Classic cars fit for a king go under the hammer

Collectable cars once owned by a king in waiting and the king of rock will roar pass the blocks in two European auctions

1994 Bentley Turbo RL, supplied new to the Prince of Wales in 1993, estimate £12,000-£14,000
1994 Bentley Turbo RL, supplied new to the Prince of Wales in 1993, estimate £12,000-£14,000

If classic cars with celebrity provenance are your thing, a couple of auctions taking place in the UK and Austria this month should be on your radar.

The interior of the Bentley is finished in regal Brewster Green with contrasting “mushroom” upholstery
The interior of the Bentley is finished in regal Brewster Green with contrasting “mushroom” upholstery

The first will be staged on Wednesday October 17 by automotive specialist H&H at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and includes a 1994 Bentley Turbo RL supplied new to the Prince of Wales in 1993. Finished in regal Brewster Green with contrasting “mushroom” upholstery, it is estimated to fetch £12,000 to £14,000 and is being sold with the factory order sheet specifying the fitting of a discreetly placed blue lamp, lowered rear-seat cushions, custom reading lamps, “easily removable” headrests and a fixed sunroof. Since being retired from the royal household’s fleet, the long-wheelbase, 6.75-litre car has passed through the hands of two further owners, but comes with an extensive maintenance record and all its original handbooks.

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The auction also includes a 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II that once belonged to Swindon’s answer to Marilyn Monroe – the late actress, singer and siren Diana Dors. Painted in suitably dazzling white with a rich red leather interior, the Silver Cloud recalls a long-standing relationship between Dors and Rolls-Royce, which first leased her a car in 1952 when she was just 20 years of age but already courting publicity. 

Cadillac owned by Elvis Presley, estimate €100,000-€200,000
Cadillac owned by Elvis Presley, estimate €100,000-€200,000

With just 60,200 miles on the clock, the “Royce” is tipped to realise £30,000 to £35,000. Other vehicles on offer range from a remarkable unrestored Austin pick-up (£14,000-£18,000) from 1935 that began life on Scotland’s Isle of Arran to a 2012 Ferrari California that has covered a mere 656 miles from new and is being offered with a low estimate of £85,000 – nearly half its original price.

Lancia Flaminia Super Sport 3C, estimate €340,000-€420,000
Lancia Flaminia Super Sport 3C, estimate €340,000-€420,000

At Dorotheum in Salzburg on Saturday October 20, meanwhile, another car with its own type of “royal” provenance comes up for grabs, this time in the form of one of Elvis Presley’s many old Cadillacs. Said to have been a favourite vehicle of the King from 1972 until his death five years later, he originally gave it to his manager Colonel Tom Parker – but the star used it so frequently that Parker handed it back.

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Originally sold as a regular sedan, it was converted into a station wagon by coach-building firm the American Sunroof Company and customised with 24ct gold interior trimmings, gold-plated wheel spokes and an eight-track tape player – then the height of in-car entertainment. Having initially been used by Elvis to commute from his Beverly Hills home to concerts at the Las Vegas Hilton, the Cadillac was moved to Graceland, Memphis, where it continued to be driven as a service car until 1999, before being sold off for $34,500. After selling again twice more, it crossed the Atlantic and ended up in Austria – where it is now expected to fetch €100,000 to €200,000.

Other notable cars on offer at the Dorotheum sale include a 1965 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport 3C (€340,000-€420,000) and a 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C (€260,000-€340,000).

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