John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce on display at Royal BC Museum

Jan. 27, 2020 – People carefully wheeled in John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce into the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Jan. 27, 2020 – People carefully wheeled in John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce into the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff) Jan. 27, 2020 – People carefully wheeled in John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce into the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Jan. 27, 2020 – People carefully wheeled in John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce into the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Jan. 27, 2020 – People carefully wheeled in John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce into the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Jan. 27, 2020 – Al Carter (left) and Tom Munro helped to maintain n John Lennon’s famous Rolls-Royce. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Staff from the Royal BC Museum wore white cotton gloves as they gently manoeuvred a massive, three-tonne vehicle into their lobby.

The 1965 Phantom V Rolls-Royce belonged to none other than John Lennon, making it one of the most popular – and certainly the most expensive – items to ever come into the museum’s collection.

“The car always generates a lot of excitement, enthusiasm and inspiration,” said Paul Ferguson, collections manager for the history division of the RBCM. “For some, apart from the music, this is as close as you can get to John Lennon in British Columbia.”

Lennon ordered the car in 1964, and received it in 1965 as an all-black vehicle. To celebrate The Beatles’ release of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, he had it custom-painted bright yellow with Romany-inspired designs.

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

B.C. businessman Jimmy Pattison bought the car in 1985 for more than $2 million, and donated it to the province in 1987, allowing it to make regular visits to the museum ever since.

The paint, while dazzling, has been tricky for museum conservators.

“It’s one of our most challenging items in the collection,” said Kasey Lee, conservator at the RBCM. “It was painted by an artist and not a vehicle detailer using a paint that’s not necessarily going to last in the winter.”

This means staff need to be exceptionally careful with the exterior, avoiding polishing cloths or any contact with the body except on the chrome bumpers. It also means the use of minuscule paint brushes to maintain any details.

ALSO READ: Remains of local mother orca and calf reunited in upcoming exhibit at Royal BC Museum

On the mechanical side, the car needed some loving.

“It was poorly maintained, it sat for a long time and with the fuel from sitting, carburetors were jammed,” said Tom Munro, a mechanic with Coachwerks Restoration. “It needed some electric work and we looked at brakes, but it purrs like a kitten in a creamery now.”

Al Carter, another mechanic with Coachwerks said it was special to be able to work on the car.

“I find it a bit of a thrill… I was in England and I remember the car being done like this, back in the day,” Carter said. When asked if he ever thought he’d work on the car he laughed. “Oh absolutely not. That’s the thrill of it, it’s such an iconic car that you feel a little bit of love for it.”

The Rolls-Royce will be on display for free at the Royal BC Museum at 675 Belleville St. until the end of February.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Arts and EntertainmentcarsRoyal BC Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

More wildfire smoke to fill the Okanagan

The smoke is coming from wildfires in California but is expected to be much lighter

Kicking Horse Culture announces Live Kicks fall line up

Live Kicks will return for the 2020-21 season, with Kicking Horse Culture… Continue reading

Netflix star Francesca Farago seen hanging in the Okanagan

Farago got her big break as a reality TV star in Netflix’s ‘Too Hot to Handle’ in 2020

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Documentary to celebrate the Shuswap’s music scene

Local initiative to feature several of the region’s artists

Guns seized in relation to southeast Kelowna murder investigation

RCMP seized several firearms from a West Kelowna home on Tuesday

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Okanagan man accused of attacking two young boys back in court

Brian Lamb will remain behind bars until at least Oct. 14

Most Read