Elvis Presley jets for sale amid Graceland makeover
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Elvis Presley’s last two jets, the “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog II,” are for sale.
The four-engine “Lisa Marie” features a queen-size bed, gold bathroom fixtures, a videotape system with four TVs and a stereo system with 52 speakers, according to an ad posted on an aviation sales website this week.
The tail section on the 1960 Convair 880 features Presley’s trademark “TCB” — for “Taking Care of Business” — and a color scheme personally chosen by Elvis, the Controller.com ad said.
The smaller “Hound Dog II” JetStar was Presley’s back-up plane, flown while “Lisa Marie” was remodeled to suit Elvis’ tastes, the ad said.
These planes represent the epitome of 1975 rock star luxury, but if you buy them don’t expect to fly them.
“They’re both museum pieces,” said K.G. Coker, the Memphis man who bought them after Presley’s 1977 death. They’ve not been flown since they were parked at the tourist entrance to Presley’s Graceland mansion in 1984.
Coker’s ad doesn’t set a price, but it he is looking for “serious offers.”
Elvis’ ex-wife tells fans to ‘calm down’ over jets
Millions of Elvis fans have peered into the planes as part of the Graceland tour, with Coker getting a cut of the ticket proceeds, but his agreement with Elvis Presley Enterprises has expired. He’s looking for a buyer because his agreement with and negotiations to keep them at Graceland have failed, leaving the jets’ future up in the air.
Fans erupted in protest when a news report in July said Elvis Presley Enterprises sent a letter to Coker asking him to move the planes from Graceland Plaza, across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the singer’s famous home by next year.
Priscilla Presley, the singer’s former wife and mother of his daughter Lisa Marie, tried to ease fan fears in a tweet on July 2: “Please calm down, we’re in the midst of negotiations. It’s as simple as that.”
A spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises said last week that negotiations were still going on, but Coker declined to comment on the process.
Another online message from Priscilla Presley to fans blamed Coker for stirring up the controversy to put pressure on the estate in the talks:
“I’m reading what you are saying, but listen, the people who own the plane put the release out to intentionally upset everyone. We’re on top of it. Thank you for your trust in us. We will soon be putting out a release about some new and exciting things happening at Graceland. If you want to even hear more about it … come to Graceland in August. That way you will hear it and experience it first hand. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.”
Lodging will be part of the Graceland experience
The “new and exciting things” announced in August was the groundbreaking of a 450-room hotel — “The Guesthouse at Graceland” — at the complex set to open next year.
Lisa Marie Presley, the sole heir to the Elvis estate, sold a majority interest of Elvis Presley Enterprises to investors in 2005. She owns a minority share.
Authentic Brands, the company that also owns the rights to Mohammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe images, bought the rights to Elvis’ brand last year and is also a minority partner in managing Graceland.
Elvis bought the “Lisa Marie” from Delta Airlines for $250,000 in April 1975, and he spent another $350,000 upgrading it, according to the sale ad.
The “Lisa Marie’s” last flight for Elvis was when it carried Priscilla Presley and actor George Hamilton from California to Memphis for Presley’s funeral in August 1977.
Presley’s father sold the planes in 1978, but his estate later negotiated with the owners to park them at Graceland after it was opened to the public.