It ferried sales-hungry oil executives out of Oklahoma in art deco style, became a nuts-and-bolts workhorse for the military during World War II, then tolerated extensive modifications from a 50’s decade intent on modernization. Now, 73 years later, that 1938 Lockheed 12A Electra Junior – gleaming in its original, polished metal splendor – will be reunited with its first owner, Phillips Petroleum Co., at this week’s AirVenture.
Fresh from a million-dollar restoration, David Marco’s 1938 Lockheed 12 will be parked at AirVenture’s ConocoPhillips Plaza, as Marco’s unsolicited tribute to Phillips 66 and its contributions to corporate aviation.
This summer also happens to be the 75th anniversary of the Lockheed 12’s first flight at 12:12 p.m. on June 27, 1936. Out of 130 12As produced by Lockheed, only six or seven flying examples remain.
Five people led by restorer Kirk McQuown invested more than 10,000 hours to bring the classic corporate aircraft back to its original 1938 specs, with a polished fuselage, art deco interior and as much vintage avionics as feasible, explains Marco. Even the 30’s green Phillips 66 racing stripes are back on the glossy silver nose, a look that says this plane’s moving, even when it’s standing still.
“We’ve restored it back to what it was — a really cool corporate airplane, with lacquered wood, exposed hinges and art deco knobs” Marco says. “It’s the coolest, most beautiful art deco airplane I’ve ever seen. Even the smell inside the plane is unique.”
Seventy-three years ago, that new plane smell must have thrilled the Phillips Petroleum executives when they took delivery of the brand-spanking new, polished metal Lockheed, eager for quicker ways to visit their customers.
According to documents Marco tracked down, Phillips 66 used the aircraft for corporate travel until the military requisitioned it during World War II. Phillips got the plane back after the war, albeit it “with a little different paint job,” Marco says with a grin.
Born out of a government competition to build aircraft for regional feeder airlines, the eight-seat, six-passenger, all-metal twin-engine model became a favorite among traveling business executives, though it never caught on with the airlines.
“It loves to fly — it purrs,” Marco says. “When you’re flying in it you feel like a 1940’s business executive. It’s a great feeling.”
“We are delighted that David Marco is bringing back a Phillips Petroleum Company original to help us christen ConocoPhillips Plaza during AirVenture,” says Rosemary Leone, Director, Programs Development, General Aviation for ConocoPhillips. “We can only imagine how excited the Phillips Petroleum team was when they saw the Lockheed standing on a Bartlesville runway 73 years ago. It will be terrific to see something like this come full circle.”
For more information: Phillips66Aviation.com