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1984 Knudsen Baroque Cabriolet
The Baroque Cabriolet — this is one of just two produced — was designed and manufactured by famed automotive designer Russ Knudsen to meet the demands of discriminating car enthusiasts who wanted contemporary performance meshed with the neoclassic style and elegance reminiscent of great sports cars from the 1920s and ‘30s.
His Baroque line of limousines was inspired by production classics such as Stutz, Mercedes and Rolls Royce and more recent customs such as the Excalibur, Zimmer and the Panther De Ville.
From 1980, when the car debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show, through 1985, Knudsen built 11 Baroques, including the Baroque Coupe, Baroque Royale Sedan, Baroque Royale Limousine and the convertible model, the Baroque Cabriolet. Of the 11 manufactured, two were Cabriolets.
Knudsen Automotive of Omaha, Nebraska, was founded in 1978 and distinguished itself by producing hand-made luxury motor vehicles to world-class standards of design and manufacture. Knudsen is also known for limited-production sports cars such as the TOJAN Firebirds and CARRALO Camaros, which were in demand nationally and internationally. Today, his son, Andrew, continues this legacy of customized cars, trucks and motor coaches with Rage Exotic Vehicles, also based in Omaha.
All Baroque models were priced from $80,000 up to $250,000 depending on the buyer’s requests, and each required more than six months to build. Sedans were built on Buick Regal frames and the two-door coupes and convertibles on Oldsmobile Cutlass chassis. The convertibles were contracted to noted Florida conversion company, Coach Builders Limited, before returning to Knudsen for remaining modifications.
This pristine White-on-Royal Blue Cabriolet, with just 24,000 miles from new, was built for a gentleman from Dallas, Texas, who purchased four cars at the time from Knudsen. His sales price in 1984 was $86,000, Knudsen says.
Knudsen’s paradigm for these cars: upswept fenders, upright grilles, wire wheels and hood exhaust pipes recalling the iconic Duesenberg Model SJ of the early ‘30s. Custom coachwork was wedded to chassis, power trains and interiors from more workaday models — in this particular Baroque a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass with V-8 power and an automatic 3-speed transmission. The interior is a Cutlass with Connelly Leather.
Enthusiasts and collectors took both to their eye appeal and roadability, a standout synthesis of speed and beauty.
Knudsen’s automotive artwork has been showcased on television such as “Miami Vice,” “Alien Nation,” and the 1989 film, “Collision Course,” with Jay Leno paired with Pat Morita. Recalling the elegant era of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” this Baroque Cabriolet is fun and unique — a memorable motoring experience.