• Elvis Presley had an impressive car collection, including Lincolns, Cadillacs, Limousines, a BMW 507, a De Tomaso Pantera, a Ferrari Dino 308 GT4, a Mercedes-Benz 600, a Rolls Royce Phantom V, and more
• His cars were often painted to his preference and some were adorned with Elvis' initials and music-related ornaments
• Many of the cars are still around today, either in Elvis' estate Graceland, at auctions, or in museums
• Elvis' cars were often bought as gifts for himself and his loved ones, and he even traded some for fashionable items
• The King was a motorhead until the end, and his car collection served as a representation of his life and career
There’s no doubt of Elvis’ status as one of the most legendary and unforgettable artists of all time. Whether people remember him for his talent, scandals, or eccentric antics, the legacy of the King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll is unerasable, and a source of debate even these days.
That being said, there’s no foreseeable end to the fascination and curiosity the world feels for Elvis, and that’s why so many important parts of his lifestyle and personal life cause huge interest these days. The number of cars owned by the King was one of those things which never failed to amaze everyone, not only for what they represented back in the day, but also for giving us an insight into what Elvis’ life really was like.
So how many cars did Elvis own and where are they now? Which ones were the rarest and most impressive models in his collection, and how much did they cost? Stay here to know all about Elvis’ impressive car collection.
Cars were Elvis Presley’s second best-known passion, one that started very early in his life when he put himself behind the wheel of his first automobile: a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr gifted to him by his father Vernon on his 18th birthday, reportedly bought for $50.
Although this was an economic car through and through, it’s certain that the King enjoyed it quite a lot, as a couple of years later he bought a 1941 Lincoln, the first car he purchased with his own money.
Unfortunately, there’s no information on the whereabouts of either car, but they were definitely a good starting point for a man who spent most of his life as a motorhead.
The Pink Cadillacs
The story of the two pink Cadillacs owned by Elvis is an interesting one – the first was a pink and white 1954 Cadillac he bought in 1955, which he used for transportation in the early stage of his career when he performed with The Blue Moon Boys.
Elvis owned this first pink Cadillac for only a couple of months, until it caught fire on a trip from Arkansas to Texas. It was burned-out, but was iconic for being ‘the most beautiful car’ in Elvis’ words: ‘It was second hand but I parked it outside my hotel the day I got it and stayed up all night just looking at it’, he reportedly said.
Elvis bought a second Cadillac, but this time a black and blue Fleetwood Series 60 which was repainted entirely pink by a neighbor known as Art. The car was crashed by Elvis’ bandmate Scotty Moore in late 1955, was fixed in 1956, having its entire upholstery replaced, and the roof painted white. At some point, Elvis gifted the pink Cadillac to his mother Gladys, but who reportedly never drove it.
The iconic pink Cadillac has been repeatedly referenced in pop culture by movies, songs and musicals; nowadays, it’s exhibited at Presley’s estate Graceland, located in Tennessee.
Elvis Presley standing beside his 1955 pink Cadillac in 1956!
Given his early fascination with Cadillacs, it’s only expected that he continued purchasing these in a variety of models, including limousines. In 1956 he bought a 1954 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine in blue, though it wasn’t long until he had it painted yellow.
However, the prime of this Limousine was quite short-lived, given how in 1957 the car was used to haul animals to his then-recently bought family estate Graceland. Apparently, the car was thoroughly cleaned afterward, but never returned to its initial graceful state, leaving Elvis no option but to buy a 1955 Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine, which was initially blue but repainted black at Elvis’ request, and which accompanied him during his tours.
In 1960, Elvis bought his third Cadillac Limousine, a brand-new one for $100,000 which was definitely a sight to behold due to its opulence. Customized by Barris Kustom Industries’ owner George Barris, the limousine had several then-luxury gadgets such as a record player and a telephone, on top of being decorated by a gold-plated front grill and paint details on diamond dust.
— Elvis Presley (@ElvisPresley) September 9, 2020
This limousine was ultimately sold to the now-defunct Radio Corporation of America, and served as a tourism attraction, becoming known as ‘Elvis Presley’s Gold Car’.
Another iconic Cadillac in Elvis’ collection during the 1950s was the 1956 Eldorado Biarritz, bought by Elvis in 1956 for $10,000 in Houston, after recording his hit song “Heartbreak Hotel”. It was repainted from its original white to purple at Elvis’ request, who reportedly squashed grapes on its surface, and told the Memphis-based customizer Jimmy Sanders to paint it that color. The car was ultimately adorned with Elvis’ initials and music-related ornaments, but was ultimately traced by the King in late 1957. This important piece of Elvis’ life during his 20s is now exhibited in the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum in Graceland.
Although Elvis was notably loyal to American cars, he also had a couple of European-made models in his collection. Surprisingly perhaps, one of these was the German 1956 Messerschmitt KR200, which was acquired by Elvis that same year, though it’s unclear how.
While Elvis was photographed a couple of times with the three-wheeled bubble car, he ended up trading it after only a year to Bernard Lansky, owner of the then celebrity-favored shop Bernard Brothers in Tennessee, and which had dressed Elvis from the beginning of his career. In exchange for the car, Elvis obtained many fashionable items, while Lansky kept the car until his death in 2012.
One of the most important moments in Elvis’ life as a motorhead was becoming the first person in the US to own a Stutz Blackhawk Coupe, purchased by him in October 1970. The first Blackhawk prototype was built from the chassis of a Pontiac Grand Prix, before being sent to Italy to finally become the car which was sold to Elvis during a car event, though other potential buyers such as Frank Sinatra were also interested in it.
Unfortunately, Elvis’ first Blackhawk was severely damaged in an accident in 1971, and was stored for some time before the Stutz Company itself restored it, though some pieces were irreparable at that point. Elvis later purchased the production model 1971 Stutz Blackhawk, which was followed by a 1972 pearl white model he personally requested from Italy, after seeing it displayed in a showroom. The fourth one came not long after – the 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III – which was known for its external gold details and red leather interior. The latter is widely remembered for being the car in which Elvis was famously photographed on the night of 16 August 1977, just hours before his death.
Although it’s said that Elvis bought a fifth Blackhawk Coupe at some point, details of this are unknown.
Being drafted into the US Army as a regular soldier in early 1958 changed Elvis’ life in many ways. It was during that two-year period that he suffered personal losses, and developed an addiction to painkillers and barbiturates, but it was also the time which helped him in improving his public image in the US, and allowed him to experience life overseas.
One of the positives about being stationed in Germany was getting his hands on several European cars, such as a luxurious white 1957 BMW 507. The story of how Elvis got this car is quite unique, as his lack of understanding of the German language led Elvis to lease the car, instead of purchasing it as he had intended, which he didn’t know until later.
Although he had to return the used car upon his return to the US, Elvis made good use of the $3,750 he paid for it and not only drove everywhere he wanted, but also painted it red after growing tired of the lipstick marks his fans often left on it. By the end of his time in the Army, Elvis officially bought the car and sent it to the US, where he later traded it for a Chrysler. The dealer sold it for $4,500 and then it passed from owner to owner for several decades until 2016, when it was bought back by BMW and restored to its original glory.
Lincoln Continental Mark V Limousine
Another one of Elvis’ four-wheeled acquisitions during his time in Germany was the 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark 5, requested by him as early as 1959. The one with serial number 32 was sold by Ford to Elvis, who paid $10,200 for it, and had it customized by the Hess & Eisenhardt Company.
The limousine was famously used by Elvis for formal meetings and was equipped with an eight-cylinder engine, yet it was kept by the King for a relatively short period of time, as in 1965 he gave it away to his close friend and employee Alan Fortas.
After saying goodbye to his Continental Mark V, and 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood limousines in the mid-1960s, Elvis was gifted a 1967 Lincoln Executive Limousine by his manager Thomas Andrew Parker, better known as Colonel Tom Parker.
De Tomaso Pantera
While Elvis preferred common and sometimes luxurious cars, that doesn’t mean he didn’t like an uncommon-looking auto from time to time. The yellow Italian-made mid-engine 1971 De Tomaso Pantera was purchased by Elvis in 1974 as a gift to his girlfriend at the time Linda Thompson.
Reportedly, the Pantera cost Elvis $2,400, but the then-considerable expense was nothing compared to the story this car entailed. According to the website Jalopnik, an argument ensued between the couple and led Elvis getting behind the wheel to blow off steam, only to find out that the Pantera wouldn’t start. Annoyed at the inconvenience, Elvis shot it from outside and famously left a physical mark on it which is recounted to this day.
Despite the supposed issues the yellow Pantera had, it was later bought at an auction by Petersen Automotive Museum’s founder Robert E. Petersen, who was thrilled to get his hands on it, bullet marks included: ‘Elvis’ tantrums are well known, and to have a vehicle associated with one of them makes our collection that much more special’, he reportedly said, as reported by Jalopnik.
Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
Despite his disappointment with the De Tomaso Pantera, Elvis wasn’t over with sports cars yet. In 1976, he bought a 1975 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 for $20,583, an expensive but comprehensive price for one of Ferrari’s first eight cylinder-engined cars.
Unfortunately, there’s no information about the story of this car in Elvis’ life, except for the popular story that he drove it only once, at high speed from Los Angeles to his home in Memphis. Nowadays, the Dino 308 is exhibited at the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum.
Going back to the route of luxury cars, we have the 1969 Mercedes-Benz, 600 bought by Elvis in 1970. He apparently owned two units of the four-door version of this car, one for his home in Tennessee, and one for Los Angeles, the latter in which he was famously photographed while sticking his torso out of it through the sliding roof as his chauffeur drove on the streets of Beverly Hills.
This beautifully designed car was also a great work of engineering, and truly represented the standard of what a luxury car looked like at the time. However, in 1977, one of these cars was gifted by Elvis to his friend and musician Jimmy Velvet, who later exhibited it at the Elvis Presley Museum before he sold it in 2002. Two decades later, and after several renovations, the car was sold for $288,888 along with a bust of the King, some vinyl records, and its original letter of sale.
Rolls Royce Phantom V
The Rolls Royce Phantom V Elvis owned is surely one of the most iconic and emblematic in his career. Purchased in 1961 as a celebration of signing his movie contract with producer Hal Wallis, this luxury car was famously pecked by the family’s chickens several times at his home in Tennessee.
Though the latter situation led to several paint jobs done to the car, the King also requested the British body maker company, James Young Limited to add some extra adjustments and gadgets to it, such as a telephone, writing notebooks, mirrors, and even a mini-bar. The car was in Elvis’ power until he gave it away in 1965 for a charity auction. Ultimately, in 2014 it was sold for $396,000 but was apparently re-valued at $900,000 in 2017, according to the website Dirty Old Cars.
All in all, Elvis had a long and fascinating history with cars. Whether he gave them away to his friends and family or simply kept them, it’s undeniable that the King was a motorhead through and through, until the end.