Elvis Presley bought and sold and estimated 200 cars in his lifetime, most of which he enjoyed driving himself. Some, however, were chauffeur-driven show pieces for those times when the king of rock ’n’ roll required a more distinguished ride. One of those, a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman limousine, just sold for $293,888 (£220,812) on Bring a Trailer.
In America, Hagerty lists the average value of a regular 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 in #2 (Excellent) condition as $163,000. Clearly, the King still has the Midas touch, more than four decades after his death. According to the comments, the winning bid was still less than the seller expected, but it struck us that the connection to the King added a premium of nearly £100,000 to the car. It was sold by the Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund.
When the W100 Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine was introduced at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in 1963, it replaced the venerable W186/189 “Adenauer” 300 and was aimed directly at the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. It was the first “Grosser,” or grand Mercedes, since the prewar 770K and was Mercedes’ first V8-powered car. Offered from 1963 until 1981 in two wheelbase lengths, it was both elegant and powerful.
Elvis ordered this SWB 600 new from Mercedes-Benz of Hollywood and took delivery 40 years ago this week, on December 15, 1970. It was titled and registered in Presley’s name at his Graceland property in Memphis, Tennessee, and it was used by Presley through the early 1970s.
One of 2190 short-wheelbase variants built, the limo was finished in silver paint with a black leather interior. Both front doors wear the letters TCB, along with a lightning bolt, signifying Elvis’ slogan, “Taking Care of Business.” The car is powered by a 6.3-litre M100 V8 mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Additional features include zebra-wood accents on the dash, door caps, and window frames; hydraulically powered windows; separate front and rear air-conditioning; a refrigerated console between the front seats; rear privacy curtains; steel 15-inch wheels with two-piece chrome covers; and a pneumatic suspension system.
The seller notes that some areas suggest past paintwork. The centre portion of the cowl below the windshield was repainted following the seller’s acquisition to correct lacquer blemishes, and stone chips in various areas have been touched up. The car wears custom Tennessee ELVIS license plates. The odometer shows 60,500 miles.
Following Elvis’ ownership, he gifted the car to his longtime friend Jimmy Velvet in the mid-1970s. Velvet kept the Mercedes until after Presley’s death and displayed it in his Elvis Presley Museum. He sold it to the CEO of Dollar General, who treated the 600 Pullman to a refresh that included work on the brakes, air suspension, and exhaust systems. The third owner acquired the car in 2002.
Documents and memorabilia are included in the sale, and the most interesting paperwork is the final sales agreement, which indicates an all-in price of $17,399 ($123,371 today), including a finance charge. That’s right, Elvis Presley, who amassed millions of dollars in his lifetime, was on the hook for 36 monthly payments of $344.44 beginning in January 1971. Suddenly we’re feeling all shook up.
Via Hagerty US