Classic Cadillac restoration and parts specialist Frank Nicodemus is seeking the help of nostalgia buffs and history detectives in a nationwide hunt to locate a 1956 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz that Elvis Presley once bought as a gift for an admirer. The automobile was identical to Elvis’ own original car presently located at the Graceland museum in Memphis.
Nicodemus, a passionate Elvis fan whose work has appeared in television and films, was recently featured in a NY Times article for his expert restorations of classic Cadillac’s.
“Elvis was known to be extremely generous to his fans, and gave away many Cadillac’s during his career. The identical car to his cherished 1956 El Dorado Biarritz is likely now part of someone’s collection of celebrity owned cars, or perhaps a celebrity who collects cars, but may simply be being kept and cherished by someone in the family of the original recipient of Elvis’s generosity,” Nicodemus said.
Sometime in the early 1990’s Nicodemus supplied numerous car parts to Gladys Presley, Elvis’ mother for her 1955 Cadillac Sedan deVille, which was being restored in Memphis for the Graceland estate.
“A family representative told me that an identical car to Elvis’ 1956 El Dorado Biarritz was given to a fan while he was peering through the showroom glass at the Madison Cadillac dealership in Memphis. Elvis called the gentlemen into the dealership and bought him the car on the spot,” said Nicodemus.
Nicodemus isn’t alone in his quest for the iconic set of wheels. Harley Earl was the head of design at General Motors at its founding and is credited with many of the company’s legendary designs including the Corvette and the 1956 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz that Nicodemus hopes to locate. His grandson Auto Historian Richard Earl would also love to see the car again.
“The King of Rock n Roll was deeply touched by all the masterful Cadillac designs rolling out of the Styling Section of GM during the mid-50s when Harley Earl’s ‘Art of Making Cars’ was in full throttle. The dreams Elvis had (of course, his came true) were similar to the ones millions of Americans were having, too: I want to buy lots of glittering Cadillac’s!”
Mr. Nicodemus has built a reputation over four decades as a perfectionist, which has earned the business of serious collectors, television and film prop professionals, but some of his most gratifying work comes from restoring a complete wreck to showroom condition.
“The younger generation is beginning to appreciate the classic automobile,” said Mr. Nicodemus. “I make it affordable for people to acquire the car of their dreams in virtually any condition, leave it with me and return to find a show-quality vehicle.” Nicodemus says,
“Investing in your classic car always brings a positive return. Whether it’s a full or partial restoration, priming and painting, chrome work or interior restoration, classic cars increase in value based on their condition, and of course so does the pride in driving your favorite car.”
Cadillac’s from the 1950’s through the mid 1960’s are still his favorite, “The beauty of the sculptured stainless steel panels, bumper-to-bumper craftsmanship, details of the interior, the powerful engine indicative of the times and the super-smooth ride, there’s simply still few that compare on the road today,” he said.
As for the search for Elvis’s Cadillac, Nicodemus remains hopeful: “There must be paperwork leading to the owner of this car, or a relative who can assist with information and tips in validating a claim. I want to find the car, regardless of its condition, purchase it, and restore it to its original showroom condition. We don’t hear much about Elvis sightings anymore, but we’re hoping our message leads to some Elvis’ Caddy sightings,” he said.
If anyone has any information leading to the discovery of this infamous vehicle or your classic Cadillac requires parts or restoration, please contact Frank Nicodemus at 203-695-8787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.