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Monday, 11 February 2019 23:18

On the Lighter Side: Psychedelic Celebrity Cars of the 1960s

Written by Ian Harvey, The Vintage News
Janis Joplin's Porsche Janis Joplin's Porsche Sam Howzit CC BY 2.0



About six months after he took possession of the car, Lennon wanted alterations done. The back seat was equipped to fold out like a bed, an imaginative music system was added that played records and reel to reel tapes while the car was in motion, and a horn was installed that played the Marlene Dietrich song Lili Marlene.


By 1966, the Phantom had clocked up close to 20,000 miles and desperately needed a paint job. Lennon contacted J.P. Fallon Ltd. and told them what he wanted.


The body was painted yellow, and designs were painted on by Steve Weaver. Floral panels and elegant swirls covered the car in many colors, and Lennon’s astrological sign, Libra, was painted on the top.


The car naturally drew criticism from the older generation, much to his glee. The colorful Phantom was replaced by a pure white Phantom V as Lennon matured into the White Album days.


The psychedelic Rolls was shipped to New York for Lennon’s use there, but he mostly loaned it out to his friends or kept it in storage.


In 1977, it was donated to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum at the Smithsonian Institute, and, five years after Lennon’s death in 1980, the museum auctioned it off through Sotheby’s.


It was purchased by Canadian businessman Jim Pattison for $2,299,000 and is now at the Royal BC Museum in Canada, where it is occasionally displayed.


We thank The Vintage News for reprint permission.

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