John Len­non’s in­fa­mous Rolls-Royce comes home as part of a ex­hi­bi­tion

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Richard Gunn

John Len­non’s psy­che­delic Rolls-Royce Phan­tom V is re­turn­ing to Bri­tain as part of the on­go­ing 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions for the Sgt Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The 1965 Rolls is cur­rently owned by the Royal Bri­tish Columbia Mu­seum in Canada, but will make the trip to Bon­hams auc­tion­eers in New Bond Street, Lon­don, where it will be dis­played as part of The Great Eight Phan­toms ex­hi­bi­tion. This area of the cap­i­tal was once a fa­mil­iar stomp­ing ground for the car dur­ing The Bea­tles’ fi­nal years.

John ac­quired the Phan­tom – then in some­what more sub­tle Valen­tine Black – in sum­mer 1965, at the height of Beatle­ma­nia. But, af­ter hav­ing it cus­tomised – in­clud­ing a dou­ble bed rear seat, TV, tele­phone, fridge and record player – he went one step fur­ther in April 1967, with a pre­dom­i­nantly yel­low kalei­do­scopic paintjob just ahead of the re­lease of the equally colour­ful Sgt Pep­per LP.

Among the sig­nif­i­cant roles the car un­der­took was to take The Bea­tles to Buck­ing­ham Palace in 1965 to pick up their MBEs and re­turn John’s medal back there in protest dur­ing 1969. When John moved to the USA in 1971, the car went with him and Yoko Ono, and was loaned out to other stars such as the Rolling Stones and Bob Dy­lan. It was do­nated to the Cana­dian RBC Mu­seum in 1977.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is open to the public from 29 July-2 Au­gust, and will in­clude seven other im­por­tant Phan­toms from all over the globe.

Phan­tom’s colour scheme is based on flo­ral Ro­many scroll de­signs. It’s not eas­ily missed.

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