Jay Leno Reviews Excalibur RS: Video
It’s okay if you hadn’t heard of the Excalibur RS before coming across this video; it won’t cost you your enthusiast card. That’s because there is only one of them in existence, painstakingly built over a period of eight years. The car was designed and built under the supervision of Robert Shaw, but it is actually a tribute to a much older car. That car was the Hawk, another one-off designed by Brooks Stevens all the way back in 1959. The Hawk’s influence is pretty obvious in the RS, as are a couple of other cars, but Shaw has managed to make the design his own, and the build quality of the car is also very much first rate.
The fins on the Hawk have been toned down considerably, and the nose has been redesigned to fix a flaw in the earlier design that resulted in frequent engine overheating. But what looks a lot like Corvette Stingray influences in both cars is actually the other way around. Early sketches of the Hawk found their way into GM and shaped the course of Corvette history. That’s present again in this car and it looks as good as ever.
This is the third car to have been built by Shaw, with the first being made out of an old Bugatti, purchased a long enough time ago that it wasn’t worth much when he bought it. He mentions Bugatti as being an influence on his work a few times, but he obviously draws influence from a number of different places. There’s a fair amount of Corvette in the car too, and the engine is a Chevy small block V-8, which puts out about 500 horsepower. As you will see from the photos that Shaw brought with him, the car was quite an involved project, one which many people wouldn’t have known about if not for this show, which is one of those things that make it great.