John Lennon's Rolls Royce Phantom V: the psychedelic journey of the iconic British car

The story of John Lennon and his Rolls Royce Phantom V is that of a unique and exclusive car that perfectly represents the psychedelic aesthetic of the 1960s. Purchased for £11,000 in 1964, the car was painted entirely in a deep Valentine black and fitted with a bespoke interior, including a writing desk, record player, portable television and refrigerator. 

But in 1967 Lennon decided it was time for a makeover and had it painted in psychedelic colours, creating a work of art on wheels. 

A subversive statement that made this Rolls Royce an icon of the 1960s counterculture.

photo Getty Images
A unique Rolls Royce
The legendary Rolls Royce Phantom V has been owned by several illustrious figures, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother and even Elvis Presley. However, John Lennon's Phantom V is considered a one-of-a-kind car. Covered in a bright, floral psychedelic design, it was a direct testimony to 'Beatlemania' and 1960s pop culture.
Getty Images
John Lennon's purchase
The Rolls Royce Phantom V was one of the most exclusive models of the time, produced in only 514 examples. John Lennon decided to buy one to outbid his then manager Brian Epstein, spending a sum of around £11,000 at the time.
photo Flickr
John Lennon drove poorly and badly
Lennon was known to be a bad driver and therefore hired a bodyguard named Les Anthony as his personal chauffeur once he obtained his licence. Lennon's Phantom V had a black leather interior and luxurious amenities such as a desk, record player, portable television, bar cabinet and refrigerator.
photo Flickr
Source of inspiration
In 1966, while filming the movie 'How I Won the War' in Spain, Lennon took his Phantom V with him and composed the song 'Strawberry Fields Forever' from the back seat of the car. On his return to England, the vehicle needed a new paint job.
photo Flickr
Changes in a subversive era
Not satisfied with the car's elegant black exterior, Lennon decided to shake things up and painted the car with a bright art nouveau design in red, yellow, green and blue with floral motifs and swirls. The decision to paint a classic English car with a design closely intertwined with the 1960s counterculture was a deeply subversive statement. Lennon's modifications to this classic car may have shocked his contemporaries, today it is seen as an icon of the 1960s counterculture and a tribute to the psychedelic aesthetic of the time. John Lennon's Rolls Royce Phantom V is certainly one of a kind.
Informativa ai sensi della Direttiva 2009/136/CE: questo sito utilizza solo cookie tecnici necessari alla navigazione da parte dell'utente in assenza dei quali il sito non potrebbe funzionare correttamente.