The Lisa Marie Convair 880 jet. Image courtesy of Julian’s Auction
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Elvis Presley’s private planes, the “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog II” are set to go under the hammer in a sealed-bid auction at Julien’s Auctions. The aircrafts which are jet-setting rock star luxury were designed by the King of Rock n’ Roll himself. Although no longer airworthy, they are expected to fetch almost $20 million.
Presley purchased the Convair 880 Jet from Delta Airlines on April 17, 1975, two years before his death at the age of 42, for $250,000. He christened the plane “Lisa Marie” after his daughter. Presley spent more than $600,000 refurbishing the jet that included plush sleeping quarters, a penthouse bedroom with a custom-made queen size bed, an executive bathroom with gold faucets and gold washbasin, a videotape system linked to four televisions and a stereo system with fifty speakers and a conference room. Besides the inside, the outside of four-engine 28-passenger plane was also elegantly finished. Painted red, white and blue with his motto “TCB” – “Takin’ Care of Business” – on the tail, the plane was a sight to behold.
In 1975 while waiting for work to finish on the “Lisa Marie”, Elvis purchased “The Hound Dog II” a Lockheed JetStar for a price of almost $900,000. At the height of his musical career, the planes were effective mode of transportation for the King of Rock n’ Roll. “Lisa Marie” jet was used for his exclusive transportation and private air travel. The last flight the plane made was when it transported Priscilla Presley and Elvis’s good friend George Hamilton from California to his funeral.
“Lisa Marie” has an interesting provenance. Elvis’ father, Vernon, sold the plane in 1978 and it changed hands twice but was purchased by present owners who formed a joint venture with Graceland’s owners to return it back home to Graceland.
In 1984 the “Lisa Marie” arrived at Graceland amidst pomp and pageantry. Since it arrived, it has became part of the popular attraction, captivating millions of fans and tourists. Soon after “Lisa Marie” arrived in Graceland, “Hound Dog II” was bought by OKC Partnership and transported to Graceland in 1984.
After years of taking center stage at Graceland, the planes are ready for a new home and owner. The Current operators of Graceland gave notice that they would not be renewing the Joint Venture Agreement and asked the owners to remove the planes from Graceland at the end of April, 2015.
In addition to buying the plane, the buyer of Elvis Presley’s “Lisa Marie” and “Hound Dog II” aircraft has the option to purchase several acres adjacent to Graceland to display the jets, independent of the Presley museum. The interior of the Lisa Marie aircraft, according to Julien’s Auctions, is the original interior Elvis had installed.