“You swine! You swine! How dare you do that to a Rolls-Royce!” shouted a woman who attacked John Lennon for his psychedelic paint job on the 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V.
Now, in 2017, we’re coming full circle. At the end of this month, Rolls-Royce will be unveiling the eighth generation of the Phantom, their most iconic model. To celebrate its debut, Rolls-Royce is rounding up eight Phantoms that have contributed greatly to history, in an exhibit entitled ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ — A Rolls-Royce Exhibition. Proudly featured in it is John Lennon’s very own Phantom V. Originally painted in a modest Valentine Black, Lennon customised the rear seat into a double bed and added a TV, telephone, fridge, blackout window tints and a “floating” record player in 1966.
A year later, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr suggested Lennon paint the Phantom with a psychedelic design. Lennon’s main chauffeur Les Anthony recalled this; “We were passing the fairground one day […] and they were admiring the fairground decorations and gypsy caravans. Ringo said why not have the Rolls painted the same way. John thought it was a great idea. It was painted all yellow first, then hand painted (with psychedelic designs). The first time I drove it, I was followed by hordes of photographers and Pathe news.”
The car will be travelling from the Royal British Columbia Museum in B.C, Canada— all the way to London to be showcased, as part of ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ exhibition.
The Great Eight Phantoms— A Rolls-Royce Exhibition is on at Bonhams, New Bond Street London from July 29 to August 2.
More information about the exhibit can be found here.