Believe it or not, but Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was a huge car fan. If you followed MJ during the last decade or two of his life, you might know that he never drove himself in public, yet he amassed an enormous and eclectic collection of cars over the years. At the time of his passing, Jackson left behind most of the cars he purchased over the years, not wanting to give them up during his life.
In February 2009, it was announced that the singer was meant to host an auction that year, with over a thousand items of personal memorabilia going on the block, including many of his cars. Though, Jackson went back on it in April in a lawsuit demanding the return of the objects, and the world never got to see how much his single jewelled glove would fetch.
Jackson’s car collection was as unique as he was, many of them being vintage or personalised models. If the pop legend were buying cars today, you can bet they’d be luxury brands, but not without character. At the end of this list, eight modern cars are included (some by classic brands) that will no doubt become classics themselves in future years which Jackson would definitely buy today.
One of Jackson’s longest owned cars was a Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL that he purchased in 1985. He used to drive it back and forth between his house in Encino, California to the studio in Los Angeles, but he gave up driving himself in the 1990s. After that, he kept the car and used it to roam about his new 3,000-acre estate, Neverland Ranch.
Later in life, he gifted it to one of his aunts, but she sold it soon after the star’s death. The car, along with photos of Jackson, sold for $100,000 at auction.
From Jackson’s musical debut at age six with the Jackson 5, he consistently created music for four decades. He released ten studio albums throughout his life, along with countless EPs, remixes, live albums, and more.
The singer toured relentlessly, and no doubt needed a coach bus fit for a king. Enter the Neoplan Tour Bus he purchased in 1997, designed himself and fit for a king. The interior was lined in porcelain, gold, and granite and had a crown embroidered in the carpet, detail which far surpassed the Neoplan coaches sold straight from the factory.
One of Jackson’s true collectibles was a vintage Cadillac Fleetwood from 1954, a style of car that’s a collectible in its own right. Fleetwoods are coveted by car collectors, known for their slick old-fashioned look and signature fins. But Jackson’s model was extra-special (you could expect no less for music royalty).
The Fleetwood he bought was the same car used in the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy. The comedy focuses on the friendship that blooms between a man and a woman, which may have caught Jackson’s eye in the months before he released his single, “Black or White.”
Some of Jackson’s most iconic cars weren’t even cars at all—the first is a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Of course, not just any motorcycle would do for the pop icon. His was a 2001 police model, complete with red, white, and blue flashing lights.
The bike, sold only in the U.S., was set to go to auction as part of the 2009 collection before it was pulled. The singer was not known for riding motorcycles, but they did feature in his 1988 experimental film, Moonwalker, and perhaps earned a place in his heart for it.
If you’re a fan of MJ, you’ll probably know that he was a huge fan of Peter Pan, which is what initially led him to buy Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California. His obsession with the J.M. Barrie story led many to think that perhaps he even had Peter Pan Syndrome, which affects the way one reaches emotional maturity.
Jackson so loved Peter Pan he had a custom golf cart made with himself pictured as the title character in the classic green tunic. Like his Mercedes, he used the cart to ride around his property, from his personal zoo to amusement park.
Another of Jackson’s property vehicles was a 1986 GMC High Sierra, a pickup truck that he had converted into a fire truck. Once a nonchalant grey truck, it was dressed in magic for the singer’s property—it even had “Neverland Fire Department” printed on its side.
While Jackson certainly liked the luxury, vintage brands, that didn’t stop him from buying more unassuming cars and having them decked out with his own personal designs. His fire engine was completely functional, though we don’t know why he thought a fire might break out. Maybe he just wanted it to go along with his police bike.
There's no question that Michael Jackson was royalty in the recording business, and if you had any doubt in your mind, imagine him rolling through Hollywood in his personal horse-drawn carriage.
Okay, his carriage never really left his property, but he still had a custom electric horse-drawn coach that he could be paraded around in if he chose. Complete with CD player and sound system, as well as lights, the sparkling black carriage sported a “Neverland Valley” decal on its sides. It was covered, and had a red leather interior and seats.
So we know that Jackson had an array of personal vehicles that he kept on his property, but he did need a mode of transportation when travelling about off the ranch. For this, his car of choice was a Cadillac Escalade.
Jackson owned a fleet of chauffeur-driven Escalades, which are a large, sturdy type of SUV (of course, the pop star’s all were outfitted with tinted windows). He rode in these when he needed a bit of extra privacy, and they got him in a bit of a pinch when one sideswiped an ambulance as his health issues progressed near the end of his life.
Although he used his massive tour bus on long journeys, the pop star also owned a smaller van. What for is anyone’s guess, but he bought a 1993 Ford Econoline van and completely refinished the interior.
It was like a media van, complete with multiple television screens and a vintage video game console. It didn’t lack in luxury, either, and had leather seats. Who knows if it ever left Jackson’s ranch, since he purchased it around the time when he stopped publicly driving. With all its amped-up features, though, why would you even need to drive it?
Michael Jackson’s car collection may not have held the hottest sports cars or convertibles, but he certainly collected the most unique cars. One was his replica of a 1909 Detamble Model B Roadster. It would have been near impossible to find an original model of the car, but Jackson decided to have his own custom model created instead of searching for one of the earliest cars.
The sleek, green two-seater was meant to fetch $4,000 to $6,000 at the 2009 auction, and had monogrammed initials “MJJ” for Michael Joseph Jackson, which really made it special.
Bentley is a renowned luxury brand, so it’s obvious that Jackson would have at least one. And of course, he had it customised. The 2001 Arnage Red Label had interior wooden panels and folding picnic tables on its seats.
But what makes this car really valuable is that it drove some of the biggest singers to Neverland Ranch to record the song, “What More Can I Give?” At the time, many of them signed the interior of the car, including Beyonce, Tom Petty, Reba McEntire, and Shawn Stockman. It was supposed to go to auction in 2003, but Jackson pulled it from the block at the last minute.
Needless to say, a celebrity as big as MJ is going to have a fleet of limousines of varying sizes. Jackson had a white 1988 Lincoln Town Car, the first of his limos and perhaps the most plain of them all.
The car had a grey leather and fabric interior, and wasn’t as decked out in gold or electronics as his other cars. Still, its white exterior gave it a classy look when compared to the usual black limos, and it served its purpose well when the singer needed to get to high-profile events and award shows.
Jackson actually owned two GMC trucks from the 80s: His fire truck and a 1988 Jimmy Half Ton High Sierra Classic. It was a much plainer vehicle than its name might suggest, so that if you saw it ambling around Los Angeles, you might not think the King of Pop was in it.
Still, it is one of the stranger cars in his collection, as it wasn’t customised like his others were. Jackson simply owned it, and though he bought it before he quit driving, it’s not known whether he ever did actually drive it.
If you picture a limousine, you probably think of a disco ball, red velvet interior, and surround sound system, and Michael Jackson probably had the closest you would get to that in real life. His 1999 Rolls Royce Silver Seraph was as ritzy as you could get, and its renowned among the car world for it.
Jalopnik wrote that the car’s interior looked like it was made from the Palace of Versailles, which is as accurate a description as you can get. The interior was made with extensive amounts of 24-carat gold, that Jackson supposedly suggested himself.
Michael Jackson wasn’t known for having the latest models of luxury supercars, but his fondness for the brands with character are what made his collection so interesting. The new 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera was on Forbes’ list of “The Coolest New Cars of 2019.” It’s certainly got the luxurious body he would look for.
Although Jackson would probably never race, this coupe can reach speeds of 211 mph, a major advancement in automotive engineering. It’s one of the fastest cars around, and would make an excellent addition to MJ’s showroom.
A classic name that anyone could recognise, it’s a surprise that Jackson didn’t have a Corvette in his collection. The new Corvette ZR1 is a car definitely fit for a king, and is often compared with Ferrari. Whether Jackson would have preferred coupe or convertible (or both, why not?), the new Corvette comes in both styles.
It’s got all the latest features under the hood and its interior, so the singer wouldn’t have to bother with customising it himself. At a starting price of $120,000, buying one would be like spending pocket change for Jackson.
Jackson was so fond of his Mercedes that he kept it for a long while after he stopped driving it in public, and we expect that the car was special to him. If he loved Mercedes, then he would definitely be head over heels for the new AMG GT four-door coupe.
The car, outfitted with an engine that can reach 429 or even 630 horsepower, will make even the buffest of car fans geek out, but is also suitable for daily driving. It would be perfect for chauffeuring Jackson back and forth to the studio.
The popularity for German-made Audi cars has soared in recent years, and they have become some of the most desirable cars these days. It would only make sense that Jackson should have one in his garage, and the Audi A8 is a classic model that would be well placed among his other cars.
The A8 has been produced since 1994, and the new fourth generation model takes all the greatest features of the car to the next level. Beginning manufacturing in 2017, the new Audi is the most advanced of them all, and Jackson would be a fan of the wood-panelled and leather interior.
Jackson was an outspoken protector of the environment, and frequently spoke about his affection for the planet as well as his concern for social issues, and of course, he wrote songs about it. “Heal the World” is a song written for both causes, but perhaps “Earth Song” is his most famous musical appeal for the planet.
That’s why today, we’d no doubt see the singer riding around in the new, environmentally-conscious Tesla cars, its most luxurious car being the Model 3. The car is first in its class of luxury electric cars, and it would be a step up from the Toyota Top Gear reported Jackson was seen in.
Another Rolls Royce would fit well with Jackson’s others, and the new Phantom model is the best in the super-luxury category. The Phantom is a smooth, quietly driving car that spares no detail in the way of luxury. If you wanted to boast, this is the car to drive.
Jackson would be a fan of the classic look of the exterior, a slight nod to the vintage cars that he collected. We wouldn’t forget to mention how fast it is, too—its engine can race from 0-100 mph in seconds. Not bad for a boat of a car.
If Jackson’s autographed Bentley were one of the company’s new Mulsanne models, then it could have fetched a lot more at auction. If three limos weren’t enough for the pop star, he might buy a Mulsanne these days.
Autocar compares the Mulsanne with the Phantom, saying the interior of the former resembles the smoking room of an old-fashioned gentleman’s club, and the latter is like a ballroom. Jackson, though famous for his gold-plated limousine, would certainly need both ambiances, depending how he was feeling that day. The car is one that would serve a variety of purposes rather than just the fanciest.
In case Jackson ever tired of his entourage of Cadillac Escalades, it would make sense to have another SUV model somewhere in the garage. Range Rover, a company known for their Land Rover model of SUV, would comfortably carry the singer to his most private destinations.
Though any Range Rover is a great choice for a celebrity, MJ would want the best, and in that case is the new SVAutobiography. The interior has its own little lounge with fold out tables, just like he had in many of his vehicles. Comfort is key in this SUV, and with the amount of time the singer has travelled, he’d need it.
References: Top Gear, motor1.com, Autocar, Forbes, Jalopnik