There are two cars most closely associated with John Lennon: the blue Ferrari 330 GT that was his idea of a sensible first car just after passing his driving test; and the Rolls Royce Phantom V that he decorated to look like it belonged to the king of the gypsies.
But the car pictured here certainly deserves to be mentioned in that company, due not just to the affection Lennon felt for the model, but also for the starring role that it played in the promotional film for the album Imagine.
Do not be put off by the name. You may remember the Austin Princess as a wedge-shaped, British Leyland abomination from the 1970s. But this is a completely different car, having no similarity beyond the attempt by an ailing car industry to wring a bit more mileage out of an old name.
The Princess was the flagship of the now-defunct Austin marque, and Apple Records used several of them to ferry the Beatles around. But this 1956 model was John Lennon’s personal property, and is being offered for sale by RM Sotheby’s along with the original vehicle registration signed by Lennon when he bought the car in 1971.
The Princess was donated to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum in Texas in 2008 and part of the proceeds from the sale will go to charities including UNICEF and Make A Wish America. Prospective buyers will get to enjoy a little touch of Lennon eccentricity with the five aircraft seats that he had installed in the back.
It is not the only car in the sale with a celebrity connection. There is a 1966 Mercedes 300 SE Cabriolet that belonged to the North by Northwest star James Mason. One of Britain’s most successful exports to Hollywood, Mason used the car regularly while on holiday in Europe. Like the Lennon car it comes with a signed vehicle registration document.
“We are honoured to have been entrusted with the sale of these two historically important cars,” said Peter Wallman, Managing Director of RM Europe. “Celebrity provenance doesn’t get stronger than this, and the fact that both cars are accompanied by the original, signed title documents is fantastic. They are very different cars, but each will surely find a delighted new owner at our London sale.”
The 1956 Austin Princess is estimated to reach £250k and the 1966 Mercedes-Benz 300 SE Cabriolet is expected to reach £150 - 200k, and are offered for sale in the RM Sotheby’s London auction on Wednesday 7th September 2016.
Source: telegraph.co.uk Photos: telegraph.co.uk