The King’s bird: Elvis Presley’s last private jet to be auctioned

Lockheed JetStar L-1329
Mecum Auctions

A Lockheed JetStar, one of the several private jets owned by the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ Elvis Presley, will be looking for a new home in a special auction which is due to take place in January 2023, in the United States. 

The Lockheed JetStar L-1329, registered N440RM, will be put on auction in Kissimmee, Florida, between January 4 and January 15, 2023, according to the Mecum Auction Company website.  

Even though some auction details, such as the initial amount of the bid, are not made public yet, potential bidders will be offered to purchase the legendary jet with documentation. It includes official Blue Ribbon Documents issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as copies of the Aircraft Security Agreement document signed by Presley and the bill evincing aircraft sale for $840,000 in 1976. 

“This JetStar is a truly rare bird with immense appeal and one that will do nothing but shake up the crowds at Mecum’s 2023 Kissimmee auction,” Mecum’s statement reads. “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.” 

Elvis Presley’s last plane

Like most global superstars, Presley also enjoyed traveling in style, which included taking to the skies in his own fleet of private planes, consisting of a Convair 880 and two Lockheed JetStars.  

Built in 1962, the Lockheed C-140 JetStar was the third and last private jet bought by Elvis Presley. It was purchased a year before the singer’s death and was the least flown of all his aircraft. 

The plane could reach a maximum speed of up to 565 miles per hour (around 909 kilometers per hour) with a range of 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers) and had a room for up to ten passengers and three crew members, including two pilots and a flight attendant, onboard. 

The cabin design of Presley’s ultimate jet outshined its predecessors: it featured pink velvet seats, sofas, carpets, woodwork, and even gold-finished hardware and was painted in a vivid red livery. 

The private plane also was equipped with the latest technology at the time, which included headphone ports with audio controls installed on each passenger seat, RCA VCR and audio cassette players, an onboard TV, a microwave oven, and a beverage dispenser. 

After the singer’s death in 1977, the JetStar was sold to a Saudi Arabian company. It was later sent to a desert in New Mexico for storage, where it spent around 35 years on the ground unmaintained. 

One of just 204 Lockheed JetStar planes manufactured between 1957 and 1978, Presley’s third private plane is now no longer airworthy because of its rusty fuselage and various missing components, including its P&W engines. If sold, the jet would require disassembly to be shipped, Mecum noted. 

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