Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yellow Submarine of John Lennon

The legendary pop singer and ex Beatle, John Lennon besides music and lyrics writing, had a craze for cars. His Rolls Royce Phantom V is considered to be one of the most flashy and extravagantly colourful cars of the world. The car weighing 3 tons was considered to be one of the most luxurious cars of its time, when John purchased in 1965. John added many additional gadgets and facilities in the car which included an expensive Hi Fi system, a fridge, a TV and the option of converting the rear seat into a double bed.
There is an interesting incident related to this car. John added more colours and designs to his RR, which to new generation looked amazing and going with the growing mood, but not for the rather conservative old fashioned Britain. Once the group was taking a ride in this yellow submarine, an elderly woman hit the car with her umbrella right in the centre of London and shouted, "Bastards! How could you abuse such Rolls Royce this way?" But this did not deter John from enjoying his flashy RR.

Rools Royce Phantom V (above), Bentley S1 (bottom)

In 1970, John Lennon and Yoko Ono shipped their Yellow Submarine - the Phantom V to the United States. The car was loaned out to several rock stars such as the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues, and Bob Dylan.
Besides Phantom V, John also had a wide collection of cars. The collection included a  Bentley S1, which was again coloured and made as flashy as the RR. John also had a Mercedes Benz W100 beside a Rivolta S4, said to have been made by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
12 years after its purchase and enjoying his own passion for having a colourful luxurious car, John had to sell the car to pay off his debt in 1977. The car was sold to Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. From October 3, 1978 to January 7, 1979, the car was put on public display at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and then returned to storage at Silver Hill, Maryland. There, the car would remain in storage and kept from public viewing for a while. The reason for this was because the museum could not afford the insurance coverage for public viewing on a full-time basis. In 1985, the car changed hands when it was sold off for 2.3 million dollars at the Sotheby Auction and became the most expensive car of the world.
All cars of John Lennon are now lying in various museums where visitors can glimpse these once under use by one of the most famous musicians of all times. As for the Phantom V, it is lying in British Columbia, Canada since 1993 at 629 Chatham Street in Victoria. Once can visit the car John ordered and painted with all his heart and soul from Monday to Friday.
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  1. John Lennon's Phantom V is owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum and is currently on display in their lobby at 675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC. It is serviced and maintained by Jim Walters, proprietor of Bristol Motors at 629 Chatham St. It is only at the Chatham St address very occasionally when service is needed.