(first posted 5/11/2014) I was pedaling down Beale Street last Saturday when I ran across this Eldorado. Naturally, I pulled over and began to take pictures.
As you can see, this one has had its “Broughamness” augmented with the addition of some exquisitely tacky trim (I think this is a conversion called the Eldorado Paris Opera Coupe). Who would do such a thing? After all, Elvis had been enjoying his eternal reward for a year when this generation of Eldo appeared. Note the brick to keep this contraption from rolling out on Beale. Could it be the owner grew up in a rural area?
Perhaps, say, Ferriday, Louisiana? A quick search of Memphis’s local paper, the Commercial Appeal, verifies that this is a “Killer” car, having once belonged to Jerry Lee Lewis.
Jerry Lee was supposed to be next big thing after Elvis, but he proved to be too wild for anyone to handle and self destructed more times than I would care to elaborate here. Still, he is the last of the famous Sun Records artists left alive, releasing albums with titles like Mean Old Man and Last Man Standing. He still performs at the age of seventy-eight (usually making an appearance at the Beale Street Music Festival), and has said he wants to die of a heart attack while playing Great Balls of Fire to a sold out crowd.
So it should come as no surprise that his chariot has a red interior with the loose pillowy leather one would expect from the end of the Great Brougham Epoch. This, after all, is the man who allegedly set a piano on fire while in concert (although he denies having done such a thing).
No opera windows, but The Killer added a set of landau bars, which appear to be Cadillac-approved. Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Out back, there are some faux tie-down straps, but there appear to be no plates, which leads me to the conclusion that is now an advertising piece.
The discerning curbside connoisseur will notice no wreath and crest on the ‘spare tire’.
But the hood ornament is still there, albeit a bit mangled, like the Killer himself.