The 1950s Elvis's Cadillacs
Click on the thumbnails to view in full size.
Elvis bought the 1955 Fleetwood Limousine in the background of this picture just before going on a tour in it in March 1956. This picture was taken (probably) in May of 1956 at the house on Audubon Drive. They had obviously either just returned from a tour or were leaving on tour that day, since the instruments were stowed on the roof rack. Originally light blue, he had it painted black in mid to late summer of 1956. See a picture of Elvis standing at the rear door of the 1955 Cadillac touring limo, probably around the same time as the thumbnail picture (note the canvass slap-bass protective cover is laying on the rack, empty. The band was probably taking a break out by the car to get some air in the middle of a gig.)
On an interesting side note, when Elvis purchased this car, used, in Jan 1956, he had to have the loan for $5,000 co-signed by his father, Vernon Presley. He may have died quite wealthy and famous, but he had to start out with a
co-signer, just like the rest of us!!!
In the spring of 1957, Elvis moved to Graceland, and this vehicle was used to stock the grounds. One time it was used to haul fowl - chickens, ducks, guineas, peacocks and a turkey back to Graceland. The car had so much shit in it that even after he sent it to the Cadillac dealer to be cleaned and fumigated, it was never the same. Elvis told his Daddy it was time to buy a new car. That's when he bought a 1957 black Cadillac Limousine.
Later, this Cadillac was on display at the Elvis Presley Museum during the 1990s. Kruse International had it listed as lot No. 3329 for sale at Auburn Fall '99 auction, September 1-7. This vehicle however was not actually at the auction. It was then permanently exhibited at an Elvis Museum in Las Vegas called Elvis-A-Rama that was there from 1999 to 2006.
RM Auctions sold this vehicle at Monterey on August 18 2007. Expecting to fetch $100,000 - $150,000 it realised $275,000! RM Auctions stated:
"Elvis Presley himself purchased chassis no. 557547481. The Cadillac was originally painted in a light blue, but Elvis quickly had it repainted a more appropriate black. Elvis used it to tour throughout the south with his original band members, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana. Reportedly, Elvis and his band would strap their instruments to the roof of the car and drive through the night to make it to the next town where they were going to perform.
There is absolutely no question as to the documentation of the sale of the Cadillac Fleetwood to the illustrious Elvis Presley. There are several photos of Elvis with the vehicle, one outside his home in the summer of 1956, as well as another outside the CBS Studios in Los Angeles moments before his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Also included are the original conditional sales contract and the original 1955 Cadillac Owner’s Manual stating, “Elvis Presley 1034 Audobon Ave. Memphis, Tenn.;” which, it should be noted, is handwritten on the inside back cover".
Update: Bonham's auction in California 12th November 2011: "Currently owned by a prominent Texas collector, this piece of Memphis-by-way-of-Detroit history comes with the original conditional sales contract from Southern Motors of Memphis that was co-signed by Elvis' father, Vernon Presley. Also included is the original owner's manual
with Elvis' signature on the back cover, plus one spare tire, lug wrench, and jack. The only thing that seems to be missing is a set of blue suede shoes."
Pre-sale estimates had the Fleetwood selling somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000, however the new owner paid US$172,000 for the car, including the Buyer's Premium."