Elvis's Derelict Jet Finally Finds Way Out of Desert

 - January 14, 2023, 7:57 PM
Despite sitting untouched in the New Mexico desert for nearly four decades, a Lockheed JetStar may finally be getting its chance to shine again after its sale in early January. (Photo: Mecum Auctions)

A Lockheed JetStar formerly owned by the late Elvis Presley and left to bake in the New Mexico sun for nearly four decades after his death was sold last week in a Florida auction. Lacking its engines and some cockpit instruments, but with its cabin still furnished as Presley had desired, the 1962-vintage aircraft sold for $286,000, including the seller’s commission and other fees.

The buyer, an internet personality named Jimmy Webb, said he plans to refurbish the aircraft. His hobby of finding derelict aircraft and restoring them has become a YouTube series, and Webb intends to fully document the process undertaken on this aircraft.

“It will not fly again but it will move under its own power,” Webb told AIN, adding he has yet to see the jet in person. "It was in the desert so I know the metal is probably going to be OK, but the interior is probably dried out so I wouldn't be surprised if it had to be redone."

In mid-February, he plans to head to New Mexico and disassemble the JetStar and then spend roughly $30,000 to truck it across the country to a warehouse outside of Tampa for its restoration. Webb explained that he was not the winner of the auction, but ended up with the airplane after he was contacted by the auction house about an hour after the final hammer when the winner was unable to complete the transaction.

“For me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said, adding that the sale price for the jet was reasonable only because of the Elvis cachet attached to it. “I’ll get to do what I love to do, which is find something kind of broken and get it going again, and it makes really good content for the show, so it’s just a win-win all the way around.”

After the project's completion, Webb plans to take the restored aircraft on tour to airshows such as Sun 'N Fun, EAA Airventure, and perhaps even a visit to Las Vegas.