The showbusiness star's taste for powerful and luxurious cars is well known. As it would be expected, Rolls Royce is one of the most sought after car brands, not only because it possesses all of the above characteristics, but also because it offers its customers the opportunity of personalizing their car according to their every whim. Among pop/ rock musicians, for instance, there have been numerous lucky car owners, from Elvis to Stevie Wonder to Freddy Mercury to rapper 50 Cent. They all share an air of sobriety, distinction and stature that this brand ensures them. However, there was one that was considerably less sober: Jonh Lennon's fabulous psychedelic Rolls Royce.
The vehicle I'm talking about is the magnificent Phantom V with the FJB111C license plate that was handed over to him in 1965. At that time, the car was still sober enough (although it was white in photographs from the time, it's been said it was originally black), but Lennon wasn't happy with it until he personalized it. He started by installing a radio-telephone, then a very special stereo system, a Sony television set, a fridge and a bed in the back seat(!). Only Lennon would remember to do something like this...
But the musician was still unhappy about the dull colour of his automobile, that clashed with his extrovert and magalomaniac personality, so he ordered a psychedelic paint job from a group of Dutch artists, who filled his car with all sorts of cornucopias, multi-colour florals and yellow background. Lennon was stunned and paid 2000 pounds for it.
Needless to say, the car shocked Britain's mentality at the time, for whom Rolls Royce was motive of national pride. Some say there was an elderly lady who was so shocked she actually hit the car with her umbrella... In spite of these nuisances, that obviously amused Lennon, the car became The Beatles' main means of transportation until they split-up in 1970
When Lennon and Yoko moved to the USA, the car moved with them. Already on American soil, it was "lent" to other musicians, such as the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, until it was placed in a garage and, later, donated to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, where it remained from 1978 until 1985, when it was finally auctioned. The winning bid reached the $2 299 000 USD and allowed Jim Pattison, a Canadian millionaire to become the proud owner of the famous automobile. Later, as an act of kindness, Pattison offered the car to the queen of England. Today, it can be found on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria.
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