Tuesday, November 23, 2010
R.I.P. Spectrum - Beloved stadium and old friend, 1967-2010
It may be difficult for many people in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/Delaware Valley area to truly and fully connect with what the Spectrum has meant to the area over the last 43 years. When it opened in the Fall of 1967, it was a 17,000-seat, state-of-the-art marvel. It was palace and it was a fortress. It was not only the new home of the NHL expansion team, the Philadelphia Flyers; the Spectrum hosted concerts, NBA basketball for the 76ers, the circus, Icecapades, professional boxing and wrestling and more. It saw six Stanley Cup Finals, including the Flyers hoisting their first Cup, as well as four NBA finals. It saw greats like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and repeated visits from local favorites Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.
"When I was just 10 yrs. old I went to the Elvis concert in May of 1977 at the Philadelphia Spectrum with a friend also 10 at the time. Acting our age, we snuck very close to the stage and when Elvis was speaking to the audiance we yelled out together, and we made Elvis laugh. I remember a business called King features syndicate actually passed out flyers outside on the steps of the Spectrum that then enabled one to buy that concert on tape for like $25...but back then I didn't have the money." said Will.
Two weeks ago, the Spectrum opened their doors and charged $25 a head for the general public to do a good old fashioned loot-and-pillage, letting fans and collectors literally keep whatever they could haul out on their shoulders. She’s now dispersed far and wide across hundreds of square miles in every direction, living on in garages, living rooms, bedrooms, mantowns. You can almost see her smile in the face of the wrecking ball. You can almost hear her say, “Go for it. Gimme your best shot. You can’t kill me.” And she’s right. Concrete is easy to break down and take away. Memories…not so much.
Broadway and pop veteran Darlene Love will appear with the Broadway cast of Million Dollar Quartet for a special encore Dec. 9 at the Nederlander Theatre.
Love, who has appeared on Broadway in Hairspray, Leader of the Pack, Carrie and Grease, is well known for her hits "He's a Rebel," "Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry" and "Christmas Baby Please Come Home."
Love will join the cast on stage for a post-performance encore. Recently, Million Dollar Quartet has welcomed Ray Benson, Lesley Gore, Jerry Lee Lewis and Melissa Etheridge for special encore events.
Million Dollar Quartet leads Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Tony Award winner Levi Kreis and Rob Lyons, who all appeared in the Chicago cast, re-create their work for Broadway audiences. Kreis portrays Lewis, Clendening plays Elvis Presley, Guest is Johnny Cash, and Lyons is Carl Perkins.
Registration no. 10001212001469
Chassis no. 10098012001547
Estimate: £150,000 - 200,000
Footnote:'In an age when flaunting your wealth wasn't a crime, the 600 was the automotive equivalent of Monaco. It's a masterpiece of engineering, a quantum leap over its opposition, and redefines the word opulence.' - Classic & Sportscar magazine.
By the commencement of the 1960s, Mercedes-Benz's ever-expanding model range was lacking in only one department: a super prestige saloon to rival the Grosser Mercedes of the past. This gap was filled in September 1963 with the appearance at the Frankfurt International Motor Show of the all-new 600. Representing state-of-the-art automotive engineering in just about every department, the supremely well-equipped newcomer featured an overhead-camshaft, fuel-injected, 6.3-litre V8 engine - Mercedes' first - air suspension with variable ride control, four-speed automatic transmission, all-round disc brakes, power-assisted steering, central locking and separate air conditioning systems for front and rear compartments. Its cosseted occupants enjoyed the advantages conferred by multi-way adjustable seating powered by a sophisticated system of hydraulics that also operated the windows and assisted in opening/closing the doors and boot lid.
The most popular version was the 3,200mm (10' 6") wheelbase saloon that could seat up to six passengers, while the long-wheelbase Pullman limousine - a veritable leviathan exceeding 20' in length and beloved of Heads of State, not to mention a succession of Popes - could accommodate up to eight. Despite its not inconsiderable weight, the 600 was endowed with highly respectable performance, reaching 60mph in a little under 10 seconds and exceeding 125mph flat out.
One of 2,190 saloon limousines built on the shorter wheelbase between 1963 and 1981, this example of Mercedes-Benz's luxury flagship was delivered new in the USA and is understood to be one of two obtained by Elvis Presley within a few months of each other: one being kept in California and the other in Memphis, Tennessee. The bill of sale for this particular car shows that it was delivered new to Mercedes-Benz dealer Robertson Motors in Memphis, Tennessee while the accompanying automobile registration card records it as registered to Elvis Aaron Presley, 1174 Hillcrest Road (later 144 Monovale Drive), Beverley Hills, California on the registration plate '650 CNT', which is in the history file.
At the time he took delivery of the Mercedes-Benz, Elvis was in the process of rebuilding his career, for some years in the doldrums, a process that had commenced with his 'Comeback Special' television show of December 1968. NBC's highest-rated show of the season, it was an outstanding success and the singer followed it up with the critically acclaimed album, 'From Elvis in Memphis', released in the summer of 1969. Keen to resume live performing, he commenced a series of engagements at the newly opened International Hotel in Las Vegas that same year, which continued until his tragic death in August 1977.
Following Elvis' death, the 600 went back to Robertson Motors, who requested a letter from Mercedes-Benz of North America confirming the previous ownership. Contained within the history file, this document states: 'Your Grand Mercedes 600 was originally leased by Elvis Presley from his dealer Robertson Motors, Memphis, Tennessee.' The police tracking device and radio were removed, the receipt for this work being on file.
Also contained within the file is a workshop manual; spare parts books; original owners manual; maintenance booklet, unstamped and in original condition; an original advertising brochure for the 600 SWB; two registration plates: '650 CNT' and '1 ELVIS'; and other documentation concerning the car. The photograph of Elvis getting into the car, reproduced here in the catalogue, is in the file also.
The current vendor bought the Mercedes-Benz from Robertson Motors and imported it into the UK in 2005, since when it has been looked after by Bob Empson, of Cambridge. After purchase the car received a bare metal re-spray by Peterborough Painters, the bumpers being re-chromed and the wheels repainted at around the same time. The interior has been well looked after and remains original. In addition to the aforementioned documentation the car comes with USA and UK maintenance bills, two expired MoT certificates, Swansea V5C registration document and MoT to August 2011.
Cars once owned by Elvis Presley are rarely offered for sale on the open market and thus this imposing Mercedes-Benz 600 represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an iconic automobile associated with one of the 20th Century's most popular recording artists.
Auction takes place December 6, 2010 @ Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands. 10 AM.