Elvis Presley had a life-long love affair with motor cars. Beginning in the ’50s with Cadillac’s, including the Pink Cadillac that he eventually gave to his mother – probably the most famous car in the world – to a second hand Volkswagen and two BMW 507s in Germany. In the ’60s there were more Cadillac’s, Ford Lincoln’s and a Rolls Royce among many others. In the ’70s, again Elvis purchased Cadillac’s, a Mercedes-Benz 600, even a Ford T-Bird – but his most prized cars of the 1970s were his Stutz Blackhawk’s. Elvis was the first person to own a Stutz Blackhawk, and there can be no doubt his favorite car of the 1970s was his 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III.
Billy Smith: I remember when Elvis got his driver’s license. My daddy was working for Precision Tool. He was making fairly good money, and he had just bought a ’51 Chevrolet, with a sun visor and all. Elvis wanted to borrow it to take his driver’s test, and my daddy let him have it.
When he went to take his test, we all went. Elvis was sitting in the front with Daddy and Vernon. Very seldom did he ever say anything dirty in front of them. But a guy pulled out in front of daddy, and Elvis yelled, ‘Watch where you’re going, you son of a bitch!’ We were all shocked, you know. The car got real quiet. That year, Elvis won the Safe Driving Award at school.
Joe Esposito: Elvis had a lot of cars. The first thing that attracted him was the looks of the car. He didn’t care if it was a $5,000 car or a $50,000 car or what brand it was, although he was very partial to American-made cars. He really liked Cadillac’s and Lincolns, also some Chryslers. We bought a few foreign cars like the Rolls Royce because it was very prestigious and looked great, a Mercedes limousine and a Ferrari, but mostly his cars were American-made. He was very patriotic when it came to that.
If Elvis saw a car he liked in the window, he’d stop and buy it. That was basically it. If the dealership was closed and we knew the owner, we’d call and wake him up. We’d say, ‘Listen, Elvis wants to buy this car’. Naturally the guy would meet us there, because if he didn’t, Elvis would say, ‘Well, we’ll find someplace else’.
In early March, 1955 Elvis bought his first Pink Cadillac.
It was a pink and white 1954 Cadillac and provided transportation for Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys for about three months. The car went up in smoke when a brake lining caught fire, on the road between Hope and Texarkana, Ark. on June 5, 1955. ‘The first car I bought was the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen. 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…’ Elvis Presley