Elvis Presley bought a $1.2-million turboprop for his longtime manager, Col. Tom Parker, and had it flown to Las Vegas yesterday to surprise the cigar chomping promotional wizard. The Commercial Appeal learned yesterday.
'You've got to be kidding', said Parker who was telephoned in Las Vegas before the plane arrived.
'I can't believe it and won't 'till I see it'.
The white Grumman Gulfstream G-1 with blue trim left Memphis about 9 a.m. yesterday headed to Las Vegas. Elvis who could not be reached for comment, remained at his Graceland mansion, sources said.
An airport executive in Vicksburg, Miss., said Elvis began negotiating with Cappaert Enterprises there for the luxury jet 'sight unseen' about two weeks ago.
He said the twin-engine plane, which cruises at speeds of 450 to 600 mph was flown to Memphis 10 days ago and then to Asheville, N.C., where Elvis was performing so he could look at it before completing the deal.
Officials of Cappaert Enterprises could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The plane has a gold-carpeted interior with a stereo system, flight phone and bar. It will seat up to 22 persons and 'is as nice as any you'll ever find' the source said.
Another source said the bar will probably not be used since Parker does not drink.
The source close to Elvis said Parker does not like to fly in big planes. He said Elvis decided to buy the plane after in took four leased aircraft to carry his touring company to his last concert.
Elvis bought himself a 109-passenger airplane last month for a reported $1 million. It is being refurbished in Fort Worth. The Convair 880 was formerly used by Delta Airlines. Inc.
After it is refurbished, it will seat 32, be equipped with two bedrooms and an office. It is not expected to be ready until september.
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