MAY 14, 2014
Elvis’ favorite car and the last automobile he drove in public has returned home to Graceland. After being preserved and showcased during the Charlotte Motor Speedway AutoFair, officials helped return the 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III to its home at the Elvis Presley Car Museum. Fans can now see this car, along with over 20 other automobiles owned by Elvis, by planning your trip to Graceland!
Because the ’73 Blackhawk enjoyed special status among Elvis fans, as well as being so beloved by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself, officials from Elvis Presley Enterprises decided to have the car undergo a special preservation process. The estate entrusted Pontiac collector and restorer Walt Hollifield to return the car to the condition it was in when Elvis last drove the Stutz on August 16, 1977.
On March 25, NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports helped unveil the recently preserved Stutz. The king's car was also the centerpiece display in the Nationwide Insurance Classic Car Showcase Pavilion at this year's Charlotte Motor Speedway AutoFair.
HISTORY OF ELVIS' 1973 STUTZ BLACKHAWK III
In 1970, the first Blackhawk under the Stutz Motor Car of America banner (a black 1971 model) was air-freighted to the United States to be shown to potential rich clients. Elvis saw it and paid $26,500 for it in October of the same year. Elvis so loved his first Blackhawk, one that he paid $26,500 in 1970, that he purchased three more by 1974 – another black ’71, a white ’72, and the black ’73.
Elvis purchased the ’73 Blackhawk III on September 6, 1974, through a General Motors lease agreement after putting down a $20,000 deposit. It had Pontiac’s 230-horsepower V-8, a red leather interior, and an 18-karat gold trim package. The singer made it known that only he would be driving this one, perhaps a caution he developed after the first ’71 was severely damaged in an accident. According to Elvis lore, the King often invited members of his entourage to ride with him in other cars, but in the Blackhawk III he was just as likely to be by himself. Over the next three years, Elvis put 8,450 miles on the ’73.
Shortly after midnight on August 16, 1977, he drove it through the gates of Graceland. As was typical any time Elvis wasn’t touring or in Las Vegas, the Graceland gates were thick with loyal fans, and one managed to photograph him as he enjoyed one final drive with his favorite Stutz.
source: Elvis Presley's Graceland