Elvis Presley's private jet has been sold for $260,000 after lying abandoned in the desert for 40 years

Newlyweds Elvis and Priscilla Presley, who met while Elvis was in the Army, prepare to board their private jet
(Image credit: Bettmann)

A dilapidated private jet previously owned by Elvis Presley went under the hammer this week (January 8) on what would have been the legendary musician's 88th birthday.

The 1962 Lockheed 1329 JetStar aircraft was sold at the Mecum Kissimmee Collector Car auction, with Elvis’ former wife Priscilla Presley, who offered information on the item before the bidding, in attendance.

Speaking of the plane, which has been sat in the desert at the Roswell International Air Center in Roswell, New Mexico for the past forty years, Priscilla declared to the room: “Elvis loved planes and this was one of them. This is my first auction and I’m excited to be here. Today would be Elvis’ 88th birthday".

Offering a suggestion on how the aircraft's current state of disrepair could be fixed for profitable use, a Mecum auctioneer informs attendees:  “This is an incredible restoration opportunity to create an Elvis exhibit for the world to enjoy".

The auctioneer's exhibit proposal is most likely connected to the fact that the Lockheed plane is unable to fly, following the removal of its four engines and most of its cockpit instrumentation in previous years.

Following an uneventful bid, the aircraft sold for $260,000, or $286,000 if you include fees, which for the seller (businessman Jim Gagliardi, of Madera, California), works out as a loss of money, after having bought the vehicle at a 2017 auction for $430,000 ($498,000 including commission and fees).

Since ownership, Gagliardi had never even visited the plane, although as the Roswell Daily Record newspaper reports, he did originally have some plans for it. “I was going to have it as kind of an advertisement, have people go in it and look at it" he said to the publication. 

The plane was first purchased by Elvis Presley on December 22, 1976 for $840,000 and is one of several private jets owned by the late star, with two currently on display at his former home in Graceland.

Although its sun-weathered outside appears worn, the insides still remain in good condition, featuring custom red velvet upholstery and gold-finish hardware, a microwave, a television, a cassette player, wood cabin panelling, cabin seating for up to nine occupants and six passenger seats.

For images of the plane, visit the Mecum auction house website.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.