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14 July 2017

Here Comes the Sun, no, wait, it's just John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce

By Matthew PritchardMatthew Pritchard
John Lennon said that he always wanted to be an eccentric millionaire and... well... yeah, mission accomplished. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

When you think of Rolls-Royce you get one of two very specific mental images.

The first is of a very serious, formal, beautifully crafted machine, owned by someone who will likely never sit in the drivers seat. A vehicle as bespoke as their suit.

The other is the Rolls-Royce driven by the eccentric, nouveau riche billionaire who picked it up as a way of sticking it to the establishment that told them they'd never be worthy enough to own one.

So which one does John Lennon's Phantom make you think of? I'll give you a minute.

This Phantom is almost as much a part of rock music history as its owner. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub) This Phantom is almost as much a part of rock music history as its owner. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

Today, Rolls-Royce announced the custom Rolls-Royce Phantom V owned by English rockstar, Beatles member, and guy-who-was-bigger-than-Jesus, John Lennon, will be a part of the 'Eight Great Phantoms' exhibition at Bonhams (one of the largest and most well established auctioneers of lovely things you could never in a million years afford). The premiere of the exhibition will also mark the debut of the next-generation Phantom.

We've talked about the 'Eight Great Phantoms' exhibit before, after it was announced that the Phantom IV would be featured.

Lennon had the paint job done to coincide with the release of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' 50 years ago. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub) Lennon had the paint job done to coincide with the release of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' 50 years ago. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

The Phantom will travel to London for the exhibit all the way from the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, with the trip coinciding with the 50th Anniversary year of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Phantom V will be joining the 'Eight Great Phantoms' exhibit at Bonhams on Bond Street. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub) The Phantom V will be joining the 'Eight Great Phantoms' exhibit at Bonhams on Bond Street. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

Lennon said that he always wanted to be an eccentric millionaire and... well... yeah, mission accomplished. You can't buy him love (sorry, I had to do it) but as it turns out he could buy all the modifications he could Imagine (last one, I swear).

The rear seat was converted into a double bed and a TV, phone and refrigirator were installed. Keeping in mind that this was the 1960s when you didn't have a TV, you had a television set, and most of them looked like this:

A throwback to when your TV doubled as a piece of furniture. (Image credit: Jonnie Nord - Image from: Wikimedia Commons) A throwback to when your TV doubled as a piece of furniture. (Image credit: Jonnie Nord - Image from: Wikimedia Commons)

But all of that wasn't proto-pimp-my-ride-y enough for Lennon who also had a floating record player and custom sound system, with external loud hailer, installed.

The paint job wasn't changed until 1967, two years after Lennon purchased it. It was repainted and unveiled to coincide with the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

A close look at the psychedelic paint reveals a floral Romany scroll design. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub) A close look at the psychedelic paint reveals a floral Romany scroll design. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

The Phantom was used to ferry around Lennon's bandmates and rockstar friends, making it almost as much a part of rock music history as the guy that owned it.

If you want to see the 'Eight Great Phantoms' exhibit but can't make it to London you can follow their social media feeds on Twitter and Instagram.

The Phantom is currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub) The Phantom is currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada. (Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars PressClub)

What would your 'eccentric millionaire' car look like? Paint us a picture in the comments below.