There are many aviation experts who use their experience and knowledge in precisely estimating the value of general aviation aircraft on the used market. However, I believe there are certain cases in which anyone’s guess might suffice.
One such case unfolded yesterday in Kissimmee, Florida, when auction company Mecum Auctions sold a 1962 Lockheed JetStar executive jet once owned by singer Elvis Presley, for a bid of $260,000. The sale fell on what would have been Presley’s 88th birthday.
Introduced in 1957, the JetStar was among the early generation of private jets. The North American Saberliner rolled out the next year with the famously stylish and fast Lear 23 following a few years later. Celebrities and moguls flocked to this novel and flashy form of personal transport. According to the auction company, Presley purchased the aircraft in 1976 for $840,000.
The company said the jet had a top speed of about 490 knots, a range of 2,172 nm and space for two pilots, a cabin attendant and up to 10 passengers. Lockheed built 202 JetStars in addition to two prototypes, Mecum said. An onboard entertainment system includes a television, VCR, audio cassette player, and headphone ports with audio controls at every seat.
Presley owned a number of aircraft including a Convair 880 airliner with the call sign Hound Dog 1 and a second JetStar, call sign Hound Dog 2. Both are on display at the late singer’s Graceland compound.
Mecum said Presley sold this aircraft in the spring of 1977, less than a year after buying it. The company said a Saudi Arabian company later owned the airplane, which eventually “moved to Roswell International Air Center (KROW) in Roswell, New Mexico, where it’s been stored for decades and resides to this day.”
The aircraft comes with documentation including a copy of the bill of sale and FAA documents. Its four engines and many cockpit components are missing. The auction company called the lot “an incredible restoration opportunity and a chance to create a unique Elvis exhibit for all the world to enjoy.”