John Lennon’s customized and heavily decorated 1964 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, “Psychedelic Rolls”, was shown at an exhibition in London at Bonhams from 29th July until 2nd August. The vehicle was showcased in the company of six other famous Rolls-Royce Phamtoms, including Fred Astaire’s 1927 Phantom I Towncar.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary year of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, Rolls-Royce has published new images of the vehicle, compiled by Ars Technica UK. Lennon had the car painted in a psychedelic style shortly before ‘Sgt. Pepper’, the Beatles’ eighth studio album was released.
Lennon purchased the 6.23-litre V for £6600 in December 1964. However, he didn’t have a driver’s license until February 1965, so he had to be driven by a chauffeur for a few months. The extras he added included a record player, an eight-track tape player, a TV, a radio phone, a fridge in the back and a rear seat that could be converted to a bed.
Lennon had taken the car to the US, but was forced to donate it to the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design following tax issues. It was sold at auction after Lennon’s death and purchased by Canadian entrepreneur Jimmy Pattison for $2.3 million. Pattison later donated it to the province of British Columbia to be displayed at the Royal British Columbia Museum.