rolls-royce announces that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band in its own way by bringing the colorful rolls-royce ‘phantom V’, famous for being owned by john lennon, back home to london for the british public to see.
all images © rolls-royce

 

 

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, an area visited regularly by lennon in the late 1960s in this car. members of the public will be able to see colorful car from 29 july to the 2 august.

 

 

lennon had the ‘phantom V’ customized 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 freshly-painted rolls-royce was unveiled days before the worldwide release of sgt. pepper’s on 1 june, and it seemed part of the overall concept of the album.

 

 

the new colour scheme is often described as ‘psychedelic’ and certainly the colours, particularly the dominant yellow, reflected the cover of sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band. but look carefully and you will see it is a floral romany scroll design, as used on gypsy caravans and canal barges, with a zodiac symbol on the roof.

 

 

the car was used regularly by lennon until 1969, and he 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.

 

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