Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce Phantom V
Spotted in Beverly Hills is Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce Phantom V fo $900,000 USD. The seller states that Elvis gave this car away in a charity auction. It was then purchased at another auction (Bonhams) for use in a documentary. It looks like this car sold in 2014 at Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction fo $396,000 including premium.
What do you think of this car?
6,230cc OHV V8 Engine
2 SU Carburetors
Approximately 200bhp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Automatic Transmission
Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Price $900,000 USD
Odometer 41,000 Miles
*Ordered new by Elvis Presley
*Factory US specification, left hand drive example
*Elegant James Young Coachwork
*Top-of-the-line Rolls-Royce worthy of the King
*Significant piece of pop culture history
THE ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM V
With development of its dependable six-cylinder engine nearing an end and facing competition from more powerful rivals in the United States market, Rolls-Royce turned to V8 power as the 1960s approached. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, Rolls-Royce’s new 6,230cc all-alloy V8 engine powered the Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 sedans as well as the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The new Phantom V long-wheelbase limousine effectively replaced both the royalty/heads of state-only Phantom IV and the Silver Wraith. Measuring almost 20 feet in length, the Phantom V enabled coachbuilders to combine the desirable qualities of spacious interior accommodation with generous boot space and graceful lines.
Rolls-Royce’s in-house coachbuilder H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd produced what was in effect the ‘standard’ seven-passenger limousine coachwork for the Phantom V, while an alternative design was offered by James Young. A lack of suitable chassis would force the latter’s closure before the 1960s ended, but in its latter years the Kent-based firm produced what are widely recognized as its finest creations, the sublimely proportioned Touring Limousine (Design PV22) being one of the most widely acclaimed. Undeniably more graceful than the rival Mulliner, Park Ward version, James Young’s Touring Limousine combined the formality of an internal division with luggage space sufficient for continental touring.
‘THE KING’ – ELVIS PRESLEY
Needing no real introduction, the legendary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. Coming from very humble beginnings he grew up to become one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll and by the mid-1950s had appeared on the radio, television and the silver screen. On August 16, 1977, at age 42, he died of heart failure. Since his death, Presley has remained one of the world’s most popular music icons. Throughout his amazing career, Presley helped popularize rock ‘n’ roll music worldwide. A major musical force, Presley had 18 No. 1 singles as well as countless gold and platinum albums. He was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Ordered for Elvis Presley through American Rolls-Royce retailer Peter Satori via Rolls-Royce Inc. of New York, chassis no. 5LVA55 was delivered to James Young Coachbuilders on January 15th, 1963. Having been built to US specifications as a left hand drive example, the Phantom V was completed at the Rolls-Royce works on March 21st. Extras specified by Presley included a Blaupunkt Koln radio, Firestone white wall tires, parking and flashing lights, electric windows to all doors, a microphone and air conditioning, whilst the center rear armrest contained a writing pad, mirror and clothes brush. A fitted cabinet contained cut glass decanters and crystal glasses.
The car was tested on February 11th, 1963 and was shipped by Adams Brothers on the Loch Loyal to Los Angeles. At the time of delivery, Presley was living at 525 Perugia Way, Los Angeles (Bel Air), where he entertained numerous stars of the day including The Beatles. The Rolls-Royce must have been put to good use during this period. Originally finished in midnight blue with grey cloth interior, legend records a color change was ordered by Elvis as his mother’s chickens would repeatedly peck away at their reflections in the elegant finish while visiting her. A lighter silver blue was chosen, reportedly so as not to show the paint chips!
Elvis was a great believer in supporting charities and championed many, particularly those of mentally handicapped children. On July 4th, 1968 he gifted this car to the SHARE charity, where at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium it was auctioned, raising $35,000. Newspaper articles are on file, including a picture of actress Janet Leigh and Barbara Rush with the Rolls-Royce.
Little is known of the Phantom V’s next 20 years until it was purchased by the vendor at an Elvis Presley Entertainment Auction in London. The car had been restored at some point prior to this, and was at the time described as being in good cosmetic and mechanical condition. Whilst in the vendor’s ownership the car has resided in a private museum and has been used sparingly. Recent mechanical work by well-respected English Rolls-Royce restorers Frank Dale and Stepsons has included a full engine rebuild incorporating a new cylinder block (the original comes with the car), in addition to general servicing.
A most interesting model of this highly desirable motorcar complete with undisputed Elvis provenance, this is unquestionably one of the more significant Phantom V’s to have come up for sale in recent years. It is offered with copy of its original chassis card confirming the original owner as well as his exacting specifications. This important and significant Rolls-Royce Phantom V, with its undisputed place in pop culture history, will surely be jewel in the crown for any Elvis collector.