Roy Orbison's rare Mercedes limo restored in California

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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Roy Orbison's rare Mercedes limo gets 'perfect' upgrade in California
Sandy Kenyon has more.

LOS ANGELES -- Elvis Presley was called the "King of Rock 'n Roll" for many reasons, but in the case of his fellow musicians, Elvis was a tastemaker.

As the king did, so did other members of rock's royalty. Like Roy Orbison.

When Presley bought a rare Mercedes limousine, the guy who sang "Blue Velvet" had to have one too.

Now the car owned by Orbison has been restored in California.

The owner of the late Roy Orbison's former limousine sent it to the Mercedes Benz Classic Center of LA with a simple instruction: make it perfect.

New paint and chrome, check. Engine work, definitely. But when it came to the interior, that's when special care had to be front-and-center.

"We looked at the leather and said, 'Okay, number one consideration is what is the condition of the leather," said Mike Kunz. "But also, the consideration of the fact that this was the same leather seat that Roy sat in. So, why do you want to change that? You want to leave that alone. That's part of the story."

And that is part of the excitement, says Kunz, who told me celebrity ownership of these vehicles makes preserving them even more rare.

"Cars are storytellers, right?" he said. "They all have had a life, and they continue to have a life. And if you can tie that into a celebrity life, then I think that has an additional appeal. And it certainly adds to the value of the car."

Kunz is a true custodian of history, automotive and musical.