The CAR Top 10: cars of the King | CAR Magazine

The CAR Top 10: cars of the King

Published: 26 August 2016

► CAR’s top 10 cars of the King
► 10 of Elvis Presley’s cars 
► Ferraris, Fords, BMWs and more 

1) De Tomaso Pantera

Most famous as the car the King tried to murder, Presley reportedly popped a cap in his Italian-American supercar on several occasions in response to its erratic running. Ford V8-powered Panteras were sold through Lincoln dealers, though Elvis’s car is the only one with a bullet hole in the steering wheel. Probably.

2) Ferrari Dino 308 GT4

Elvis owned just one Ferrari in his 42 years, but it wasn’t a stunning 275GTB like Steve McQueen’s, or a beautiful 250GT California like James Coburn’s. It was Bertone’s ugly duckling 308GT4, rendered even less handsome by the addition of some revolting chrome wires. Well it was the jumpsuit era.

3) Rolls-Royce Phantom V

While Phantom V owner Elvis was playing a race driver in filmic-fromage Spinout, Beatle John Lennon was busy flipping out and painting his own Rolls to look like a gypsy caravan. In 1968 Elvis gifted his more sober Rolls to a charity helping handicapped children – it raised $35k.

4) Mercedes 600

No rock star worth his nose-salts was without a Mercedes 600 in the ’60s and Elvis was no different. The pinnacle of the Daimler range, the 600 featured complicated hydraulically power-assisted everything and a thumping 6.3-litre V8. Presley’s powder-blue 1970 short wheelbase sold for £80,700 in 2010.

5) BMW 507

When it came to sweeping German girls off their feet in the late 1950s Elvis had a couple of advantages over his fellow GIs in Bad Nauheim. Being Elvis obviously didn’t hurt, nor did living off-barracks, but even Gomer Pyle could have got his oats with a sexy BMW 507 at his disposal. 

6) Messerschmitt

Yin and Jahn? Elvis owned the catfish-shaped tandem two-seater at the same time as a full-blown Cadillac, and this wasn’t something he picked up while stationed in Germany with the army. He sold the bubble car in ’57 (or traded it for clothes, bizarrely) but didn’t get the buzz-cut and duffle bag until ’58.

7) Ford T-bird

Though boasting one of the worst size/seats ratio of any car, Ford’s two-seat T-bird Sports Roadster looked spectacularly jet-age cool with its fuselage styling and fibreglass tonneau cover. Elvis ordered one but soon helped Ford discover that the spokes on the Kelsey Hayes wires weren’t up to the job when a wheel disintegrated.

8) Lincoln Zephyr

Although he seemed to favour Caddies when the cash started coming in, Elvis also dabbled with its arch rival, Ford’s upscale sub-brand. In fact Presley’s first car was supposedly a battered ’41 Lincoln which frequently broke down, cause to give any ’50s musician the blues. Lincoln Parked, you might say. 

9) Cadillac Fleetwood

Elvis owned a stack of Cadillacs, from a ’54 that tragically burned to the ground, to a hideous two-tone ’77 that would surely be improved by doing the same. Most famous of the lot was a 1955 Fleetwood, painted pink and gifted to his beloved mother Gladys despite the fact that she couldn’t actually drive. 

10) Stutz Blackhawk

A perfect car for Elvis’s Vegas years, the gloriously kitsch Blackhawk was a Pontiac Grand Prix re-clothed with a handmade Italian body. Elvis was at the wheel of his in the last picture ever taken of him alive as he came home to Graceland before retiring to – and from – his throne.

Read more CAR top tens

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker