Back in the early 1960s automotive design stylist Brooks Stevens, who had already designed several dramatic vehicles, looked to the past for inspiration. He was attracted to cars from the 1930s when style was king, so he set out to create a car with 1930s style twinned with modern conveniences. The result was the Series I Excalibur.
Several automakers were involved in the birthing process, as were Stevens two sons. As the years rolled by improvements were made. The Series I model was replaced by the Series II and that version was followed by the Series III. In January 1981 the Series IV was introduced. Like the earlier Excalibur, it too, was designed in the traditional classical style reminiscent of the pre-World War II era.
Two Series IV models were produced, a roadster as well as a phaeton. Both weighed 4,400 pounds and offered occupants of the car a cushy ride on the lengthy 125-inch wheelbase.
One of the Series IV Excaliburs, a 1984 model, was one of 188 manufactured that year. It was purchased by a Dallas, Texas resident with a window sticker price of $57,000.
After 23 years of always being well cared for, the 1984 Excalibur, now owned by a New Jersey man, was offered for sale. In the meantime, Corbitt Baker was at the computer in his Nacogdoches, Texas home shopping for a distinctive car. He did not want a car so common that he could virtually meet himself on the highway.
“I had heard about Excaliburs earlier,” Baker says. He had only seen pictures of the limited production cars.
Then he learned of the Excalibur in New Jersey. The description sounded great, but he was reluctant since New Jersey and Texas are separated by a lot of U.S.A.
When the seller told him to come up to see the car and if it isn’t as advertised he would pay for the round trip flight, Baker took the bait. “I booked a flight as quickly as I could,” he says.
Upon arrival in New Jersey, Baker saw the car and the deal was done. He bought the car in October 2007. Baker flew back to Texas and the Excalibur trailed behind a few days in the back of a truck. The odometer had recorded 12,188 miles. Baker says the car appears to be maroon except in photographs when it turns to flame red. The dark color is a nice backdrop to show off the stainless steel spoke wheels.
The only problem encountered with the car involved carburetor issues, Baker says. The modified Rochester four-barrel dilemma has been resolved. Virtually everything on the luxurious car was considered standard equipment including: two spotlights, power antenna, power steering, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, six-way power seats, power disc brakes, center running light, AM/FM cassette radio, and four trumpet air horns.
Baker’s Excalibur has a removable hard top in addition to a conventional convertible top. He has a hydraulically assisted electric hoist in the garage to aid in the removal of the hard top. The soft top is power operated. Baker says he prefers motoring with the hardtop in place and the air conditioner operating.
Under the elongated engine hood tucked between the dual side-mounted spare tires is a 305-cubic-inch V-8 engine from General Motors that develops 155 horsepower. That power is transferred to the rear wheels via a General Motors four-speed automatic overdrive transmission.
Baker has driven his fiberglass-bodied Excalibur about 3,000 miles. “Everywhere I go it gets attention,” says Baker. “I hate to leave it unattended,” he says cautiously. — Vern Parker, Motor Matters
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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010