WE ALL DRIVE IN A YELLOW PHANTOM V
John Lennon’s infamous Rolls-Royce comes home as part of a exhibition
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.