On August 16, 1977, the world lost an icon when an ambulance arrived at the Graceland estate. Hours later, the world would mourn the loss of the legend himself, Elvis Presley.
On that fateful day, a No. 6 ambulance transported Elvis’ body to Baptist Memorial Hospital ahead of his funeral. He had suffered a heart attack and was unable to survive.
The vehicle that gave Elvis his last ride was dubbed the Elvis Unit. Later, a Memphis police officer rescued it from being scrapped when he bought it at an auction. Now, fans have the chance to see it in real life.
The officer, Terry, was a friend of The King. Before he passed, Elvis was a huge advocate for law enforcement and had received many honorary badges— which you can see at Graceland today.
After their initial meeting, Elvis would often call Terry when he worked the midnight shift. Elvis would ask Terry to pick him up and go one rides with the officer.
Years later, Terry found himself back at Graceland when his friend was laid to rest. Years later, he sought out the Elvis ambulance. After winning it at the auction, he left it parked at his house.
Elvis Presley Enthusiast Discovers One-of-a-Kind Vehicle
Now, after Elvis expert Billy Stallings Spa Guy discovered Terry and his interesting artifact, we know more of its history. Stallings even filmed the exact moment he saw the ambulance on August 16, 2018, coincidentally precisely 41 years to the day it took The King’s body.
“That is the actual ambulance right there. Un-freaking believable!” he says in the video. “Do you know how long I’ve been looking for this thing? Years! And it’s literally right there. I can’t believe it. This is so surreal.”
In the video, Stallings also makes sure to point out a part of the left side of the vehicle that appears to be a musical note from Graceland’s gates when it drove Elvis to the hospital on that tragic day.
In response to the discovery, Stallings couldn’t contain his excitement: “The Holy Grail! I feel like Indiana Jones and I’ve just captured the Temple of Doom!” As for what’s next for the Elvis ambulance, it’s set to be put on display at a new museum near Graceland called “Tigerman Karate Dojo and Museum.”
Billy has worked alongside some of Elvis’ cousins in the Smith family to restore the building where The King and his Memphis Mafia would practice Pasaryu karate, as taught under Kang Rhee.
Later, the Tigerman Karate Dojo and Museum will also offer karate lessons. Inside, it also includes a star on the carpet where Elvis would perform his karate demonstrations.
In addition to the ambulance, the museum part of the building will feature other Elvis memorabilia. Fans will also get the chance to see the oldest Elvis signature not owned by Graceland and childhood toys of Elvis Presley that were passed down to his cousin, Billy Smith.