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

One woman arrested in Abbotsford on Sunday after stabbing

25-year-old man sent to hospital with serious injuries following incident

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Most Read