1968 Aztec PA23-250 Turbo Project

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It’s not that often that we find airplanes in “barn find” condition, but this 1968 Piper Aztec sure fits that description. It’s listed for sale here on eBay where bidding has already reached $23,600. The seller produces YouTube videos about resurrecting long-dormant airplanes and welcomes the participation of whoever purchases the Piper to be in those in the future. The airplane is located in Lithia, Florida.

As you can see, the Piper is sharing the somewhat messy storage facility with some other projects. The seller included a link to a video when the plane was still largely assembled and both engines were started. Apparently, the previous owner to the current one was a lawyer and the plane received “whatever it needed” during their ownership. Aztecs can seat up to five passengers plus a pilot and feature two 250-horsepower Lycoming engines.

Given the color scheme, I’m guessing the owner was a Seminoles fan. Based on public records, the plane was built in 1968 but not delivered until 1975, which makes no sense to me (is anyone able to explain that?). The seller has some maintenance records that are included. This site details that the airplane had some turbocharger and engine issues in 1975 and 1976; it would be nice to know those were resolved. I’m wondering if that accounts for the “delivery date” mentioned above.

I’m not sure why the seller disassembled the airplane after filming the video; perhaps for restoration? There’s enough going on here that I think it’s obvious that this will be a lot more complex than our usual fare here at Barn Finds. According to one online reference, the average price for a used Aztec of this specification is “only” just over $60,000; think seriously before committing to restoring this one!

The upholstery looks nice, at least, hopefully, it’s rodent-free!

Here’s one of the Lycoming engines; the seller in the video characterizes the airplane as being somewhat slower than you might expect but able to haul a lot of weight. Aztecs are capable of 179 KIAS (no, not Korean cars, that’s Knots of Indicated Air Speed) or roughly 206 MPH. That seems pretty quick to me by car standards, anyway. Please let us know your thoughts on this aviation hanger find!

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  1. Haig L Haleblian

    I owned and flew Aztecs for 10+ years. Great docile bird that will accept a huge payload. Leaned out maybe 25 gallons per hour. 100ll is +6.00/gal. you do the math. Retractable gear = higher insurance premiums. Slow compared to other planes. Twin screws make annuals a nail biter. Minimum annual is $10k in a good year. I’d have to sincerely think about this mess even for free. You can buy the nicest Aztruck in the planet for $100k. Ask me how I know.

    Like 19
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Well, they say there’s (2) kinds of pilots who fly retractables: those who landed Gear-Up and those who are going to…

      Like 4
      • Frank D

        The reason for the Checklist.

        Like 1
    • CFJ

      Great points! People do not realize the ultra-high expense of owning a airplane. Plus the federal regulations that have to be met and then of course earning pilot’s license. People complain about the expense of rebuilding a vintage automobile do not have any idea the cost of owning & maintaining a airplane.

      Like 2
  2. Darren

    Haig, your comments are why I read Barn Finds daily. I never knew or thought about landing gear influencing plane insurance. Or that fuel is gal per hr of flight. But then again I’m not into airplanes so my knowledge is VERY limited. Thanks for the insights.
    And nice write up Jamie.

    Like 15
  3. Michael Garner

    Never have had a twin engine, but have had my share of single engine aircraft over the years. One thing that would give me pause is incomplete logs for both engines and aircraft, and also if the engines were pickled properly before being put into storage. Those alone would cost in excess of 40-50K depending on what you need to make them 0 SMOH.

    Like 4
  4. Haig L Haleblian

    And then there’s the panel. I’d suggest having a set of paddles close by when the avionics bid arrives. Maybe the high bidder is buying it for parts, because in my head a decent restoration is would be nothing short of insane.

    Like 7
  5. Mejjag

    The seller has a popular utube channel named “Jimmys World”. It includes a pretty complete coverage of when/where he bought this plane and other projects he has going including the about to be abandoned Cessna 310 you can see in the photos. The 310 came from the same place as the Aztec. I think it was somewhere in Pennsylvania.

    Like 3
  6. Terrry

    “And if she had a set of wings man I know she could fly”

    Like 5
  7. kaf

    Sadly, that airplane is never going to fly again.

    I guess RV-10 guys would cast greedy eyes on the engines.

    Like 3
    • Haig L Haleblian

      Good point

      Like 1
  8. Bullethead

    Polish it up and plop the body onto a Toyota Previa. Drive it, enjoy the attention.

    Yes, it’s been done already but that’s the best use for this tired bird.

    Like 1
  9. CFJ

    Big bucks here! Not like completing a rotisserie project on a automobile. Like the previous postings, each engine would have to rebuilt, cockpit instruments gone over, maybe a change to a “glass” cockpit, final certification for flight status by authorized organization, list goes on & on…. Of course, a certified pilot to fly the plane goes unsaid…. Not any “Joe Blow” can get in a plane & fly it. Plane has to be insured, parking fees at a airport, fuel costs (quite more than automotive gas), landing fees, etc….

    Like 5
  10. MH

    TO Rebuild this plane… Correctly… I dont believe 400,000 dollars would touch it…probably closer to a Half million or more… Just the avionics alone and the autopilot would wipe out your first 100,000 dollars… it would take YEARS…

    Like 4
    • Piper62j

      If you farm all the work out,,,, yes,,, it probably would take half a million.. However, being an A&P tech, I’ve seen plane owners perform the work themselves and have it signed off legally just for the satisfaction of doing the job and saving a lot of money.. Anyone can put a price on anything restorable, but the satisfaction of doing the work yourself is priceless…

      Like 9
      • MH

        I totally agree… but you would have to have years… to do this project.. the reason they could not get a ferry permit is because the FAA.. will not issue a ferry permit for a plane that has sat this long..and in this condition.. and..an A an P…doing the work.. yes.. its possible but not likely… both engines..will need complete overhauls.. which you can do.. but you still will have to send the parts out…the props are most likely junk.. too many Ad’s to just not buy new props…all the cables..mounts…turbos…hydraulics.. the landing gear.. the instruments..the avionics.. the glass.. the fuel bladders.. oH.. thats a biggie.. all the pumps.. the interior..to strip and paint it…there is no end to it…I used to own one of these 20 years ago…a very expensive airplane to own and maintain…and they suck gas to no end.. hold 200 gallons..by the time I would get to 7000 feet on the tip tanks.. it was time to go to the mains…and the plane is not that fast…I doubt it will ever fly again unless this buyer has a bottomless checkbook

        Like 6
  11. MarkMember

    Too bad, you see this with airplanes and boats. And occasionally vintage cars. Approach would rather let them sit around and rot and sell them for what they’re worth or fix them up as that was the original intention. I imagine the sower disassembled it as it’s going to be sold off for parts, otherwise you could have a $250,000 k Aztec flying around.

    Like 1
    • JagManBill

      he disassembled it for transport. He had every intent of ferrying the plan home but could nt get the right permits to do so. So, it had to be trucked to Fla hence the condition.

      Like 2
  12. Karl

    The Aztec is a very honest good plane I have never owned one but plenty of hours in them when getting my twin rating. The panes looks very old and out of date =expensive. Non complete logs at anytime are a very big red flag in the aviation community! Twin 250 Lycoming engines is fine good reliable products. They will generally have a 2000 hr TBO, where are these? Turbochargers can almost cut that TBO in half. Current prices on overhaul would be around 45K per side and not include props. The big elephant here is although the Aztec is a good plane in today’s world it’s just not nearly desirable enough for anyone to spend what’s needed to ever get even a lower fraction of their investment back. I highly doubt this plane will ever fly again!

    Like 3
  13. Joe Haska

    As a frustrated old private pilot, I love when B/F features an airplane. The comments alone are worth the price of admission. It reminds me why I don’t fly any more. Great factual comments. Thanks to all the knowledgeable B/F contributors.

    Like 7
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Joe, I hear you. Back when I flew I really enjoyed it but I had to make a decision one day: either fly and give up EVERYTHING else I loved to do, or give up flying and do everything else I loved to do. I chose the latter and although I miss flying, I made the right decision. I still have wishes when I see something like this though…

      Like 5
  14. John L.

    I would want to know the tail number of the plane in the video, and the tail number of this plane.

    Like 1
  15. McG

    Flew When Parked.

    Like 0
  16. Joe Haska

    Geometrics, Exactly the same for me. Way back when, you couldn’t get a job with commercial and instrument. Today they are begging for pilots, but with a birthday in the 1940’s, I think its a non issue, damn it!

    Like 3
  17. V12MECH

    It’s late, another heart breaker, waiting to see if Jay had a comment like on 61 172, but MH said it all, great stuff we built back then, AND could afford to fly it ! Good parts for someone to get back in the air with, times change.

    Like 2
  18. Karl

    Good points made on the costs associated with owning a plane today. My last plane was a Mooney 201 great plane reliable fast and efficient. When I bought the plane it cost me around 250 per hour to fly the plane, that’s not bad. I flew that plane for 12 years put over 2000 hours on it and during my ownership of the plane my cost to fly it kept going up more all the time. When I say COST that is INCLUSIVE meaning when the plane went in for engine and prop overhaul that part of my per hour cost. When I sold that plane my cost to fly had doubled to over 500 per hour. It’s not just fuel it hanger space, annuals, insurance, maintenance, cost of hanger space when your at other airports. Flying is great in almost every way but get your wallet out it’s not cheap.

    Like 1
  19. Bob McK

    If you think it is expensive to maintain a barn full of classic cars, try maintaining one of these.

    Like 2
  20. MH

    I bought and sold over 1200 airplanes in 25 years.. flown thousands of hours..and I can tell you one thing… Airplanes are THE MOST EXPENSIVE.. Money Pit..you will ever have… dont believe me… Just Buy One… The Govt is into airplanes clear to the eyeballs.. and Nothing Ever Changes.. I bought a Brand New Piper Archer in 1978.. for 35 Grand…One Today… is over a Half Million Dollars…Yet.Here is the Thing… there have been very few updates due to Govt Regulations… A New Half Million Dollar Archer..has the same Engine..even the same Engine Model Number as it did in 1978.. Same Prop…Same Wing..Same Fuselage..the only thing that has changed is the instrument layout and the avionics.. This Old Aztec..My God..you could buy a Jet for what it would cost to rebuild this old Piston Beater..

    Like 1
    • CFJ

      True words! I am not a pilot, have never owned a plane, but have been around them for years, first in the USAF, knowing people who own planes and then attending Oshkosh, EAA for years. Not only is the plane itself expensive, but maintenance, upkeep, insurance, adherence to gov’t regulations and peripherals…. When at Oshkosh, I stroll into the buildings with companies selling airplane “stuff” and it is expensive…. A real “money pit!”

      Like 1
  21. Joe Haska

    MH, I love your comments and your expertise and knowledge. Thanks for much for sharing.

    Like 2
  22. Joe Haskaj

    Question for you guys that have been there and done it. What is your guess estimate for Tom Cruise’s cost per hour for his small air force?

    Like 0
  23. V12MECH

    Don’t forget Travolta and Harrison Ford. All we need is movie star money.

    Like 1
  24. unclemymyMember

    Maybe a little late to the party, but as to the question of why it was not delivered until 1975 may likely be that it was being used at the “dealership” (Piper Flight School) for the first 6 or 7 years. I’ve known pilot centers that flew the new planes until they upgraded, and then sold them to a regular owner.

    Like 0
  25. Victor FLORES

    Those of you wanting more details on the plane you can find them by watching the owner’s youtube videos. His channel is called Jimmy’s world. Its a good watch.

    Like 0

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