For a guy whose title is director of historical resources, John Metz uses the word "cool" a lot.
"It's a very cool car," Metz says, speaking of Elvis Presley's 1971 DeTomaso Pantera. "It's a sports car, it's got a Ford engine and an Italian body. What makes this one especially cool is that Elvis got angry and shot it."
You can see the bullet hole if you go to the Henry Ford Museum.
That's where Metz works and that's where the exhibit he helped put together, Rock Stars' Cars & Guitars, opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 30.
Made up of 20 rides (a few are motorcycles) and 30 guitars, Rock Stars' Cars & Guitars features stuff connected to Elvis, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John, Madonna, the Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, U2, Kiss, Van Halen and others.
Every artifact tells a story, but only the tale of Elvis' car appears to involve gunplay.
According to officials at Graceland, Presley's Memphis home turned museum, the singer used to keep several cars parked in his horseshoe-shaped driveway with the keys in their ignitions.
"He had an aunt living with him who thought it was irresponsible," Metz relates. She removed the keys. One day Elvis went to take his Pantera for a spin. No keys. Blam.
Otherwise, "Rock stars are just like us," Metz says. "There are things they're nostalgic about. There are cool cars they've always wanted to own...They're able to buy them."
John Lennon bought himself a 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, had bright, swirling designs painted on it and lent it out to friends like Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. It's here.
Madonna made a grand entrance at the 2001 Grammy Awards in a rhinestone-encrusted 1979 Lincoln Continental limo. It's here.
There is a preview bash Thursday beginning at 6:30 with a dinner ($125), and at 8 with a dessert reception ($40). Call 313-982-6001. Musician and producer Don Was will deliver a free talk, "Music in the Motor City: A Personal Journey," at 11 a.m. Saturday in the museum's Anderson Theatre.