1993 Besasie Auto Co. Neoclassic Roadster

The market for Neoclassic cars has always been a small corner of the automotive market, going back to the industry’s roots in the 1970s. However, that did not deter former employees of Excalibur from starting their own company in the 1990s.

The Besasie Auto Company, Inc. (or BACI) was formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the purpose of producing a neoclassic automobile. The company produced a total of 14 vehicles between 1993 and 1996. I believe all of them were based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. Most of them used the 5.0L V8 engine with an automatic transmission, though I did find one listing online which said the car had the 4.6L V8, which debuted in 1994. While I could not find much on the history of the company, I suspect they ran into financial troubles. If you know any details about the Besasie family, please post a comment below!

I saw this particular BACI roadster for sale at a collector car dealership in Arizona. One thing that sets this car apart from other neoclassics is the angle of the front grille. While most neoclassics use a waterfall-style grille that is perpendicular to the ground, the BACI’s grille is sharply angled and sort of resembles a 1934 Ford, though less pointy at the bottom.

The car uses a lot of donor parts from a 1990s Thunderbird including the steering wheel, seats, dashboard, and center console. The stock dash has been upgraded with some fancy wood and a full complement of VDO analog gauges. Driver amenities include tilt steering, cruise control, and factory air and heat. I do have to chuckle at the single HVAC vent, all the way on the passenger side of the dash. It looks like the original Thunderbird dashboard had to be narrowed considerably to fit in the BACI body.

The car appears very narrow, with the driver and passenger sitting shoulder to shoulder. I doubt there is much room for storage behind the rear seats (if there is any at all). The car has no cup holder, and limited interior storage. Interestingly, it has power windows. I was not able to see how the soft top looks, but my guess is that like the rest of the car, the fitment is less than perfect.
According to the seller’s description, the car has approximately 14,000 miles on the odometer. The description also says that the original purchase price was more than $85,000 in 1993. For reference, the suggested retail price for a Ford Thunderbird in 1993 was $15,797 – making the Besasie five times the price of the Thunderbird. Also available at the time was the 1990-1995 Corvette ZR-1, which sold for an original MSRP of $66,278 in 1993. I would argue that for someone with that much to spend on a car in the early 1990s, the Corvette ZR-1 would have definitely been the better investment.

The car’s front fenders blend into the bodywork, but not as running boards. This means stepping over the body work to get in and out of the awkwardly-sized doors. Another quirk of the Besasie is the odd placement of the fuel filler door, which seems like a real afterthought. It makes you realize that there’s not a flat section of bodywork anywhere other than the hood. I can just imagine the conversation at the factory. “Well, we’ve got to put a fuel door somewhere!” “This will do, I guess.” Problem solved.

The chrome strips on the trunk are purely for decoration, not a functional luggage rack. Even if they were, the strange “shark fin” shaped third brake light renders the luggage rack useless. I don’t know what sort of Deco-era roadster would have sported a shark fin feature, or what they were going for with that.

While it has a few design flaws, the Besasie Roadster is probably one of the more sensible neoclassic cars you could own. The 5.0L V8 Ford engine is reliable, easy to maintain, and is well supported with aftermarket performance parts. The car listing has been marked as SOLD for $26,000 on the dealer’s website at the time of writing. This concludes another branch of the tree of neo-classic automobiles.