From December 12 2014 until 31 August 2015, there will be a chance to see some of the many iconic possessions once owned by the king of rock ’n’ roll, Elvis Presley. The exhibition, consisting of more than 300 items, is being held at the O2 in southeast London and will include some of the vehicles he once owned.
In fact, the exhibition is the largest ever to take place in Europe, but it’s not just outlandish jumpsuits on display; Elvis loved his cars and the O2 will provide a tantalizing hint at what can be found at the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum in the grounds of Graceland.
The museum in Memphis houses a mind-boggling array of transportation, including his famous Pink Cadillac, the bright red convertible MG from the movie Blue Hawaii – which was the only car used in his films that Elvis actually owned – as well as a dune buggy and various motorcycles.
The Pink Cadillac Fleetwood (which he eventually gave to his mother) and the 1960 MG convertible are two of the vehicles that are now residing temporarily at the O2 until August, as well as a 1976 Electra-Glide Harley Davidson and his 1956 Lincoln Continental.
The Continental became a favourite of Presley’s, but was only bought while on tour in Miami to replace a car that ended up covered in goodwill messages from fans after they had discovered where he was staying overnight. The Lincoln is a rare car itself, as only 3000 were ever made. The cost back then was a pretty hefty $10000.
The Pink Cadillac is simply iconic; in many ways it sums up all the hopes and desires of the American Dream of the 1950s in one big ball of bright pink nostalgia. Although the car itself started out blue before Elvis had it custom sprayed pink and used it on tour before handing it over to his mother.
Angie Marchese, the Director of Archives at Graceland, has described the Cadillac as “the most important car we have in our collection”, so to have it over here in the UK for so long is a real treat.
For Elvis, cars and motorcycles gave him some much-needed freedom from the pressures of fame. He would often happily chauffeur his friends around and preferred to be hands-on and drive himself to his destinations rather than just sit in the back.
Though cars were much more than just a means of getting away from it all for Presley – according to Marchese, they were the physical embodiment that he had made it. Stories of Elvis giving away cars to close friends and relatives abound too. It’s clear that Elvis Presley was a very generous man.
You can find out more about the exhibition by visiting elvisattheo2.com. Tickets range from £9 for children over 5, up to £20 for adults.
Images: telegraph.co.uk mirror.co.uk dailymail.co.uk ibtimes.co.uk
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