Elvis Presley Record – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74
Gene Kennedy was only 9 years old when the 1977 Lincoln Mark V was produced, but the one he’s currently repairing isn’t just any old vehicle.
“What makes it really rare is that this is the last known purchased vehicle that Elvis ever made,” Kennedy said.
Gene is the owner of Bandit Movie Cars in Manatee County. His company is best known for the “Smokey and the Bandit” Trans Am once driven by Burt Reynolds.
But their new build is bringing in tons of attention, just in time for the new biopic on Elvis Presley that hit theaters this past weekend. The company is rebuilding The King’s signature white-on-white luxury car.
The biopic, called “Elvis,” stars Austin Butler as The King himself and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, musical entrepreneur and Presley’s long-time manager.
Elvis drove the car throughout Las Vegas during the final years of his life.
Kennedy even has a photo with Elvis, his girlfriend at the time, Ginger Alden, and two of his staff members. Ginger wanted the car to be white-on-white.
“They wanted a certain car and it was very tough to get, especially in that color combination, so they made the trip to L.A. to buy the car, and then they drove it back to Las Vegas,” says Kennedy.
He claims that the automobile is currently undergoing a $100,000 frame-off restoration.
“The car has been extensively gone over, every nut, every bolt, everything has been replaced on the vehicle. In fact, we’re getting ready to put the seats in today,” Kennedy said.
Everything in the vehicle is the same as when Elvis last drove it, even its AM-FM-8 Track tape player in the dashboard. The company made sure to find the exact leather that was originally used to recover the cracked seats.
“A couple of things we didn’t want to do is violate anything in the car that Elvis may have touched, so it has the original steering wheel, original headliner, and original parts inside that he touched,” says Kennedy.
The new film depicts Elvis in a different light and introduces him to a new generation. There is no doubt that fans would like to see the Lincoln in tip-top shape for The King.
The car belongs to a collector and is currently estimated to be worth $250,000.
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Born and raised in South Florida, Krystal is a recent graduate from the University of Miami with professional writing experience at the collegiate and national news outlet levels. She’s a foodie who loves all things travel, the beach, & visiting new places throughout Florida.