The History of Excalibur
The Excalibur Automobile Corporation. The Art of Automaking.
Generally acknowledged as the oldest and largest manufacturer of upscale limited production automobiles in the United States, Excalibur Automobile Corporation of suburban Milwaukee is now in its fourth decade of automobile production.
It all started in 1964, when Brooks Stevens sketched a concept car on a restaurant place mat. As a consultant to Studebaker and a renowned industrial designer, Brooks was asked to design a 'show car' for the 1964 New York Auto Show. Studebaker wanted a 'show stopper' for their exhibit.
His idea was based on the design of the 1927 Mercedes-Benz built with Studebaker Avanti components. In those days, Studebaker imported Mercedes, so Brooks tied the Mercedes design to the Daytona chassis and called it the 'Mercebaker.'
The prototype was built in just eight weeks, ready three nights before the New York Show. When it pulled in the New York Coliseum, Studebaker announced that it would phase out production. Brooks and his two songs, David and Steve, conferred and decided to show the prototype anyway. They used the name Excalibur - a name linked to Brooks Stevens from his racing days. Brooks had earlier designed, built and victoriously raced a team of Excalibur sports cars in the 1950's.
The Excalibur display created overwhelming excitement, producing a long list of potential buyers. Two people asked Brooks if he would build similar cars for them. They were given a figure of $6,000. One of the gentlemen happened to be New York City's largest Chevrolet dealer who asked Brooks if he would consider building the Excalibur with a Chevrolet engine. Brooks told him they could if he supplied the engine.
To further test interest in the car, the Stevens brothers ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal three days before Christmas. They received over 400 inquiries, sold 25 cars in a week with a $1,000 deposit on each and borrowed another $15,000 from the bank. With a total of $40,000 Excalibur was born.
In 1966, the company moved to its present facility which now covers over 100,000 square feet in West Allis, Wisconsin - the west side of Milwaukee, well known for its skilled craftsmen.
Since 1964, over 3,500 vehicles have been shipped to dealers and distributors around the world. Excaliburs have been owned by many famous people, including Bill Cosby, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Curtis, Shirley Jones, Sonny and Cher, Dean Martin, Jackie Gleason, Roberto Duran, and Paul Harvey. One of the most enthusiastic owners is Phyllis Diller - she has purchased four of them. The King of Spain was one of our more recent customers.
Excalibur's classic series of automobiles includes the Phaeton, Touring Sedan, Roadster, Limited Edition and Grand Limousine. The newest addition to this fine family of handmade automobiles, is the Excalibur Cobra. In stark contrast to a kit car, this fully manufactured turn-key high performance automobile is a classic 1966 Cobra reproduction reengineered for the 90's - the most sensational sports car ever built.
Excalibur's exceptional automotive line is upstaged only by the quality of the Excalibur Team. Gathered under a 100,000 square foot facility in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin are some of the finest craftsmen in the business.
As the grandfather of contemporary classic automobile industry, Excalibur endeavors to continuously improve its quality, aesthetic appeal and engineering excellence.