Fans of Elvis Presley are invited to bid on the King of Rock and Roll’s private jet (a somewhat swankier mode of transportation than Pope John Paul II’s Ford Escort, which went up for auction earlier this week) . The 1962 Lockheed Jetstar is being offered “as is” by IronPlanet and features red velvet seats, gold plated accents, and red plush carpet. Unfortunately, it’s missing the engine, and its cockpit and exterior require restoration.
The singer and his father, Vernon Presley, originally owned the plane. The jet has been sitting on a runway in Roswell, New Mexico, for 36 years. In 2017, a collector bought the plane for $430,000 but “has not made any changes to this piece of history,” Lindsay Goldstein, a spokeswoman for IronPlanet, told Billboard.
According to IronPlanet, “The jet is the only one of the three planes belonging to Elvis Presley, which is still privately owned, while the other two are owned by the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee.”
The plane is in rough shape. Both the exterior and interior are in need of restoration (see the pics here). There has also been some controversy over whether Presley actually designed the red velvet interior.
A former owner named Roy McKay claims he designed the inside. McKay said that when he bought the plane it had a two-toned gray interior, which he likened to a casket.
Carl Carter, a spokesman for then-GWS Auctions Inc., told the Associated Press that the auction house stood behind its claim that Elvis was responsible for the swanky interior. IronPlanet also believes Elvis chose red velvet accoutrements. Carter pointed out that records from the Federal Aviation Administration don’t list any changes to the interior.
Interested parties can bid on the plane until July 27.
Presley got his first guitar at age 11, and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his parents two years later. His breakthrough hit was 1956’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” and his film debut was 1956’s Love Me Tender. When he performed on television that same year, he earned the nickname Elvis the Pelvis for his provocative hip-gyrating dance moves. Some of his hit songs include “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” and “Blue Suede Shoes.” He never performed outside of North America—most of his concerts took place in the United States. He played a handful of gigs in Canada in 1957.
Presley is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He died at the age of 42 in 1977 following years of drug abuse.