GRACELAND, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

David Taylor, CM's production editor, looks at a car collection fit for a King.

 

Most people visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee, to ogle the bling (although the decor is considerably less vulgar than most English country manors), admire the collection of gold and platinum records (the sheer number of hit songs beggars belief) and visit the King's grave in the memorial garden adjoining the estate.

CM had another motive for visiting: the cars.

The sheer number of vehicles driven by Presley during his life and career means that many are housed in different collections around the world – his Lincoln Mark IV can be found in the Tupelo Automobile Museum and the gold-plated Cadillac he took on tour is at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. However, just across the road from the main gates leading into the Graceland is a museum that houses most of his personal favourites, from golf carts and motorbikes to dune buggies and Rolls-Royces.

A number of cars stand out. There's the obligatory pink Cadillac (below, top photo) and a Ferrari Dino in jet black (below, middle). Most impressive is the 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III (below, bottom), which he drove until his death in 1977 – in fact, in the last photograph ever taken of Presley he was behind the wheel of the Blackhawk.

The Blackhawk was arguably the King's preferred mode of transport. He bought the first one ever produced in 1970, a prototype that he handed over to legendary customiser George Barris to add various personal touches. He went on to buy further upgraded Blackhawks in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

Graceland, 3765 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee 38116
Tel 001 901 332 3322. www.graceland.com