. You could even get one with a manual transmission. Very tasteful. What a shame the car evolved to this, a parody that so proves money and taste/aesthetics are far too often removed from each other. It’s ultimate ignomy was that it inspired that awful VW based kit car – the Gazelle! (Which looks no worse than this). What a sad legacy for Stevens inspired original design.

    Like 1
  11. Metoo

    Does it come with a pimp hat and cane?

    Like 1

    There were / are some wonderful “niche builds”…Excalibur was not one of them.(imo) Didn’t much care for the Clenet or the “Stutz” remakes of this particular era either.Too much of the GM parts bin was visible to my dislike.That…and the fiberglass bodywork was on the wrong side of being too angular and prefab-looking. I do however love the ’36 Auburn re-interpretations made by Speedster Motorcars…and some years of the Avanti.

    Like 1
  13. Rodney

    This car says something about the person who is driving it. Exactly what that is, I am not sure.

    Like 2
  14. Dan10

    Good enough for Roger Dorn.

    Like 1
  15. Joe

    Used to grainger a restaurant named “Molly Murphy’s House of fine repute in Tulsa that used one of these four their salad bar.

    Like 1

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