Where is he gay today? National Car Parks Brewer Street Garage, WC1
Stupid for many reasons, but mostly because you need to park the car when you get there. A berth in one of the capital's classier garages reflects the price of the real estate on which it sits. Guards change as regularly as at Buck House down the road, and with almost as much ceremony. Bespoke services cater to a gentleman's every motoring need. The lodgings ain't cheap, but that keeps out the riff-raff, dunnit?
Thus we found ourselves rubbing elbows with the aristocracy, or at least, denting their doors.
Since Munich is no stranger to classy sheet metal, we could overlook the Maserati Quattroporte and row of Aston Martins. What first caught my eye was a rare Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe; the cryptic message on the number plate suggests a chap named Ken wants to sell it for a mere 25 pence.
But glance to the left, and we see another Phantom. A vastly more expensive one, it seems.
I was blown away. Could it be the famous "Psychedelic Rolls", once owned by John Lennon? If you've read previous posts, you'll know that I've written about this car already, along with the other limousines the legally-blind Lennon used while his Beatle pals drove sports cars.
Psychedelic, of course, is a misonomer. A gypsy wagon, which Lennon had comissioned for his son Julian's 4th birthday, inspired the design on the coachwork.
Lennon took delivery on June 3, 1965. It came finished in matte black, including rims and chrome, anticipating the current fad for matte paint on cars by at least half a century. Thus kitted out, the car made its most famous public appearance: taking the Fab Four to see the Queen to collect their MBEs, the first honour on the road to their eventual Knighthoods. Well, for three of them, anyway.
Lennon soon grew bored with the Evil Empire look, and in 1967 ordered new livery. It shocked many. Little old ladies would attack it with their umbrellas in the street, cursing it as blasphemy against all that Britain held dear.
JOHN LENNON'S ROLLS ROYCE
Lorne Hammond's official history of the car tells its subsequent story:
In 1977 John and Yoko needed a tax break and donated the car to a branch of the Smithsonian , plucking a hefty $225,000 off their taxable income. The Smithsonian seldom showed it—they couldn't afford the insurance—and put it up for auction in 1985. Christies expected to fetch little more than the original sum for which the Lennons wrote it off. The car surprised everyone by pulling in a hefty $2,299,000, a world record at the time.
We noticed a discreet sign touting the Ripley's branch in nearby Piccadilly. So this incredibly valuable car was sitting in a public car park? Believe it...or not!
Not! I put it to you, your Honour, that this car is a forgery!
An excellent forgery, but a forgery nonetheless. Like all counterfeiters, they forgot a single detail. The number plate.
If you grew up a Lesney kid, you'll know that British numberplates started out in a simple alphanumeric sequence: ABC 123. When those ran out, they reversed the order: 123 ABC. With both of those options exhausted, the Ministry of Transport had no choice but to add an extra digit. For the year 1963, all cars registered wore an "A" in the final column. 1964 cars sported a "B", and so on.
The plate on this car clearly reads DVB 341B, which marks it as a 1964 model. According to Dr. Hammond, Lennon's 1965 Phantom sported the chronologically correct numberplate FJB 111C. Mr. Pattison gave the real thing to the Royal British Columbia Museum, where it can be seen until the end of this month. This car, clearly, is a cheap publicity trick! Bravo. I work in advertising, so I am in favour of that sort of thing.
The car seems to be following us. At the Mensing Gallery in the Altstadt we sawthis work painted by (if memory serves) German artist Paul Thierry. Funny, I always thought Brian Epstein was the fifth Beatle.