She may look rough on the outside, but the cabin…
While a lot of people had a passive interest in Elvis Presley’s 1962 Lockheed 1329 Jetstar, when it crossed the auction block it didn’t fetch as much as some might have hoped. The top bid during the 2023 Mecum Kissimmee event was $260,000, markedly less than the so-called King of Rock paid in 1976.
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For the past 40 years the Lockheed jet has sat out in the elements on the Roswell International Air Center’s tarmac. Why it wasn’t at least stored in a hanger isn’t apparent, but the harshness of the Land of Enchantment’s notorious sunshine, combined with desert winds and plenty of dust, hasn’t been kind to the ol’ bird.
In stark contrast with the exterior of the fuselage is the plush cabin Presley, his band, crew, and manager Colonel Tom Parker enjoyed while traveling to different gigs. Since the rock star only owned the plane for about a year, the red velvet seats, rich wood paneling, gold accents, and other appointments all look fantastic. Complete with a period-correct entertainment system and Kenmore microwave, one gets the feeling of being transported back to 1976 just stepping inside.
When Elvis originally purchased the Jetstar he dished out a healthy $840,000. Adjusted for inflation, which is quite the moving target these days, that would be about $4,520,000 in today’s dollars. That’s quite the drop in value, probably in part because of the sad shape of the exterior. What’s really interesting is back in 2017 businessman Jim Gagliardi reportedly paid $430,000 for the aircraft. Not included in the sale were any engines or replacement parts, with plenty of the cockpit controls and instruments stripped.
People are free to speculate about why the value of Elvis’ jet is dropping like a spy balloon shot out of the sky, but perhaps the new owner has some interesting plans for it.
You can check out the lot listing here.
Images via Mecum Auctions