Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, is best well known for ruling the music charts, stage and screen. He also ruled the skies too!
Presley had a collection of planes including a Lockheed L-1329 Jetstar jet which is now up for auction.
Style fit for a King
The jet up for auction has been abandoned for many years in Roswell, New Mexico, after Elvis’s death in 1977. The aircraft has no engines and most of it’s cockpit instruments have been removed. Despite this many of the interior still remains intact. The prospective buyer can enjoy it’s bright red velvet seats, gold finish hardware, wood cabin panelling and a marble bathroom sink.
The aircraft also features a Kenmore microwave, cassette desk and a television! The auction will also included the original documentation of the aircraft such as the aircraft security agreement signed by Elvis and a copy of the aircraft bill of sale showing its 1976 purchase price of $840,000.
The plane was mainly used by Elvis to transport him during his busy touring schedule around the USA. Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, and the Memphis Mafia would also use the jet as transport. The King of Rock and Roll made sure that several pilots were always on standby for him to travel at a moments notice for his adoring fans.
The Lockheed L- 1329 Jetstar will go under the hammer at the Kissimmee, Florida auction between the 4th and 15th of January 2023.
Transportation specialists Mecum Auctions which will auction the aircraft described the jet as “a truly rare bird with immense appeal and one that will do nothing but shake up the crowds at Mecum’s 2023 Kissimmee auction. Elvis and his effect on the music industry are known the world-over, and this opportunity for a new owner to acquire an extravagant piece of his aviation past is a momentous occasion with untold room for flights of rock ‘n’ roll fancy.”
The King’s plane collection
The King owned a Convair 880 from Delta Air lines in 1975 which he named Lisa Marie after his daughter.
At the time the aircraft cost $250,000 (£1.2 million in today’s money) the refurbishment also costed an extra $600,000 and was completed in November 1975.
The interior of the aircraft was ground breaking for its time and included a penthouse bedroom with a custom sized bed, a 24 karat gold bathroom, four televisions and a stereo system with 52 speakers!
On the outside the plane’s tail was painted in the colours of the US flag and with the phrase TCB which means “taking care of business” a phrase commonly used by Elvis. The plane also had a conference room and could carry a maximum of 29 people.
After Presley’s untimely death in 1977 the plane was grounded and abandoned for several years. In 1984, the plane was handed over to Memphis-based OKC Partnership, which set up an agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises to allow the company to publicly display the jet at Graceland in exchange for a percentage of ticket sales.
In 2018, the Lisa Marie underwent a restoration and a re paint and was returned to permanent display at Graceland.
Presley also owned another Lockheed Jetstar which was known as the Lockheed JetStar executive business jet nicknamed the Hound Dog II. He bought the jet in September 1975 whilst renovation was still taking place on the Lisa Marie.
Whilst the aircraft didn’t require too much restoration, Presley decided to make a few changes such as changing the colour of the cabin seats to yellow, green and blue.
The Hound Dog II and the Lisa Marie are both at Graceland and are one of the most visited attractions in the USA!
Elvis wasn’t the only entertainment legend with his own collection of planes. Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson owned a number of aircraft and even held a pilot license.
Are you interested in buying Elvis Presley’s jet at auction? Have you visited Graceland and seen the Hound Dog II and Lisa Marie planes? Let us know in the comments below!