Recently, Rolls-Royce 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 Bond Street, an area visited regularly by Lennon in the late 1960’s in this very car.
Members of the public will be able to see ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’ at Bonhams from 29th July to the 2nd August.
If one isn’t familiar with the creative classic ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’, then lets just say it holds a lot of history. It was back in June 1965, which was 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, with a television, telephone and refrigerator 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 coach-builders, 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 the 1st June, and it seemed to be a part of the overall concept of the album.
The 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, when the car was shipped to the USA in 1970 when Lennon moved there. However, in 1977, after a long-spell in storage, it was donated by billionaire Jim Pattison to the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.