An original design for the repainting of John Lennon's Rolls-Royce Phantom V, 1967,
Lot 447
An original design for the repainting of John Lennon's Rolls-Royce Phantom V, 1967,
£6,000 - 7,000
US$ 9,800 - 11,000

Lot Details
An original design for the repainting of John Lennon's Rolls-Royce Phantom V, 1967,
An original design for the repainting of John Lennon's Rolls-Royce Phantom V,
1967,
cellulose nitrate and oil-modified alkyd resin media on hardboard, framed, 61 x 91.5cm (24 x 36in)

Footnotes

  • A small article in 'The Sun' newspaper, 25th May 1967, reported that John Lennon was to take delivery of his newly-painted Rolls-Royce that day. It could not have looked more different, with its sober, black finish being replaced by a new livery of bright yellow decorated overall with Romany-inspired floral motifs.

    John had taken the car with him to Spain and Germany whilst filming 'How I Won The War' the previous autumn and the journey had taken its toll on the vehicle. In early April 1967, John asked J.P. Fallon Ltd., a coachbuilder in Chertsey, Surrey, about repainting the car. The exact origin behind the distinctive new finish is unclear but it seems that it was Marijke Koger - part of the collective of artists known as The Fool - who suggested to John that it should be repainted in a similar style to the refurbished gypsy caravan that John had had installed in the garden of his Weybridge home. Fallons commissioned local artist Steve Weaver to design and execute the new finish for the car and Weaver's daughter has confirmed that the item offered here is her father's design, as submitted to John for approval. Over several base coats of yellow Weaver applied his concept and it was completed in about six weeks. The car seemed a perfect statement of its time, being unveiled to the public just days before the Beatles' masterpiece recording of 'Sgt. Pepper' was released on 1st June.

    The car was eventually shipped to the US, where it was used, albeit infrequently, by John and Yoko after their move to New York. In 1977 the couple donated the car to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and, as part of a fundraising campaign, the Museum auctioned the car in June 1985. The car sold for more than ten times the expected amount, fetching a total of $2,299,000 (£1.7 million), a world record for an item of rock'n'roll memorabilia. Just over a year later it was gifted to the Province of British Columbia and the Royal British Columbia Museum became the custodian of one of the world's most recognisable cars.

    Background details are sold with this lot, including an issue of the Royal BC Museum's magazine, 'Discovery', February 2006, and copies of Weaver's invoice, 24th May 1967, for work undertaken on the car (£290) and his Application for Registration of Design, 19th June 1967, for the design applied to 'Rolls Royce No. FJB IIIC owned by Mr John Lennon'.
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Similar Items