Before I begin, I want to remind everyone to please vote for Elvis in the ‘King of Music’ poll. He has been neck and neck with Michael Jackson, sometimes falling behind, and we all need to rally and cast our votes. You can vote every 24 hours. Here is the link: (I believe voting ends this Sunday, but I’m not certain)
It appears that many Elvis fans are upset with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for driving Elvis’s ‘73 Stutz Blackhawk III at the Charlotte Motor Speedway last year. (Yes, it’s old news, but I just learned of it, and I’m intrigued) Those who are upset claim it’s disrespectful to remove the car from Graceland, that it’s a piece of history and should be left alone.
The car was the last one that Elvis ever drove. This picture of Elvis in the car is from just after midnight on the last night of Elvis’ life and shows him driving through the gates of Graceland. Very, very sad. 🙁
I am one of the most rabid, diehard, protective Elvis fans you’ll ever find. But I’m not upset at all that he drove the car. I think it’s actually pretty awesome for a few reasons…
- Dale is a TRUE Elvis fan, and he has nothing but respect for the King
- Elvis himself loved cars, loved racing, and I feel certain he would have heartily approved
- The car was driven at Charlotte, where Elvis filmed his 1968 movie, Speedway, with Cale Yarbrough, Richard Petty and other drivers of the era, so to me, it’s only fitting.
Dale was honored to sit in the place where Elvis once sat, especially considering their shared love of cars.
Some quotes from Dale:
After visiting Graceland: “You get the feeling you’re around something great here”
When asked: If you could have anything that was Elvis’ what would it be?
“His attitude,” he said. “[His] mannerisms. How people were drawn to him. His charisma, swagger. He had it all. That’s what I enjoyed about him. When you walk into a room and you changed the room, that’d be kind of cool.”
According to a press release from Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Elvis purchased the ’73 Blackhawk III on Sept. 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.
You know, I found it odd that Elvis would only lease it with a 20,000 down payment. Twenty grand was a lot of money in 1974, but still, with Elvis’ wealth, surely he could have purchased it outright. I wonder why he chose to lease it.
I am not a NASCAR fan, but if I were, Dale would be my favorite driver. This is a car he drove in Richmond in 2007. Who doesn’t love a man who would choose to drive a car like this?
So…what do you think about Dale Earnhardt, Jr. driving the Blackhawk? A disgrace or a tribute?
*** Tune in to Bill Rock’s Saturday Elvis Memories show on Sirius Elvis radio at 6:00 CST. Not only is it a fabulous show where Bill plays some of the best Elvis music ever recorded, but he shared memories from Elvis fans. This Saturday, I’m honored that he will be sharing an email that I sent him, on the air. Be sure to listen!
Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?