For all his big hair, his baritone voice, and his love of flashy cars, Elvis Presley had passed away far too early. The Baz Luhrmann biopic of the same name brings Elvis back for the world to rediscover the man, his music and his love for everything Cadillac. So okay, we fiddled with the car. The film doesn’t talk about cars, but it certainly puts the spotlight back on the cars that Elvis liked, and the classic Cadillac market sees a bright spot because of it.
elvis The film stormed the box office, has already raked in $130 million and is still doing well. The biopic surpassed $75 million at the box office in 12 days, and as a result, interest in a particular brand of classic car has skyrocketed.
In the film, Austin Butler attempts the role of Elvis and the film chronicles life, career and eventual downfall, but the highlight of the film for any autophile are the cars. The Cadillac classic market has become very popular, because after the film, suddenly more people want to bask in the glamor of Elvis’ cars, or at least the namesake.
Elvis didn’t just have one Cadillac, he had them all. So when it comes to the newfound appreciation for Cadillacs at the classic car bazaar, is it just one or many that fans are lining up to buy?
How many Cadillacs did Elvis own?
Nobody can say exactly how many cars Elvis had in his 42 years. That was rumoured Elvis had at least 200 Cadillacs and he not only left them scattered on his lawns at his magnificent Neverland estate, but loved to give them away as gifts. From one he got the Cadillac or even other cars and had a few rides in it, Elvis it was time to move on to the next so he would give the car away, sometimes to friends and family and sometimes just to acquaintances.
Elvis gave his mother the second Caddy he ever bought, a pink 1955 Fleetwood Series 60. This car is on permanent display at the Graceland Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and a replica can often be seen at breast cancer awareness events.
Then there was a custom 1960 Solid Gold Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan. This was a custom car for Elvis, with a turntable stereo and TV, a full bar and diamond dust pearl paintwork. If Elvis bought it today it would be a minimum of $500,000 and not as a vintage car but adjusted for inflation. You can see this car at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
The One Car Elvis Shot
Elvis may have loved his Cadillacs, but when it came to the one car he bought to impress his girlfriend, Linda Thompson, Presley couldn’t take it. When he bought the Ford-powered DeTomaso Pantera, he was a hothead with a stellar career and a reputation for photographing things he didn’t like, including his television.
After an argument with Howard, Elvis tried to charge out but the Pantera wouldn’t start so he shot it, a bullet ricocheting off the steering wheel. In 1976 Elvis sold the car and died the next year. By 1981, the Pantera was trading for $300,000 in diamonds before finding its final home in the Petersen Museum.
The Cadillacs are lucky that Elvis didn’t throw a tantrum around them, or should we say they were just the better cars.
The 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille was an Elvis favorite
With the release of the film, Elvis’ music seems to be back in vogue, and a renaissance can be heard everywhere from Spotify to Apple Play to clubs. Along with his music, which echoes gently through the annals of time, his cars are also making a comeback. There is renewed interest in the Cadillac market, particularly the 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, which was one of his favorite models.
Prices are everywhere mainly because of the condition of the cars. You can have models in good condition for around $50,000, but resto mods and concours models sit well in the six-figure category. You can get one cheaper if you’re willing to take a project car, but it gets expensive for Caddies, especially those that are Elvis-era.
But if you want one that The King owned, then think seven-digit numbers. . According to Mecum Auctions, a 1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille station wagon custom built for Elvis by GM was auctioned in 2011 and later resurfaced on eBay for a whopping $1.5 million. The king may have left the building and the planet, but the cars are still here and fans can’t get enough of them.
Sources: CheatSheet, Country Music Hall of Fame, Hemmings, Mecum, GMAuthority