The answer is, of course, John Lennon.
In 1965, the legendary musician purchased a Rolls-Royce Phantom V—then the pinnacle of automobile luxury and the official state car of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth II—from that model year. It was black, according to a written account on web culture site Neatorama.com, from which the following details in this article are derived.
Photo via Beatlebrunchclub.com
Lennon would have a number of important moments with the car. He took it to the premiere of the band's second movie Help in 1965; at the Buckingham Palace in the same year where they'd receive MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) medals from the queen; took it to Spain in 1966 where Lennon filmed his solo film How I Won The War; and who knows how many groupies took a ride in it.
It was spacious after all, having been fitted with a limousine body. It was cozy (the back seat had been converted to a double bed, and it had a TV, a record player, a refrigerator and a phone). And above all, John had the windows blacked out, which Neatorama says makes Lennon "the first person in England to have this feature in his car." It was a a veritable bachelor's pad.
And then Ringo Starr had a brilliant idea one day in 1967: to paint the car in psychedelic colors.
Lennon's chaffeur at the time, Les Anthony, shared the story:
“We were passing the fairground one day and they were admiring the fairground decorations and gypsy caravans. Ringo said why not have the Rolls painted the same way. John thought it was a great idea."
You be the judge:
Great, Ringo. Juuust great.
(Photo via Thesteepletimes.com )
See what happens when you let the drummer decide for the band?
(Photo via Thetimes.co.uk)
We're kidding with the Ringo jokes, of course. We love all Beatles equally.
(Photo via Beatlesblogger.com)
After being painted, the car would go on to create, erm, more colorful memories.
Lennon loaned it once out to luminaries The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and English rock band, Moody Blues. Tax problems would force Lennon to surrender it to the Smithsonian Institute in 1977, which would later sell it to Sotheby's Auction. In 1985, the owner of Ripley's Believe It Or Not and the Guinness World Records, Canadian magnate Jim Pattison, would snap it up for a cool $2.29 million—then the most expensive car sold at the time.
The car lives on today at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, only to be mentioned sporadically on the Internet by websites like us, Mashable, and Car And Driver, who said that Lennon’s 1965 Phantom V was "done up in a paint job that would look right at home on a Philippine Jeepney."
And thus marks probably the only time that a Rolls will be compared with a jeepney.