John Lennon's famous Rolls-Royce going home
Rolls-Royce will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in its own way by bringing the colourful Phantom V once owned by John Lennon, back home to London for fans 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. That event runs from July 29 to August 2.
Lennon took delivery of the huge car on June 3, 1965, originally in Valentine Black.
He customised it many ways - the rear seat was converted to a double bed, while a television, telephone and refrigerator were installed, along with a "floating" record player and a custom sound system.
In April 1967, just as the recording of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was ending, it was repainted in its current psychedelic colours. Rolls-Royce says, however, that if the paint scheme is examined closely it is no random swirl, but instead 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.
* John Lennon was shot and killed in New York on December 8, 1980.