Pres­ley’s old jet sells at auc­tion

Plane owned by king of rock ’n’ roll makes $430,000

The National - News - Business - - Inside Track -

A pri­vate jet once owned by the late US rock star Elvis Pres­ley has been auc­tioned after sit­ting on a run­way in New Mex­ico for 35 years. The plane sold for US$430,000 dur­ing the week­end at a Cal­i­for­nia event fea­tur­ing celebrity mem­o­ra­bilia, GWS Auc­tions said.

The buyer was not dis­closed in the sold note posted on the com­pany’s web­site and the auc­tion­eer, Brigitte Kruse, said she could not im­me­di­ately re­lease in­for­ma­tion about the buyer or the buyer’s plans for the plane.

The auc­tion house said Pres­ley de­signed the in­te­rior that has gold-tone wood­work, red vel­vet seats and red shag car­pet. But the red, 1962 Lock­heed Jet­star has no en­gine and needs a restora­tion of its cock­pit.

The jet was owned by Elvis and his fa­ther, Vernon Pres­ley, Liveauc­tion­eers.com said.

It has been pri­vately owned for 35 years and sit­ting on a tar­mac run­way in Roswell, New Mex­ico.

Pho­tos of the plane show the ex­te­rior in need of restora­tion and seats of the cock­pit torn.

A pre­vi­ous owner dis­puted the auc­tion house’s claim the king of rock ’n’ roll de­signed its red vel­vet in­te­rior. Roy McKay told KOB-TV in Al­bu­querque he de­signed the in­te­rior him­self. Mr McKay said that when he pur­chased the jet, it had a two-toned grey in­te­rior and “kind of looked like a cas­ket”. But the GWS spokesman Carl Carter said the auc­tion house is con­fi­dent Elvis de­signed the in­te­rior.

Fed­eral avi­a­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion records show no in­te­rior changes were ever made to the jet, Mr Carter said.

Jet­Star was a busi­ness jet pro­duced from the early 1960s to the 1970s, and the first ded­i­cated busi­ness jet to en­ter ser­vice. It was also one of the largest air­craft in the class for many years, seat­ing 10 plus two crew. It is dis­tin­guish­able from other small jets by its four en­gines, mounted on the rear of the fuse­lage, and the “slip­per”-style fuel tanks fixed to the wings.

The Jet­Star orig­i­nated as a pri­vate project within Lock­heed, with an eye to win­ning a USAF re­quire­ment that was later dropped due to bud­get cuts. Lock­heed de­cided to con­tinue the project on its own for the busi­ness mar­ket.

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