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

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

Summer Reading Club program kicks off at Nakusp Public Library

Kids can sign up for the program online or at the library

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Claire Paradis joins Nakusp Public Library as new library director

Paradis said main goal is getting library back open to the public

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read