Excalibur Phaeton Series IV: The rolling provocation

Hardy Mutschler
Excalibur Phaeton Series IV
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The E xcalibur Phaeton Series IV is a dangerous weapon, a rolling provocation. His appearance is like a sword thrust that drives passers-by and motorists right through the stomach and through the aorta - so amazed, dazed and stunned they stare at the majestically rolling phantom of the road - the Excalibur Phaeton Series IV from 1981 stands out. These fenders spreading like swan wings, the chrome radiator moved to the rear, the four gold-colored fanfares, the two fat spare wheels and finally the gangster-like searchlights on the gangster-like, low roof structure with the two-part windshield.

Striking exotic with SSK bonds

What an appearance! What force and what dignity! The ignorant observer can see in the white wonder car Excalibur Phaeton probably a vintage car, a Mercedes or even a Maybach. The half-knowing may rant about a kit car with a Corvette engine. But very few people know what is really going on here: Here is a real Excalibur Phaeton Series IV, on which everything is original - even the wrong, external exhaust manifolds. Who would like to sit on the narrow leather armchairs in the narrow cockpit? Boris Becker and Lilly Kerstenberg? Udo Lindenberg (without hat)? Dieter Zetsche? Klaus Wowereit? Or even Elton John?

These assumptions are not that bold, if only because there were no celebrities in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance in the preseason, if at all. No, it's just the Youngtimer editor who is here in the Excalibur Phaeton Series IV gives the still cold night its undeserved shine. With his right foot he touches a gas pedal, which the very greatest and very best from Hollywood and Las Vegas have already stepped on.

US actors and even a president in particular appreciated the sporty charm and incomparable luxury of a handmade Excalibur Phaeton: Gary Cooper, Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov, Ronald Reagan, Pernell Roberts (Adam from 'Bonanza'), Steve McQueen and many more. Not to mention the singers and musicians like Dean Martin, piano god Liberace as wellSonny and Cher (one each).

Modern copy of the legendary supercharged Mercedes

So we see that the amazement is over here in Friedrichshafen the Excalibur Phaeton with its whopping 157 hp is not unfounded. As early as 1965, the somewhat shorter, simply SS, roadster ancestor of our four-seater, who appeared to be fighting and crouching, even cast a spell over the tough test men from auto motor und sport. They found nothing disreputable about the fact that the Mercedes SSK racer from 1928 was given a modern copy with a Chevy V8, two-speed automatic and power steering. Rather, one got intoxicated by the excellent driving performance of the then 250 hp retro sports car, which went from zero to 100 km /h in 6.9 seconds, and then stated soberly: 'The attempt at deception was successful.'

We owe the existence of the Excalibur Phaeton - according to its own admission the fourth American series manufacturer after Chrysler, GM and Ford - to the industrial designer Brooks Stevens (1911 to 1995), an eccentric self-promoter who would have passed for the Beatles' road manager at the time . He styled Parker fountain pens, Evinrude outboards, post-war Harleys and the civil versions of the Willys Jeep, among other things. The first Excalibur J was Stevens' own, martial racing car based on Studebaker - without retro body - with which he competed in circuit races against Ferrari, Maserati and Jaguar from 1951 to 1953.

Excalibur has been since 1965 independent brand

The first series Excalibur, inspired by the Mercedes SSK, was initially planned as a top model by Studebaker. However, since 1965 Excalibur appeared as a separate brand because Studebaker's bankruptcy was foreseeable and occurred a year later. In 1966, Excalibur expanded its model range to include the four-seater Phaeton. With the Excalibur Phaeton Series IV introduced in 1980, the length of the Phaeton grew to well over five meters. It thus resembled the Mercedes luxury series 500/540 K from 1934.

The fully electrified Excalibur Phaeton equipment also includes a Blaupunkt cassette radio, the removable hardtop plus an electrically operated convertible soft top and two fully-fledged convertible top Replacement spoked wheels. Because they are really real. All six even. The richly processed tropical wood in the interior is also genuine. The centimeter-thick, oval glove compartment lid could also serve as a snack board. Then a massive 'Excalibur' brass sign in a nostalgic inn design, which we know with the inscription 'Men' or 'Women'.

Always in close contact with the passenger

The driver of the Excalibur Phaeton Series IV, on the other hand, is impressed by a nicely made watch collection with no less than eight round instruments. The compact leather steering wheel with good grip is like an old Miniamazingly flat. The driver therefore lounges quite casually and comfortably in a thinly padded leather armchair. His legs are in a narrow shaft. If you wear thick shoes, you have to brake with your left foot and accelerate with your right. Shifting is done by a GM automatic, whose center shift lever comes from the Chevy Camaro. It's good that we don't have to change gears by hand because there is simply not enough space for this when the passenger seat is occupied. Man, is that tight in here!

In the narrow, low and dark Excalibur Cave, you inevitably sit in close contact with your ideally female companion. We drive closed, of course, so that the common happiness does not fizzle out and into the sky. And so we look forward through the two high-mounted small panes at the surging waves of the white fenders and the huge chrome balls of the headlights, as if the Excalibur Phaeton Series IV were a beautiful, old Riva motorboat plowing through the marina of Antibes. Friedrichshafen has never been as beautiful as on this bitterly cold spring night.

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