There's a new Phantom on the way, and Rolls-Royce has big plans for the launch. Phantoms owned by movie stars, military generals and land-speed record holders will be rolled out for an exhibition celebrating the car's illustrious history in London – and the latest addition is a big one. If the paintwork didn't give it away, this Phantom V belonged to John Lennon.
Unlike some of the other "Great Eight Phantom" owners, former Beatle John Lennon needs no real introduction. For anyone who's spent the last five decades living under a rock, the ex-Beatle is one of the best known musicians of the past century. He also forged a career as a solo artist after the band disintegrated, and was a prominent campaigner for peace with his wife, Yoko Ono.
The car itself is incredibly distinctive. It was delivered on June 3, 1965, finished in Valentine Black. Lennon reportedly said he wanted to become an eccentric millionaire, and the treatment he applied to his Phantom V was certainly a step in the right direction.
He swapped the rear seats for a double bed, while the homely feel was also aided by a fridge, television, telephone and custom sound system. Having reworked the interior, Lennon then turned his attention to the exterior. The unique paint job came courtesy of JP Fallon in Surrey, and the finished product was unveiled ahead of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The car will be rolled out on July 29, some 50 years after the release of that legendary record.
According to Rolls-Royce, the swirls and flourishes adorning the Phantom's yellow paint aren't random. Instead, they're floral Romany scrolls, the likes of which are used on canal barges and gypsy caravans. The only part of the car to remain untouched is the bluff front grille and badge.
Rolls says Lennon used the car regularly up until 1969, before shipping it to his US home in 1970 – after which point it was used to ferry other rockstars around. Apparently, the car chauffeured The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and The Moody Blues around between 1970 and 1977, after which point it was donated to the Royal British Columbia Museum in BC, Canada.
John Lennon's Rolls-Royce Phantom V will be on show at the "Great Eight Phantoms" exhibition, to be held in Mayfair, London.