Elvis’s Last Harley: 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

When it comes to celebrities, there was probably none larger in stature than Elvis Aaron Presley.  Born into bone-crushing poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis went on to become one of the most famous individuals in American history.  That fame cost him his freedom.  Elvis had little opportunity to be a regular human, but there was one way he could escape stardom: as a motorcycle rider.  If you want a chance to bid on Elvis’s last freedom machine, then have a look at this 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH to be auctioned at Mecum’s Indy Spring Classic.  Would you like to take this motorcycle for a ride to see if that Elvis magic is still there?

When you look at influential figures in American history, Elvis Presley is definitely in the top tier.  The only folks who have never heard an Elvis song either haven’t been born yet or are part of a lost tribe somewhere.  The boy from Tupelo owns a whole lot of real estate in everyone’s brain.  Yet, when you see how desperately poor his family was it is hard to see how he ever escaped his situation.  Elvis’s father was not much of a provider, and the family had to often beg for assistance from neighbors or benefit from what then was called welfare.  Only his love for music set Elvis apart from other impoverished children at that place and time.

Yet it was that love of music and an incredible singing voice that propelled him to a level of stardom that few have ever reached.  While his great wealth and flame were a blessing in many ways, Elvis’s notoriety robbed him of any chance to be a regular person.  Everywhere he went he was mobbed by fans.  Hangers-on took advantage of his friendship.  While most of us would develop negative personalities if we were in the same blue suede shoes, Elvis’s inner goodness only grew.

If you take the tour of Graceland, his legendary home is filled with reminders of his generosity and kindness.  The Jungle Room was where he entertained his many friends.  A number of them were in law enforcement, and the greatest Elvis generosity story started in that coolest of man caves.  Toward the end of the tour, you are presented with a display of canceled checks that Elvis wrote to charities and ordinary people in distress, or at least people who had a hard luck story.  Elvis’s generosity was legendary in Memphis at the time.  He was known as a “soft touch.”

Elvis’s kindness also had wheels, both two and four.  The singer would gift vehicles to friends and family, often without provocation.  These vehicles became instant collectibles and garages across the country are home to many Elvis Cadillacs with his name still on the title and just a few miles on the odometer.  Elvis also had a love of Harley-Davidsons.  Many pictures are floating around the internet of Elvis on fully equipped Harleys of various vintages.

Why was he such a fan of Harley-Davidsons?  The obvious answer is that he was no different than any other motorcycle aficionado.  The wind in the hair freedom that a motorcycle makes possible is a feeling that cannot be replicated elsewhere.  For Elvis, however, that freedom meant something else.  Jumping on a motorcycle and roaring away was an escape from being Elvis the celebrity.  A helmet, a pair of dark sunglasses, and a leather jacket provided the perfect disguise.  Others wore disguises to be someone else.  Elvis was just trying to be himself.

The 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH you see here is reported to be Elvis’s last motorcycle before his untimely death.  One of 750 produced, this Bicentennial model was decked out with an absolutely beautiful custom paint scheme.  Elvis kept the motorcycle at his palatial mansion in Palm Springs, California.  The King’s time in the movies left him with a lasting love of California.  At the mansion, he kept a stable of vehicles for his personal use during the average three months out of the year he spent there.  This nearly new Harley was patiently waiting for The King to return when word traveled through the airwaves of his untimely passing.  The title is still in his name and lists the Palm Springs address.  Curiously, the title office misspelled his middle name.  It also displays his distinctive signature.

In the frenzy that followed Elvis’s death, this Harley was sold to a hotel owner in Wildwood, New Jersey.  From there it went to the Pioneer Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, and was displayed from 1983 to 2019.  Its next public appearance will be at the Mecum Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis, Indiana.  During this May 12-20 extravaganza bidders and interested onlookers will be able to see not only Elvis’s last freedom machine but be able to get a good look at just how a 1976 Harley looked as it would have sat on the showroom floor.

Like all vintage vehicles, this motorcycle is a window back to a certain place and time.  Yet this motorcycle is a bit different.  It is a glimpse into the life of a treasured celebrity and how he found a unique way to be a normal person like the rest of us.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Stan

    Ride on King… Beautiful Harley here. 🇺🇸
    🎶 🎵 🎸 👑

    https://youtu.be/wFWGQnEtB_M

    Like 0
  2. The Kings Steed is a Harley Davidson

    Wow this is “A hunka hunka of burning love” here.

    Its a shame he didn’t just ride this more in his free time and stay in shape and clean.

    I still like his songs and love for bikes and cars.
    A very generous man.

    I bet this will go very high.

    Good luck with sale…

    Like 15
    • Jon

      My wife and I were on vacation in S. Dakota in 2003 and stopped in Murdo and saw this Harley. While so many vehicles and farm equipment at this place were in open sheds and unrestored, this was inside a glass case or enclosure with all of the paperwork.
      Very interesting place and a little quaint.

      Like 1
      • SDJames

        I saw it there in 1989 when I was 12 on a family vacation, still have a picture somewhere. They have a lot of cool stuff including an original General Lee.

        Like 0
    • Terrry

      In California you can’t ride a motorcycle wearing an all-white jumpsuit. It’s unsafe.

      Like 0
  3. Stan

    Gorgeous Harley. 👑 🎶🎵🎸🎤 🕺

    https://youtu.be/wFWGQnEtB_M

    Like 0
  4. HoA Howard AMember

    Well, that was a very accurate account of Elvis’ life, if the site was called “Elvis Finds”, not much more needs to be said from the last FLH post. The AMF , FLH was the nicest bike, Elvis didn’t have crummy things.
    “Part of a lost tribe”,,,great stuff, and true. You couldn’t possibly have lived in the 50s-70s, without knowing who he was. Personally, I thought he was great, possibly the greatest musician ever. Not so much for his musical prowess, but that guy knew what America, mostly women, wanted. Caused quite a shakeup, not unlike modern music( if you can call it that) to me today.
    As time grinds on, while his music will live on, I don’t know how much longer his personal belongings will hold valuable. His loyal fans are, well, dying too. To future folks, that’s just a ’76 FLH with an Elvis plate. Love the bike, the history does nothing for me.

    Like 9
    • JoeR

      His middle name was spelled Aron I believe. He’d say they were so poor that they couldn’t afford 2 A’s.

      Like 3
      • HoA Howard AMember

        I thought that too, Joe. I think this is some guy whose parents loved Elvis so much, they named their kid after him. I can’t find any pictures of him actually riding this bike, and probably too wasted to even try. He died in 1977.

        Like 0
  5. Big C

    The bike and Elvis were out of date by the time ’76 rolled around.

    Like 4
  6. RexFoxMember

    If Elvis wanted to escape from his fans on this bike, why did he have a license plate with his name on it? I would like to have this bike, but not because it was owned by the King.

    Like 3
  7. Bob P

    On the east coast, there are hundreds of signs proclaiming “Washington slept here”. In Palm Springs we have just as many homes claiming to be “Elvis’ Bachelor Pad” or the “Sinatra/Gardner Love nest”, including one of each on the block behind my house. In fat, there’s a mobile home park that claims to have the original mobile home Sinatra lived in back in the 60’s. And, surprisingly, THAT one is true. BTW, 845 Chino is still known as “The Elvis Presley Estate”.

    Like 2
    • david r

      Sinatra lived in a mobile home in the sixties? OK

      Like 2
  8. Keith

    I went to Graceland not long ago. They want $80 per person to get in. Apparently they aren’t rich enough…lol

    Like 2
    • HoA Howard AMember

      It was said, when Lisa Marie Presley died, she was spending $90,000/month.

      Like 2

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds