PDA

View Full Version : Studebaker SS Prototype - Excalibur



Dougie
11-24-2013, 05:39 PM
Reading my new Hemmings Classic Car (Jan 2014 Issue), I was surprised to learn of the Studebaker / Excalibur relationship. A prototype Studebaker SS was made by Excalibur and was on a Studebaker frame. In fact all Series I Excaliburs were on Studebaker frames. Later Series were on custom built frames. I'm not all that enamored with Excalibur cars and that's, probably why I haven't read about them extensively, but it was interesting, and after years of reading all kinds of automotive literature, it's not often I come across something I was completely unaware of.

DEEPNHOCK
11-24-2013, 05:56 PM
Pretty cool, huh?
Type in Excaliber in the search box and read up on it right here!
53 threads, all with great info...



Reading my new Hemmings Classic Car (Jan 2014 Issue), I was surprised to learn of the Studebaker / Excalibur relationship. A prototype Studebaker SS was made by Excalibur and was on a Studebaker frame. In fact all Series I Excaliburs were on Studebaker frames. Later Series were on custom built frames. I'm not all that enamored with Excalibur cars and that's, probably why I haven't read about them extensively, but it was interesting, and after years of reading all kinds of automotive literature, it's not often I come across something I was completely unaware of.

Sdude
11-24-2013, 06:11 PM
Hemmings didn't say it but the original SS concept car was Studebaker powered. Read up on it. It's an interesting story. Hemmings only touched on the connection.

8E45E
11-24-2013, 06:15 PM
Pretty cool, huh?
Type in Excaliber in the search box and read up on it right here!
53 threads, all with great info...

Here's one of them: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?17549-Studebaker-SS&highlight=excalibur

Craig

candbstudebakers
11-25-2013, 01:47 AM
It's about the only Studebaker related car I have not owned, but came close twice and still will if I get the right chance.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 11:07 AM
Brooks Stevens was the man who developed the Excaliber, the original was Studebaker powered and mounted on a Lark convertible frame. The original plan was to sell the car thru select Studebaker dealers, but that plan fell apart when Studebaker moved all production to Canada.

Stevens is well known to Studebaker 'nuts' as the man who styled the 1962 GT Hawk.

Stu Chapman
11-25-2013, 11:11 AM
Earlier threads talk about how the Excalibur was originally to be displayed as a Studebaker SS at the Chicago Auto Show but that idea was killed by Byers Burlingame. A little known fact was that my PR counterpart at Studebaker in South Bend, the late Bill Dredge, secretly supported Brooks Stevens in making sure sufficient parts were made available to complete the project for the Chicago show.

Stu Chapman

studegary
11-25-2013, 04:06 PM
Earlier threads talk about how the Excalibur was originally to be displayed as a Studebaker SS at the Chicago Auto Show but that idea was killed by Byers Burlingame. A little known fact was that my PR counterpart at Studebaker in South Bend, the late Bill Dredge, secretly supported Brooks Stevens in making sure sufficient parts were made available to complete the project for the Chicago show.

Stu Chapman

Stu - I thought that the Excalibur made its debut at the New York Auto Show. Have I been incorrect about that?

64V-K7
11-25-2013, 04:44 PM
Stu - I thought that the Excalibur made its debut at the New York Auto Show. Have I been incorrect about that?

You're correct, but as I remember the story.... When Studebaker decided to shut down, they cancelled out of the NY Auto Show and told Stevens to not bring the car up. He decided to get his own space and do it anyway. It wasn't advertised as a Studebaker...

studegary
11-25-2013, 05:07 PM
You're correct, but as I remember the story.... When Studebaker decided to shut down, they cancelled out of the NY Auto Show and told Stevens to not bring the car up. He decided to get his own space and do it anyway. It wasn't advertised as a Studebaker...

Thank you. That is what I remember from discusing it with Brooks Stevens and his sons. The car was already in NY when Studebaker canceled. Stevens had a difficult time getting a spot at the show, but did get a sort of out of the way spot.

Stu Chapman
11-27-2013, 11:01 AM
Thank you. That is what I remember from discusing it with Brooks Stevens and his sons. The car was already in NY when Studebaker canceled. Stevens had a difficult time getting a spot at the show, but did get a sort of out of the way spot.

Gary, you were correct. What I had remembered was discussions with Bill Dredge when we were talking about the Chicago show.

Stu Chapman

Xcalibur
12-06-2013, 11:51 PM
Btw, that "out of the way" display spot at the New York Auto Show was in front of one of the eateries... so EVERYONE ended up seeing it, or so said one of the contemporary magazine writers. HEHEHEHE....

The Series 1 X is one of the direct and clearly Stude-linked vehicles that very few (even otherwise well-informed Studephiles) seem to know much about. ALL my Studebaker friends couldn't figure why I bought one, given my well known penchant for South Bend products.

As for info in the threads here, take some (if not much) of it with a grain of salt since many Stude people (as noted) know no more about Xs than other car folks (not that they should, of course, just sayin'...). For example; NO, Excalibur built no kits, zero, zilch, nada, zip... another? NO, according to Brooks and his two sons--as they said repeatedly--they built one and only one X with a Stude engine, the well known and still in-the-family prototype. Those's are a couple of the more common "stories," but there are others.

I thought the Jan '14 HCC article filled in a few gaps in the lineage with some useful specifics. Worth the quick read for any Stude person, imho.

"Ask the man who owns one!"

SN-60
12-07-2013, 08:23 AM
Btw, that "out of the way" display spot at the New York Auto Show was in front of one of the eateries... so EVERYONE ended up seeing it, or so said one of the contemporary magazine writers. HEHEHEHE....

The Series 1 X is one of the direct and clearly Stude-linked vehicles that very few (even otherwise well-informed Studephiles) seem to know much about. ALL my Studebaker friends couldn't figure why I bought one, given my well known penchant for South Bend products.

As for info in the threads here, take some (if not much) of it with a grain of salt since many Stude people (as noted) know no more about Xs than other car folks (not that they should, of course, just sayin'...). For example; NO, Excalibur built no kits, zero, zilch, nada, zip... another? NO, according to Brooks and his two sons--as they said repeatedly--they built one and only one X with a Stude engine, the well known and still in-the-family prototype. Those's are a couple of the more common "stories," but there are others.

I thought the Jan '14 HCC article filled in a few gaps in the lineage with some useful specifics. Worth the quick read for any Stude person, imho.

"Ask the man who owns one!"

I remember reading comments by one or two period automotive reporters that laughed at the thought of comparing the series one Excalibur with the 'REAL DEAL' Mercedes Benz. Still, I always thought that the Brooks Stevens team did a fairly nice job of creating a sports (?) car out of a pile of leftover Studebaker parts.

DEEPNHOCK
12-07-2013, 08:31 AM
And his Studio did a good job doing a similar thing with the GT Hawk. too!
Update the car with as few pieces (and tooling budget) as possible...
Jeffhttp://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/images/icons/icon6.png


<snip>
Still, I always thought that the Brooks Stevens team did a fairly nice job of creating a sports (?) car out of a pile of leftover Studebaker parts.

1962larksedan
12-07-2013, 08:46 AM
And his Studio did a good job doing a similar thing with the GT Hawk. too!
Update the car with as few pieces (and tooling budget) as possible...
Jeffhttp://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/images/icons/icon6.png

I have to agree with that. The 1962-64 Hawk; despite it being very strongly based on the previous C/K platform, does look a whole lot different. IMHO as I've stated in the past; Stude may have done better in coming out with a convertible version of said Hawk vs. spending the $$$ to develop the Avanti, hindsight being 20/20.

SN-60
12-07-2013, 11:05 AM
And his Studio did a good job doing a similar thing with the GT Hawk. too!
Update the car with as few pieces (and tooling budget) as possible...
Jeffhttp://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/images/icons/icon6.png

Yes, the Stevens team certainly did do a great job creating the 'GT' Hawk. And that was a true 'Real World' car. The series one Excalibur on the other hand is really just a 'toy' for someone who needs something to do while their golf clubs are out being polished.

Green53
12-07-2013, 10:18 PM
Brooks spoke at a couple International Meet banquets and was very open about copying the Thunderbird top for the GT

Xcalibur
12-07-2013, 11:34 PM
SN-60, I've not played golf nor have I had my clubs polished in years! :lol::lol: :lol:

But, the Series-1 X is certainly a TOY, nothing more or less, but a genuinely FUN one, as I've noted in other threads here. It is interesting reading the contemporary car magazine reports (I've about 20 of them); some reviewers got it and others didn't, pure and simple.

As for "laughing at comparing..." the X with the "REAL DEAL"... as some reviewers noted when the X came out, such a comparison was silly, the real deal was much more expensive and had LESS performance, and as Brooks Stevens said, the X was meant to be a two-way car with the essence of the real deal that would get the owner there AND BACK, again. Apparently, he and his friends who owned original Benz SSKs and such considered them one-way cars, for good reason.

SN-60
12-08-2013, 10:15 AM
I believe that the series one Excalibur is a 'cool' car and I certainly would not mind owning one. (The later versions....no thanks!) Fifty years later though, we should not try to 'recreate history'. Studebaker wanted to distance themselves from these vehicles. It was Brooks Stevens dream car....not Studebakers!

Xcalibur
12-20-2013, 02:03 PM
As Brooks Stevens and his sons have noted, Studebaker was well aware of what was intended for the Daytona chassis that was shipped to Milwaukee. Brooks has recounted his conversation with South Bend in some detail to that effect, though S.B. surely didn't fully understand the concept, given it was new at the time. As the Stevens have said, the Studebaker SS was actually on its way to the New York show when South Bend got cold feet and pulled their "backing," such as it was. Given Studebaker's target market at that time, their decision makes sense. Since this is all well documented there is no need to "recreate history," imho.

Deaf Mute
12-20-2013, 07:04 PM
The first Excalibur I saw in person was parked on the street in downtown Kansas City, across the street from my hotel room, I took photos looking down at it and then took many from street level (I thought it was Stude powered, but I must have been wrong). I got a chance to talk to Mr. Stevens at the Minneapolis International Meet back in 1994, what an experience that was. I had trouble straightening out my legs after kneeling so long talking to him. Shortly after his passing I was able to tour his museum in Wisconsin. I wish I could own one, but I did not have a winning ticket this week!