Today marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Over the years, Elvis was inextricably linked to a few cars, but his automotive interests stretched far and wide. Here’s a look at the vehicles he was associated with after he became famous:
If there was a single brand Elvis will forever be associated with, it was Cadillac. In March of 1955, Elvis purchased his very first Cadillac, a used 1954 model, in pink and white.
This wasn’t quite a year after Elvis recorded “That’s Alright, Mama” at Sam Phillips’ Sun Recording Studio. Just three months later, a brake lining caught fire and burned the car to a crisp between Hope and Texarkana, Arkansas. “The first car I bought was the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen,” he said later. “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. The next day, it caught fire and burned up on the road.”
His second Cadillac was a brand-new 1955 Fleetwood Series 60. The car was originally blue with a black roof, but it was quickly repainted pink and white. He gave the car to his mother, despite the fact that she never had a driver’s license. Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black used the car on tour in 1955 and 1956. That car is currently on display in the car collection at Graceland.
Also on display at the Graceland museum is this 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Elvis purchased the car at a cost of $10,000 and drove to Florida with his girlfriend to retrieve it.
It was originally white, but when he got it back to Memphis, he had the same shop repaint the car in purple.
During his time in the U.S. Army in Germany, Elvis had a white BMW 507. They were incredibly rare even then. This one was leased as a used car, and had originally been driven by legendary BMW factory driver Hans Stuck.
The car was repainted red during Elvis’s ownership, and it eventually made its way to the United States after Elvis’s service time was up. It was purchased in the late 1950s and was fitted with a small-block Chevrolet V-8, and was eventually badly customized.
In 2016, Bimmer magazine covered its complete restoration back to its original color.
He also purchased an Isetta, but not for his own use. He presented it to Col. Tom Parker as a Christmas gift:
Like the Isetta, the Messerschmitt KR200 was another of the odd microcars that Elvis would’ve seen driving on the streets of post-war Germany.
He owned one for at least a year and drove it regularly, until he gave it to Memphis haberdasher Bernard Lansky, who sold Elvis most of his distinctive wardrobe in the early part of his career.
In 1970, Elvis purchased a Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine, complete with a 6.3-liter, 250-hp V-8 good enough to drive the 6,000-pound Benz to 129 miles per hour.
Bonham’s sold the limousine in 2010 for $187,000.
Circle G Ranch Trucks
In February of 1967, Elvis purchased the Circle G Ranch in Horn Lake, Mississippi. In order to keep up with the grounds and the 25 horses that eventually lived there, he purchased the trucks that worked there, and then replaced them with a fleet of work vehicles.
This 1966-era Dodge D200 Sweptline Elvis is driving is the rare four-door configuration. Dodge was early in the crew cab game, with a four-door truck as early as 1961.
Later trucks were Chevrolets, like this 1967.
Elvis also had a 1967 Ford Ranchero in Circle G livery.
In the later part of his life, Elvis owned a number of Stutz Blackhawks. The cars were a revival of the brass era Stutz brand. They featured bodywork designed by former Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner, mounted atop a Pontiac Grand Prix frame and running gear.
Elvis owned a 1971, 1972 and a 1973 model year Blackhawk. Elvis was driving the 1973 Blackhawk III the very last time he was photographed, returning to Graceland early in the morning hours of August 16, 1977. He would be pronounced dead at 3:30 that afternoon.