In 1964 Elvis Presley was teamed up with Ann Margret to make one of his better films Viva Las Vegas, a story about a race car driver trials and tribulations as he attempts to compete in the Las Vegas Grand Prix in a blue Mk 6 Elva.
In the process Lucky Jackson, played by Elvis, falls head over heals for the hotel swimming instructor Rusty Martin played by “marvlous” Ann Margret and promptly loses his money set aside to pay for a new engine and spends the rest of the film working as a waiter to pay his way and preparing for a talent contest which handily has a prize big enough to pay for a new motor.
It has recently been rediscovered that two different Elva Mk 6’s were used in the Viva Las Vegas film, the first seen on the trailer pulling into Las Vegas and in the workshop is a rare Maserati powered example, which has an extra pair of nose air intakes required by the Maserati motor. The Maserati powered car was a non runner at the time of filming thanks to a ceased bearing in the motor. The second car is a Coventry Climax powered example and can be most easily distinguished by the pair of faux centre air inlets in the nose seen in this linked photograph.
The lack of four air inlets in the nose points to the possibility that the car photographed by Jay Wollenberger at Danville Concours d’Elegance last year “might” be the Climax powered car that Elvis is seen racing in the film. However it would take a lot more evidence to confirm the possibility before I would part with any cash to either bet on it or purchase the vehicle on the basis that it is the Climax powered Elvis car.
I won’t give the plot away but I’m sure you can work it out Elvis + Hot Girl + Talent Contest + Las Vegas Grand Prix = ?, here is a link to the official trailer to help you with your maths.
Wishing Elvis a Happy 78th Birthday tomorrow.
My thanks to Jay Wollenweber for his smashing photographs, to harmonizer, RA Historian, David Birchall, Jerry Entin, Peter Morley, and ovfi at The Nostalgia Forum for illuminating the story of the two Elvis Elva’s.
Thanks for joining me on this “Viva Las Vegas” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !