The 20-year-old Elvis Presley was already into cars even though he hadn’t yet become the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. One indication was his replacement of the lyric “You may get religion, but don’t you be nobody’s fool” with “You may drive a pink Cadillac” in 1954’s “Baby, Let’s Play House” as a shout-out to the custom-painted Caddy he rolled from gig to gig in at the time.
Presley subsequently skyrocketed to unprecedented worldwide fame, of course, but never lost his taste for fine planes, cars and especially motorcycles right up to the end of his life on August 16, 1977 – 42 years ago tomorrow.
In the opening of 1964’s “Roustabout,” Elvis rode a Honda 305 Superhawk while singing “Shiftin’ from town to town/no job can hold me down/I’m just a knockaround guy” just before he and his motorcycle were run off the road by an angry Dad.
Now, a plethora of Presley vehicles are coming up on the auction block, most notably the last motorcycle he owned and rode, a 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide with only 126 miles on the odometer, by Kruse GWS Auctions, who are holding an “Artifacts of Hollywood” sale August 31.
The listing states the motorcycle was bought in August 1976 and was customized with a two-tone paint job, stitched leather seat, and chrome accents.
It’s still titled and registered in Presley’s name, even though he sold it 90 days before he died.
Any auction of a celebrity vehicle makes the news, but if Presley’s bike bids go over $929,000 – and some say it might fetch anywhere from $1,750,000 to $2,000,000 – it’ll make it the most expensive motorcycle in history. $929,000 is what was paid for an ultra-rare and exclusive Vincent Black Lightning at a Bonham’s auction last year.
Elvis’ Electra Glide had been on display at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, for over 30 years.
A 1973 Lincoln Continental limousine and a 1967 GMC pickup, both owned and driven by Elvis, are on the GWS block, too.
Motorcycles driven by A-listers have all been fetching record prices in recent years. Jerry Lee “Great Balls Of Fire” Lewis sold his 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH Panhead Duo-Glide for $385,000 at a Mecum auction in 2015.
Marlon Brando’s 1970 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide went for $256,000 at a Julien’s Hollywood Legends auction, Buddy Holly’s Ariel Cyclone 650 brought in $450,000 at a Guernsey’s Auction, and Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna 250 sold for $230,000.
Even Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli’s Triumph Trophy 500 from “Happy Days” raked in $179,200 to become the most valuable Triumph ever sold – even though the actor couldn’t ride a motorcycle, then or now. When you see him riding in “Happy Days,” the motorcycle is being towed.
But Elvis rides on top of all the above stars, coming in only behind the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, as the second highest-paid dead celebrity in the world, according to a Forbes.com article published last year.
And any of these machines are too much for your budget, there is an Opthamaloscope used by Presley’s nurse on sale starting at $200 – and there are currently no bids.