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John Lennon’s Phantom returns to London

Published 13 July 2017

A Rolls-Royce Phantom V that once belonged to singer-songwriter John Lennon is to go on show in London for the first time in 47 years. Currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, the car will travel 4770 miles from Victoria to London.

There it will be on display at Bonhams’ New Bond Street show room – an area visited regularly by Lennon in the late 1960s in this car.

Lennon took delivery of the Valentine Black Rolls on 3 June, 1965. In true rock star style, he had the car extensively modified. The back seat was converted to a double bed, while the car was fitted with a television, telephone, and fridge. There was even a ‘floating’ record player and custom sound system, complete with external loud hailer.

In April, 1967, as The Beatles put the finishing touches to seminal album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lennon decided to give the car a new look. While the paintjob is often described as psychedelic, it’s no random kaleidoscope of colours. It is, in fact, a floral Romany scroll design, as used on gypsy caravans and canal barges, with a zodiac symbol on the roof. 

John Lennon Rolls Royce Phantom (7)

Gallery: Lennon's Phantom

The Phantom V was used regularly by Lennon until 1969. Having used it, pre-paint change, to collect his MBE with his bandmates 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, British Columbia, Canada.

The car will be part of an exhibition called ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ which tells the story of one of the world’s most important cars before heralding the arrival of the latest model.

Comments

Peter McGuire    on 15 July 2017

Imagine there's no air bags.
It's easy if you try.
No ABS below us.
And no backup cameras too....

Howard Buchanan    on 18 July 2017

What a way to treat a Phantom! Lennon must have been inspired to do this while at the Indian ashram of the Veryrichi Lotsa Muni Yogi Bear. Hope the (now old) folk who bought his records and whistled his tunes back in the day are happy about the way he spent at least some of the money...

   on 20 July 2017

Masterpiece ... I wonder if it is the original paint ....or like Harrison's MINI it has been re-done ..I hope not , but Americans tend to not appreciate the patina of age / originality...

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