John Len­non’s Phan­tom V goes on dis­play

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS.CA -

Rolls-Royce has an­nounced that it will cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary year of Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its own way by bring­ing the colour­ful Rolls-Royce Phan­tom V, fa­mous for be­ing owned by John Len­non, back home to Lon­don for the Bri­tish pub­lic to see.

Cur­rently owned by the Royal Bri­tish Columbia Mu­seum in Canada, ‘The John Len­non Phan­tom V’ will travel from Canada to Lon­don to join ‘The Great Eight Phan­toms’ – A Rolls-Royce Ex­hi­bi­tion, at Bon­hams on New Bond Street, an area vis­ited reg­u­larly by Len­non in the late 1960s in this very car.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic will be able to see ‘The John Len­non Phan­tom V’ at Bon­hams from July 29-Au­gust 2.

On June 3, 1965 – the same day that Ed­ward H White left the cap­sule of his Gemini 4 to be­come the first Amer­i­can to walk

in space – John Len­non took de­liv­ery of some­thing rather spe­cial.

It was a Rolls-Royce Phan­tom V in Valen­tine Black. He would later say that he al­ways wanted to be an ec­cen­tric mil­lion­aire, and the Phan­tom would be­come an im­por­tant step to­wards that dream.

Len­non had the Phan­tom V cus­tom­ized in true rock-star style. The rear seat was con­verted to a dou­ble bed, a tele­vi­sion,

tele­phone and re­frig­er­a­tor were in­stalled, along with a 'float­ing' record player and a

cus­tom sound sys­tem (which in­cluded an ex­ter­nal loud hailer).

Then, in April 1967, just as the record­ing of the game-chang­ing Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was fin­ish­ing. Len­non

asked Sur­rey coach­builders, JP Fal­lon, to

give the Phan­tom a new paint job.

The freshly painted Phan­tom was un­veiled days be­fore the world­wide re­lease of Sgt. Pep­per’s on June 1 and it seemed part of the over­all con­cept of the al­bum.

The new colour scheme is of­ten de­scribed as ‘psy­che­delic’ and cer­tainly the colours, par­tic­u­larly the dom­i­nant yel­low, re­flected the cover of Sgt. Pep­per's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But look care­fully and you will see it is no ram­dom swirl, but a flo­ral Ro­many scroll de­sign, as used on gypsy car­a­vans and canal barges, with a zo­diac sym­bol on the roof.

The Phan­tom V was used reg­u­larly by Len­non un­til 1969 (Len­non also owned a slightly less con­spic­u­ous all-white Phan­tom V).

Hav­ing used it, pre-paint change, to col­lect his MBE with his band mates in 1965, he then used it again in 1969 to re­turn his MBE to the Palace, in protest against, among other things, the Viet­nam War.

The car was shipped to the USA in 1970 when Len­non moved there and was loaned out to ferry other rock stars around such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and The Moody Blues. In 1977, af­ter a pe­riod in stor­age, it was do­nated by bil­lion­aire Jim Pat­ti­son to the Royal Bri­tish Columbia Mu­seum in Vic­to­ria, BC.

To mark the 50th an­niver­sary of the Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band al­bum by the Bea­tles, Rolls-Royce is putting John Len­non’s Phan­tom V on dis­play in Lon­don.

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