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Jet owned by Elvis auctioned after sitting 30 years

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/27/2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years.

The plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at an Agoura Hills, California, event featuring celebrity memorabilia, GWS Auctions Inc. said.

The buyer was not disclosed in the sold note posted on the firm's website. GWS Auctions managing member and lead auctioneer Brigitte Kruse did not immediately return a call for additional information.

The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats and red shag carpet. But the red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar has no engine and needs a restoration of its cockpit.

The 1962 red Lockheed JetStar was owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley, Liveauctioneers.com says.

It has been privately owned for 35 years and sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, New Mexico.

Photos of the plane show the exterior in need of restoration and seats of the cockpit torn.

A previous owner of the private jet disputed the auction house's claim the king of rock 'n' roll designed its red velvet interior.

Roy McKay told KOB-TV in Albuquerque (https://goo.gl/GpE3zV) on Tuesday he designed the interior himself. McKay said that when he purchased the red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar, it had a two-toned gray interior and "kind of looked like a casket."

But then-GWS spokesman Carl Carter told The Associated Press the auction house is confident Elvis designed the interior, which photos show has red velvet seats and red shag carpet.

Federal Aviation Administration records show no interior changes were ever made to the jet, Carter said.

Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis with his parents at age 13. He became a leading figure in the fledgling rockabilly scene by covering songs originally performed by African-American artists like Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") and Arthur Crudup ("That's All Right").

His provocative dancing and hit records turned him into one of the 20th century's most recognizable icons. Historians say his music also helped usher in the fall of racial segregation.

Elvis was 42 when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.

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