The car was also used by The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, among other stars.
In the build-up to the highly anticipated reveal of the all-new Phantom, Rolls-Royce will be organizing “The Great Eight Phantoms” exhibition from July 29 until August 2. After discovering the British Field Marshal Bernard “Monty” Montgomery’s 1936 Phantom III, Fred Astaire’s 1927 Phantom I, and Sir Malcolm Campbell’s 1933 Phantom II Continental will be a part of the showcasing, now time has come to have a look at a Phantom V originally owned by none other than John Lennon.
The Beatles’ star took delivery of a Valentine Black Phantom on June 3, 1965, but as you can see, the car is anything but black. That’s because he got in touch with a coachbuilder and had it painted in a multitude of colors creating a psychedelic look dominated by a striking yellow hue. Boasting a new appearance, the Phantom V was unveiled in April 1967, only a few weeks before the world launch of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the eighth studio album released by the legendary English band.
While at a first glance the use of the colors may seem random, that’s not actually true. John Lennon decided to go with a floral Romany scroll design combined with a zodiac symbol applied onto the roof.
Some changes inside the luxurious cabin were also made as the Phantom V ditched the rear seats to make room for a double bed. The car even had a TV, telephone, and a refrigerator, while the custom sound system and a record player were added as well.
This special Rolls-Royce has an interesting history, to say the least. Not only was it originally owned by Lennon and used until 1969, but a year later it was shipped to the United States where it was loaned out to The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. In 1977, the customized Phantom was donated to its current owner, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Now, after a very long time, the car is returning to the U.K. on the occasion of “The Great Eight Phantoms” exhibition and also to mark the 50th anniversary since the release of the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.
Gallery: John Lennon's 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V
ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCES ‘THE JOHN LENNON PHANTOM V’ TO RETURN TO LONDON DURING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
#GreatPhantoms Today, Rolls-Royce has announced that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its own way by bringing the colourful Rolls-Royce Phantom V, famous for being owned by John Lennon, back home to London for the British public 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, an area visited regularly by Lennon in the late 1960s in this very car.
Members of the public will be able to see ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’ at Bonhams from 29 July to the 2 August.
‘The John Lennon Phantom V’
On 3 June 1965 – the same day that Edward H White left the capsule of his Gemini 4 to become the first American to walk in space – John Lennon took delivery of something rather special. It was a Rolls-Royce Phantom V in Valentine Black. He would later say that he always wanted to be an eccentric millionaire, and the Phantom would become an important step towards that dream.
Lennon had the Phantom V customised 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 Phantom 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 no random 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.
‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will take place at Bonhams international flagship saleroom and galleries in New Bond Street, London, from 29 July to the 2 August.