Brooks Stevens and the Stevens Family Legacy: From Excaliburs to Wienermobiles


Robert Birmingham


Over the years, Brooks Stevens’ amazing career as an innovative industrial designer has been recorded in countless articles and several books but now, for the first time, a comprehensive record of his love for automobiles is defined in Brooks Stevens and the Stevens Family Legacy – From Excaliburs to Wienermobiles.

Brooks’ sons, David and William “Steve” Stevens, played key roles from the mid-1960s through the 1980s and yet a great many people are unaware of their invaluable contributions, which are presented between these pages.

From his first car, a Ford Model T given to him by his father as a reward for accomplishing a challenge, Brooks and his associates designed a series of special vehicles commissioned by Studebaker and Kaiser Frazer, by wealthy industrials, entertainment stars, and friends. The first Excalibur J cars went on to win an SCCA National Championship in 1958, a series of passenger cars derived from the original 1964 Mercebaker, soon after to be renamed the Excalibur SS, and the infamous Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles.

Celebrities come and go throughout this history: entertainers Jackie Gleason and Phyllis Diller, successful race drivers Al Unser, Jr., Jim Jeffords, John Fitch, Jerry Hansen, Carl Haas, Fred Wacker, and Roger Penske, “father” of the Corvette Zora Arkus-Duntov, and also designer/constructors “Dutch” Darrin and John DeLorean are included. Prominent Milwaukee and Wisconsin socialites, industrialists, and business leaders are also present: William Woods Plankinton, Fred Miller, Fred Stratton, Sr., Dan Parker, Ralph Evinrude, and David Uihlein, to name but a few.

Color renderings designed to improve Road America’s facility during the early years and experiences at Le Mans, Sebring, and American sports car tracks from Watkins Glen in New York to Sears Point in California and dozens of others in between are interesting. Excalibur race results are recorded by date.

There is much more of interest for even the occasional classic automobile buff, including the history, from its roots in earlier buildings, to opening night of the Brooks Stevens Automotive Museum in Mequon, Wisconsin, right on up to its eventual closing.

Full color with dozens of photos.