“I always wanted to be an eccentric millionaire.” [John, The Beatles, Hunter Davis.]
John’s most famous Rolls Royce would have to be the black Rolls he had psychedelically painted - well, this is his other one. This all white Roll Royce Phantom V was bought by John in 1966, from Golden Wheels Garages in Sloane Avenue, Chelsea. Steve Easton was the 18 year old trainee sales director who sold it to him.
Easton found himself sourcing and driving a two-tone black-over-green Rolls-Royce, registration EUC 100C, south to Kenwood, Lennon’s home in the property enclave of St George’s Hill, in Weybridge, Surrey.
There to meet him was [Les] Anthony, [John’s chauffeur] who was followed out the front door by Lennon and Yoko Ono. “They were both very friendly,” says Easton. “Yoko giggled a lot while John took his time looking around the car and then they sat in the back together. I must admit I was quite in awe of them.
“It didn’t take John long to say he wanted the car, but he asked if he could have it in white. When I asked if he wanted it sprayed white, he said no, he wanted everything white, the interior, upholstery the carpets and even the steering wheel. […]
“The cost [£12,000] was more than the price of my first house when I bought it a few years later, so for me as a teenage salesman it was a pretty big thing. Until then the most expensive car I had sold was a £1,300 Fiat.” [Steve Easton, quoted in The Telegraph, 14th September 2016]
John loaned the white Rolls Royce for the film Performance, directed by Nic Roeg and starring Mick Jagger. The photos here show Mick in the back of John’s white Rolls, taken during filming on the 29th October 1968, by Joe Bangay.
John sold the car to Allen Klein in 1969 (reportedly for £50,000) who used it for around 10 years before putting it into storage. When Klein died in July 2009, the car was inherited by his son, Jody Klein who has recently restored it.
(Note: In the interview Steve Easton says he took the Rolls to Kenwood in 1966 and met John and Yoko there, but as John and Yoko only met on the 7th November 1966 for the first time, I’m not sure if that can be entirely accurate that she’d be at Kenwood with him? Possible, but I think either the date is wrong or it wasn’t Yoko he met?)
Pics: 1 - 5. The Beatles pose with John’s white Rolls on 9th April 1969 (the penultimate Beatles photoshoot) at the Madingley Club, Willoughby Road, Twickenham. Photos by Bruce McBroom (?). 6. The white Rolls Royce at Kenwood. 7 - 9. Mick Jagger in Performance, in John’s white Rolls. Photos by Joe Bangay. 10. The white Rolls restored in 2016. Photo courtesy of The Telegraph, by Jody Klein (?).