Beatles John Lennon's Psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V Comes Home For Great Eight Phantoms Event
By: Mark Ewing
While filming “How I Won The War” in 1966 and early ‘67, John Lennon racked up thousands of miles on his black Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine, taking a toll on its original black paintwork. Home in London in the spring of 1967, Lennon commissioned a fresh paint scheme with J.P. Fallon Ltd., a coach builder in Surrey. There’s some magical mystery about genesis of the concept, but it seems that Marijke Koger of the artist’s collective The Fool suggested a Romany theme similar to the refurbished gypsy caravan in Lennon’s home garden. Fallon commissioned local artist Steve Weaver, and the work was completed six weeks later. The Romany designs were executed in common house paint, which has required considerable maintenance over the years. The car, however, still runs.
Lennon and Yoko Ono took the car to the U.S. in 1970. The Phantom was frequently loaned to other rock bands of the era to serve as a shuttle. Due to tax issues, Lennon donated it to the Cooper Hewett Museum in 1974. Sotheby’s sold the car at auction in 1985 to British Columbia billionaire entrepreneur James “Jimmy” Pattison for his chain of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” Museums for $2.29 million. Pattison donated the car in 1987 for museum exhibit. In 2014, it was displayed in Vancouver for “Magical Mystery Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition.”
Lennon’s Phantom returns to London for the gathering, Great Eight Phantoms, to celebrate arrival of the new Phantom VIII, where it will exemplify the eccentric side of Rolls-Royce.