When it comes to Elvis, it's hard to choose "just one" of anything, to be my favorite. For example, "Suspicious Minds" is my favorite song; "How Great Thou Art" is my favorite gospel song, and that's about it. I cannot choose a favorite movie, jumpsuit, picture, etc. etc. etc.
But I Can tell you, I do have one more "favorite" and that's his car. I can easily choose the Stutz Blackhawk as my all-time favorite Elvis car.
I'd like to share with you, some information and pictures, on Elvis' 1971 and 1973 Stutz Blackhawks.
Elvis loved cars. He bought them and quite often gave them away, just for fun.
Elvis became famous because of his love for Cadillacs, but Elvis didn't only have Cadillac's he owned during the years, he also owned Ferraris, Jeeps, Chevrolets, Fords and The Famous Stutz Blackhawks.
Nobody can say The Stutz Blackhawk was Elvis' favorite car, but he loved it, that's for sure. Elvis bought 5 of them between 1971 and 1974 and gave 2 away as a special present.
The salesman that sold Elvis most of his Stutz was Jules Meyers. He is known because of the several pictures taken of him with Elvis.
Elvis bought the first Stutz Blackhawk that ever came out after the prototype in 1971. In the first place Frank Sinatra ordered it but Elvis had a little word with the salesman and he turned him over the car. The car was badly damaged when a delivery driver got into a bad car accident with the car in July 1971 just before washing it. Elvis partially restored the car but never used it again. The car ended up behind Graceland.
The most famous Elvis Stutz is the 230 HP, 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III. Elvis bought the car in September 1974 for $20.000,-. This Stutz was very unique because it had a red leather interior with 18-karat gold-plated trim throughout. This car is also known as the last car Elvis ever drove when he came home from the dentist during the night of August 15 1977.
How Elvis Came To Acquire The Stutz
Elvis had ordered a Duesenberg, but the production never had started, so he bought the Stutz Blackhawk. The very first one!
I don't know how much truth these stories hold, but I'd like to share them anyway:
This one is a bit misconstrued:
Elvis and Frank Sinatra were guests in a TV-show, where the Stutz was presented.
Both wanted to buy that car, so the decision was made, that the first, who can pay cash will get the car. Elvis won, and Frank Sinatra never bought a Stutz, it seems that he was not used to loosing.
A similar story is issued by Graceland, written on a collector card.
And now for the "Sonny West version": He told a completely different story: Jules Meyers, the first Stutz-dealer, showed up at Elvis' home at Hillcrest with the Blackhawk. Elvis was interested, and Mr. Meyers told him that he can sign a contract, and that the Stutz-Company will build him his Blackhawk during the following months.
Presley wasn't interested in signing a contract, he was interested in buying the car, the car standing next to him.
Jules Meyers tried to explain that this car was the very first Stutz, and that he needed the car to show to potential buyers, to drive around, showing the beauty of the car.
Elvis answered with a question:
"How do you think you will sell more cars; when you drive it, or when the people see ME driving it around???" Well, Jules saw the point...
All that he was able to do was to ask for a ride home...
The TV-Show-story was good, but this story is better, and it sounds more like the way Elvis would handle these things.
A Bit Of Trivia On The Stutz
The first Blackhawk that was sold, showed some differences to the later models of 1971, it was the second prototype, the first one was owned by the founder of Stutz.
The most significant detail of the prototype was the big rear-window. Jules Meyers, who sold all the Stutzes to Elvis, made an offer. He offered $1,000.00 for the wreck. I don't know if he made a joke, I don't think so, he is a businessman, and it would have been the most interesting deal in his life, if Elvis would have accepted...
The 1973 Stutz Blackhawk
After the death of Elvis, the car still was located at Graceland.
Since a few years ago, the Stutzes are inside, unfortunately, I don't have the VINs,
and it is very difficult to take good photos...
From Armand Ruocco I heard an interesting story: This car was originally sold to Roger Jacobowski, but shortly before Stutz delivered the car, Elvis entered the show-room... So Mr. Jacobowski had to order a new car, a 1974 Blackhawk.
Have a look at some pictures of the white Stutz and several of the 1971 black Stutz and the 1973 black Stutz - both are on display at Graceland.