Presley's Cadillac returns to vendor

Click to follow
The Independent Online
WITH ANY other car, scratches on the back seat might lower the value. But for the sleek black Cadillac offered at Phillips' pop memorabilia auction in London yesterday, scratches were expected to push up the price.

Elvis Presley made his mark on this back seat. Or, to be precise, his rhinestone-studded suit did. But the auction audience was unmoved. The Cadillac, a 1971 Sedan De Ville worth a mere pounds 10,000 without an Elvis connection, did not make the expected pounds 40,000.

When the car was shown at the Elvis Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, women particularly wanted to be shown the scratches. Ted Owen of Phillips said: 'I've no insight into what Elvis did on the back seat. I can only imagine.'

The king of rock'n'roll gave the car to his post-Priscilla girlfriend, Linda Thompson, after he had used it as his runaround. Phillips expressed disappointment, particularly as it had pre-sale interest from four collectors of stars' cars.

Although there are about 15 Elvis cars on the market, they are generally the earlier flashier ones, which fetch higher prices. Mr Owen said: 'This was his private runaround . . . he could go out and buy sweets or pick up suits from the cleaner's in it.' Proof of this story came with the Cadillac - a note from Elvis's tailor, who verifies that she saw him getting out of the car and that no one recognised him - in spite of the personalised number plate, ELVIS I.

Anyone who bought the car could also have looked the part, as Phillips also offered one of Elvis's flamboyant stage suits from his 1972 Las Vegas shows. The cream jumpsuit, with studs, rings and a zip front, sold for pounds 13,200, just above estimate. It went to Jimmy Velvet, owner of the Elvis Museum in Memphis, bidding on the telephone.

Whereas most auction-goers are usually discreet about their interests, those at pop sales advertise theirs on their T-shirts. One man had Ringo Starr emblazoned on his shirt, another had Elvis on his. Some at the auction preferred a show of support through their hairstyle. However few were actually bidding. Half the items were unsold.