Priscilla Presley’s Benz: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC

How much would you pay for a supposed celebrity car? That’s the question to ask yourself about this 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC that supposedly belonged to Priscilla Presley. Elvis apparently bought the car for her in January before his passing later that year in August. This is a fairly unremarkable car that wouldn’t be worth more than a few grand as presently presented, hailing from peak malaise years for the Mercedes brand and many others. But with a supposedly documented celebrity connection like this, the seller is asking $100,000 here on craigslist in Scottsdale, AZ.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rex M. for the find. Personally, I’ve never been swayed by a connection to a film star or major athlete, or even a famous musician’s wife. The strange thing is there’s a near-identical 1974 450SLC in gold that sold in October of 2019 that was also reputed to be the late singer’s wife’s car, and it rang the bell at $125,000. Did she own two? It’s certainly possible, given the sometimes sometimes irrational tendencies of celebrities with too much money, but the odds seem somewhat extreme that Priscila would own two examples of a mediocre car. Then again, 1974 to 1977 is more than enough time for a couple of means to decide that a newer replacement model was needed.

Mileage isn’t listed in the ad itself, but the odometer shot shows over 173,000. That’s actually shockingly high mileage for a few reasons. One, the celebrity set doesn’t use cars too much. Most of the time, they buy what’s new and exciting, and then turn it loose with under 10,000 on the clock. Then, given Elvis’ fame, it seems strange that subsequent owners, especially when the car was still new, would treat it like any other used car. Then again, if the selling dealer didn’t care or didn’t know who the previous owner was, it’s entirely possible the 450SLC went into the used car inventory with zero background info like every other trade-in.

The vanity license plate is cheesy, but I also feel like it’s completely necessary. What’s also surprising about this car is it doesn’t show up on any Google Image searches for Mercedes-Benz 450SLCs and the famous Elvis Presley name, while almost every other Presley-affiliated vehicle does. Regardless, the seller claims he has the necessary documentation to support the price tag, including an original letter signed by Priscilla and also documentation from the Elvis Presley corporation along with original owners manual signed by Priscilla. Would you spend $100,000 for this celebrity connection?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I’m afraid someone is dreaming. I agree Jeff it’s a 3K car. Celebrity ownership of this car makes it a fun story to tell and I don’t prefer white in the C107 but I do like the Ikon gold.

    Like 9
    • CCFisher

      I suggest that those of you who believe this is a $3000 car should visit AutoTrader.com or craigslist and see what $3000 buys. You’ll find clapped-out Corollas and Civics, and maybe Granma’s 1978 Volare sedan, but I would be very surprised if you turned up anything of this caliber (come to think of it, you’ll probably find some Dodge Calibers, as well – if any are left). If you do, buy it!

      Like 11
      • alphasud Member

        Bought mine last year for much less than 3K and here is a 79 SL for 3K. https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/d/seattle-merceds/7291944108.html
        The 76 and 77 models were not as desirable due to thermal reactors and K-Jet fuel injection. So these are typically cheap unless owned by famous people or really low mileage examples.

      • WayneS

        @Alphasud – The one you listed was just an SL as you said. But Seattle, WA? Body rust and floor rust I wouldn’t go near it for $1000. Made a mistake buying a ’64 Olds Wagon from outside Seattle. The frame was so rusted I had to find an Arizona car to replace the frame. By the time I got done I was into it for over $15K in just body work and paint, not counting the engine/trans and interior. One came on the market about a year after I finished off that one and It was easier to refurb that one than any thing I’ve picked up in a northern state.

      • CCFisher

        I wouldn’t call that SL of the same caliber as the featured SLC. Believe me, I don’t think the SLC is particularly valuable. Six figures is delusional. Five figures is questionable. But $3000? How many clean, drivable collector cars show up on this site at that price point?

        Like 5
  2. Rant Winters

    Not even my Elvis mad grandmother would buy that story. Let alone that car. As the kids today say, seems us.

    Like 2
  3. Francisco

    I’m having a hard time trying to decide if I should buy this. I might hold out for Jon Voigtht’s LeBaron?

    Like 21
  4. Johnny Gibson

    tbh even if the car belonged to Bae Su-ji and she come included in the deal i’d still be knocking 45k a piece off due to those hideous bumpers. I’m curious if you are allowed to fit the european originals or you are left suffering in silence with those cow catchers?

    Like 5
  5. Fred W

    Not sure why you would call it “mediocre” as Mercedes were well built in this time period, especially compared to the 90’s (I owned a ’93 300 that consistently stalled at the most dangerous times). Yes the bumpers were atrocious, but you could remove them and/or replace with European ones along with headlights. The big V-8 is for cruising so the diminished power isn’t a big deal. This one will end up in a celebrity car museum, (assuming it is legit) but will change hands at a much lower figure than advertised.

    Like 11
    • CCFisher

      Right? These were from the “bank vault” era of Mercedes-Benz. Performance may have been tepid, but that wasn’t what these cars were about. They were about solid engineering, precision build quality, and comfortable touring. Besides, if you wanted a personal coupe from a premium brand, there was this, the BMW 633, and Jaguar XJ Coupe. Anything else in this space required an escort car with a “wide load” banner.

      Like 4
  6. bobk

    Previous celebrity ownership, if it can be proven, worth an additional 0.99 to me.

    Like 14
  7. Arby

    Ya know, I’ve been to Scottsdale and that’s no Scottsdale.
    The trailer in the background and the trash on the floor adds to the “panache” – right??

    Like 5
  8. Sam61

    The slc is the one model, IMHO, that doesn’t make sense. Why buy a fixed roof roadster when MB had other coupes that looked better? The convertible/removeable hard top roadster looks better and has a higher fun quotient. Just picture yourself cruising top down with Stephanie Powers back in the day!

    Like 5
    • alphasud Member

      The C107 made it a 4 seater by adding 6” to the wheelbase. I bought one because while I like convertibles I don’t like the flex in the body structure. I plan this summer to transfer the 560sl drivetrain I purchased into my 76 SLC. I also like the fact these are more rare than the SL. They even cost more than the R107 when new go figure? While the R107/C107 will never be a true sports car the build and material quality was still at its best. Mercedes build quality started to suffer after the W140 chassis was developed. I just got done working on my friends 04 A8 and while that car handles and drives really nice I couldn’t wait to get back into my 87 560SEL

      Like 1
    • Solosolo UK Member

      When I was a classic car dealer back in the early Noughties I sold every 450 sl that i could get my hands on, however, the slc would sit forever as they were classed as “tanks” by most buyers.

  9. Mike

    Arent People NUTS.. these days….

    Like 7
  10. Spridget

    I never understand these celebrity cars and their Hollywood prices. I get that a historically important car owned by a famous person- one of JFK’s Continentals, a “Smokey and Bandit” Trans Am owned by Burt Reynolds, or Steve McQueen’s “Bullitt” Mustang are all significant and valuable celebrity cars. But more often than not, these cars are owned by some B-lister and were not of any real relevance. Priscilla Presley isn’t exactly a relevant historical figure, and this car played no role in her public perception, history, or fame. So what you end up with have is a $3,000 car briefly touched by someone who anyone born after 1980 will only have a passing knowledge of. Hard pass.

    Like 8
  11. normadesmond

    No.

    Like 3
  12. Brian Bray

    I’ve owned 5 450SLs including 2 “small” bumper cars. The build quality of all the 107’s is excellent; then the build quality started to deteriorate with the subsequent SL’s (I owned a ’91 SL also). Change to the smaller bumpers if that’s your preference; but if you are going to be driving at night, keep in mind that the European headlights don’t put out as much light as the American version. The padding in the seats of the 107s was horsehair which deteriorates to nothing and needs to be replaced after a few years. Fortunately, it’s available.The AC dash control in the early 107s was manual; the later automatic dash control units usually failed and usually have to be replaced. The soft top is manual in the 450SL and hydraulic automatic with multiple cylinders, seals, etc. The hydraulics usually have be renewed with new seals, etc. after several years. Both are “adult” sportscars; that is, they are refined and comfortable, ride well and exude quality. Avoid Rusty cars as these are unibody and don’t have frames. Rusty cars always end up to be parts cars. Pay up and Buy a quality example; it’s cheaper in the long run. Unless you have very deep pockets and a masochist mentality, avoid dealers for service for older MB; instead, find an independent shop who really knows the old MBs. t

    Like 8
  13. Nessy

    Jeff Lavery, did you actually call this top of the line Mercedes Benz a “Mediocre” car? The SLC was on the very top of this list of the cars to own or even be seen in during this era. This was an extremely expensive car when it was new. Cost more than a average sized house in a decent neighborhood.
    This would be the same as calling a new AMG V12 Mercedes Benz of today a “Mediocre” car. Some of you writers should do a little more homework before you speak. I agree it’s not worth a lot today no matter who owned it but to call it Mediocre is absurd and shows you are uniformed. Sorry dude.

    Like 5
    • Steveo

      Cost =/= Value.

      Like 2
  14. Nessy

    Jeff Lavery, did you actually call this top of the line Mercedes Benz a “Mediocre” car? The SLC was on the very top of this list of the cars to own or even be seen in during this era. This was an extremely expensive car when it was new. Cost more than a average sized house in a decent neighborhood.
    This would be the same as calling a new AMG V12 Mercedes Benz of today a “Mediocre” car. Some of you writers should do a little more homework before you speak. I agree it’s not worth a lot today no matter who owned it but to call it Mediocre is absurd and shows you are uninformed Sorry dude.

    Like 7
  15. WayneS

    Like the car not the price. Illinois Plate which is NOT anywhere near Scottsdale,AZ for which the map says it is. A whole lot fishy with this one. I’ve bought several of these over the years and brought them back from oblivion and yes sold them for a profit but EVEN in pristine condition I’ve never seen one go for more than $25K. So $100K Forget it.

    Like 4
  16. Ron

    I’m more interested in the Corvette.

    Like 5
  17. Rodney - GSM

    Sorry, I don’t believe for a second that Priscilla drive this 173 K miles.
    What comes to mind is, “Suspicious Minds”, “A little Less Conversation” and finally, “Return to Sender”.

    Like 5
    • Steveo

      I don’t think anyone is saying she was the last owner. She could have been the first of several and the folks in between her and now could have racked up the mileage easily. Some guy buys the car, does a detail and finds something with her name on it under a seat or somewhere, does his research and traces the car back to her, and follows up to get the documentation in order because he knows “…a near-identical 1974 450SLC in gold that sold in October of 2019 that was also reputed to be the late singer’s wife’s car, and it rang the bell at $125,000…” makes it a good gamble.

  18. Superdessucke

    Ah. Okay. I thought she was still driving it! But she was the original owner. I mean, I knew she fell on some hard times but this would have been pretty embarrassing!

  19. Richard Sikes Member

    Some known facts: In 1977, this was one of the most prestigious and highest quality luxury automobiles on the market. Only the very rich drove these off the show room and the quality, when new, was solid and impressive, the performance decent. This was German technology at its best for late the 1970’s. These drove much heavier and were more stable and smoother than the SL. They have a surprisingly large back seat. These were for bankers and doctors and the country club set. Next, this seems to be in above average condition; if it were a 1977 BMW 630i, or a 1977 Porsche 928 in this condition and color combo, most of us who know these cars, from then, and now, would probably agree that they are typically exchanged in the in the $10,000-$20,000 range, not $3,000, like a 2004 Hyundai would sell for. To give this kind of money though and if you desired this type of German heavy sled, you would want a thorough inspection by a mechanic named Hans before parting with your cash. What we don’t know is the Elvis provenance, but if verifiable, that could easily add another $20,000 to $40,000 to the value.

    Like 1
  20. Brian Bray

    Just because a car was sold as a premium car when new doesn’t mean that will always be regarded as a premium car. Collectors sometimes have tastes that change over the years. Color choices change, etc. Tri-5 Chevrolets were just “Chevys” for many years; who would’ve thought they they would be highly regarded to today’s collectors? Everyone was certain that when Cadillac resurrected the convertible in the mid-70’s that they would become instant collectibles; wrong! You never know what will be regarded as a “collectible”!

    Like 2
  21. normrey

    How much for the driver’s seat ??

    • Brian Bray

      Normrey,

      Its been many years since I owned the SLs so I don’t have the current price. But the padding was a duplicate to the original horsehair padding so you can easily install the seat covering over the padding restoring the original feel of the seat. The source was Bud’s Benz somewhere near Atlanta, GA.

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