Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that it’s bringing back music legend John Lennon’s colourful Rolls-Royce Phantom V back to London for the British public to see.
Currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, the car will travel to the capital to join ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ Rolls-Royce exhibition at Bonhams on New Bond Street from July 29 to August 2.
The Beatle visited the this area of London regularly in this very car during the late 1960s, but it was on June 3, 1965, when he took delivery of the car. Originally in Valentine Black, Lennon customised his Phantom V 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 colour scheme reflected the cover of the album, but look carefully and you will see it is no random psychedlic 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 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.