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'Elvis Car' Ford Model A Hot Rod Comes Up For Auction

Published 01 August 2019

'The Elvis Car', Elvis Presley's 1929 Ford Model A Highboy Hot Rod from the movie 'Loving You' Comes up for auction on 31st August.

Ford Model A 1929 Elvis Car Front

Probably the World's most famous hot rod ever built, and the first Model A roadster body on a V8 '32 Deuce frame, it was created by 19 year old John Athan in 1937 with some help from his great friend, engine tuner Ed Iskendrian. The body cost John $7, and the frame $5.50. In true hot rod style the unique windscreen was fashioned later from the rear screen of a 1940 Chrysler coupe. 

Ford Model A 1929 Elvis Car F34

John drove and raced his first of a kind car before the War and after. In a speed event at El Mirage dry lake, the A-V8 was timed at 108.5mph. Then, in 1957, it was cast as Deke River's car in Elvis Presley's first movie, 'Loving You'.  

Ford Model A 1929 Elvis Car Side

Elvis who loved cars almost as much as he loved music, wanted to buy it, but Athan refused. The roadster had too much sentimental value: Athan and his wife had driven it from LA to Las Vegas to get married. 

Ford Model A 1929 Elvis Car Cockpit

Athan continued driving his hot rod until 1978 after which it was stored in a barn for 20 years. Then, in 1996, another friend, Tom Leonardo, persuaded him to unearth the car and restore it to the look it had as The Elvis Car, complete with Kelsy Hayes wire wheels and whitewall tyres.

Since then it has been on display twice at the Smithsonian, and exhibited at the Petersen Automotive Museum and the National Hot Rod Hall of Fame.

Athan, who died in 2016, is the only owner the car has ever had. Athan’s wife will help sell the car on auction day at the live event.

Ford Model A 1929 Elvis Car Rear

The Kruse GWS Artifacts ofHollywood & Music auction will take place on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at The Hard Rock Cafe, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California 90028 beginning at 10:00 a.m. Bidders can bid live on-site, by phone or online. A red carpet arrival will precede the auction. An exclusive media preview is planned for Friday, August 30, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m., where press can get a sneak peek prior to the exhibition opening.

To register for the auction go to

The Kruse GWS auction also features Elvis’s personal white 1973 Lincoln Continental stretch limousine; the last motorcycle he ever purchased, a 1976 Harley Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide; and a Circle G Ranch GMC pickup truck; as well as other, never before seen Presley memorabilia. These along with artifacts from Garth Brooks, Kurt Cobain, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jayne Mansfield, Kate Winslet (the pink coat from the film “Titanic”), and many more will highlight the auction.

Kruse GWS Auctions has also announced a public exhibition of many of the most iconic items to be offered at the auction. In addition to a window display from 2nd to 30th August, the public exhibition is free and and will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, California on Friday, August 30, 2019 beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

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