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I have been busy with other stuff and just saw Nancy’s wonderful Beatle Cars post. As a fan of 60s sports cars and the Fabs, I have just too much to say for a comment. If you want to afford any of these cars, you can try your luck winning a bucket-load of cash on sites such as 해외정식사이트.
John’s 1965 Phantom V—For example, did Nancy mention that Lennon’s famous psychedelic Rolls had a backseat that converted into a double bed? (I foresee no problems at all with that, Cyn.) And also the first blackened privacy windows seen in the UK (ditto) but a totally recognizable paint job? If that doesn’t epitomize John Lennon’s relationship to fame, I don’t know what does. One of Lennon’s customizations in his Rolls was a floating record player with perfect balance, so that it could be used regardless of stops and bumps. The better to boom out “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” I guess. There was also a refrigerator; the thing weighed three tons—put a toilet in there, and John would never have to leave. The horn also played “Lili Marlene.” Les Anthony drove him all the way to Spain in it to film How I Won The War; that fucked the Rolls up to the extent that it had to be overhauled (and made into the perfect psychedelic chariot as any fule kno).
Ringo’s Standard Vanguard—This is pre-Zephyr Zodiac.
Ringo’s Zephyr Zodiac—This is a bill for repairs after Ringo jacked up the grille hitting a dog. (I can’t imagine the dog survived, poor thing.)
George’s 1955 Ford Anglia—George had this car when he passed his driver’s test at age 17. People say it was the first car he ever owned, but given the financial circumstances of the Harrison family, that would puzzle me.
Ringo’s 1964 Facel Vega—Ringo bought this “right off the stand” at the 1964 London Auto Show.
George’s 1964 Jaguar E-type—Supposedly bought for George by Brian Epstein as a 21st birthday present. Probably my favorite Beatle car ever. One of the things I love about Santa Monica is there are several E-types that cruise around, kindling my ambition. Unfortunately, my vision is probably worse than John Lennon’s.
Paul’s 1966 Aston-Martin DB6—Nancy mentioned this, but what I found interesting was that it was Paul’s “daily drive” during the Sixties. Beautiful car; it was good to be a Beatle. Astons were popular with the Fabs—Paul ordered a DB5 in June 1964; George liked Paul’s so much that he ordered one himself.
John’s 1967 Iso Fidia—This Italian sedan designed by Ghia (of Karmann-Ghia fame) was billed as “The World’s Four Fastest Seats.” According to this article, “The second Fidia made, and the first with right hand drive, was purchased by John Lennon. This was October 1967, at the London Motor Show.
Paul’s 1968 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2—A rare right-hand drive, purchased in early 1968.
John’s 1970 Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman—At the time John ordered it, it was the most expensive car in the world. Only 428 of these were made, and the interior was sweet as well. There’s a definite “dictator” vibe to this car; perfect for a guy battling paranoia. He sold it to George in 1971, when he and Yoko left for New York.
And an honorable mention…
John’s 1971 Austin Princess Hearse—Big and luxurious, and John supposedly outfitted it with aircraft seats for comfort.
I went all over the internet looking at Beatle cars, but here’s a great one-stop source:
Paul McCartney Supercar Bio
John Lennon Supercar Bio
George Harrison Supercar Bio
None of them owned one of these?
OH MY GOD the cleaning instructions note from George!!! Please everyone read it immediately. There’s a twist at the end! 😉
That was my favorite, too. 🙂
I have mixed feelings. It’s cool to see them with those cars (hey, we all helped pay for them!) and it’s great they defied the British class system and enjoyed the success they worked so hard for.
But at the same time, seeing them posing with those cars… to me, it makes them look less Beatley… more ordinary, more American. I suspect I’m being unreasonable as I type this, but I’ll continue.
Striking a proud macho pose next to a car is something I’d expect from Jan & Dean or the Beach Boys. Elvis. When the Beatles do it… somehow their magic is diminished for me.
Hard Days Night Beatles on a European train with private compartments… those are the Beatles in my head (the young people call this headcanon). MMT Beatles on a South East England bus, too.
I guess I should understand that the Beatles loved all things American, like John having a TV on day and night to replace the traditional warm and cozy British fireplace, so it shouldn’t be surprising they embraced our car culture.
@Sam, I think it’s sweet that these guys, who were so much cooler, still retained some warmth for American culture. It reminds me that they were real people.
And thus I’ve achieved Peak Internet Commenter status.
I think they would have looked so much cooler in a Vocho!
Lennon was an absolutely terrible driver, and I don’t think it was solely because he didn’t want to wear his glasses. He had that crash in 69 with Yoko and I believe he was wearing his glasses then, and would’ve been wearing his contacts beforehand during his other road misadventures.
It took him until 25 to get his license. I remember reading (possibly Anthology) that when he did drive he would wreak havoc on the car itself and it would need maintenance pretty much immediately.
Being able to drive is usually something most young men absolutely can’t wait for, it’s a rite of passage, it’s independence…many become certified “car guys” (as George was)
John absolutely never cared for it it seems.
@Dave, I am a huge car guy whose vision is just *that much* too poor to drive. Pity me. 🙂
I love the idea that not only was John a terrible driver, he would wreck the car internally–it’s amazing that a guy dextrous enough to be a professional musician apparently couldn’t drive stick.
I’ve always wondered if this dexterity thing is the real reason he had “no reach” on guitar or whatever it was Jack Douglas said. He attributed it to John having small hands, but John demonstrably did not have small hands. So maybe it was a nimbleness issue instead.
I have a short-scale Rickenbacker 325 and I can tell you John did not have big hands. I have medium-sized hands and slim fingers, and even so above the fifth fret or so, the fretboard is a squish. There’s a reason why 3/4 Ricks are Lennon-fan only.
John had enough reach to do all the Chuck Berry pinkie-stuff, and I broke my left pinky and can’t. So he wasn’t elfin; he could play that Casino fine, and it was a full-sized guitar.
Yea I’ve heard that small hands stuff too, and on the subject a weird quote from Paul popped in my head regarding John having “beautiful hands” which I just can’t make heads or tails of…I guess he could’ve meant his hands produced beauty or did he mean physical beauty…
Anyway apparently John’s father I’ve heard somewhere between 5’2 and 5’4, and his mother 5’1. Not bad that Lennon made it to 5’10.
@Dave, Alf and Julia — that’s probably malnutrition.
I’ve heard that about John in general — that he had “beautiful skin,” that “light seemed to pour out from him.” I once had a Eastern medicine person talk to me about that, but he wouldn’t go into details.
I have a half-assed theory of my own about that. I don’t know if it’s supported by science or not.
I think childhood trauma affects the development of fine motor skills. (I don’t mean a motor car.) For example, Robert Benchley (whose childhood was distorted by the loss of his beloved brother) wrote about his inability to pick up change from a counter (his fingers froze and he fumbled trying to pick up coins), replace the ribbon on a typewriter, carve a turkey… he couldn’t cope with anything requiring manual dexterity. And yet he had no trouble playing mandolin and banjo.
And I think it goes beyond manual dexterity into spacial and numerical concepts. I remember a 1967 interview with Lennon (it’s somewhere on youtube) where he’s asked how big his house is. Before he attempted an answer, I thought to myself “He won’t know!” and sure enough he admitted with a laugh he had no idea. Another kind of mind would have immediately said “It’s 7,645 square feet!”
No wonder Lennon wanted Yoko to deal with financial management. All those numbers and contracts and legal language must have made him anxious.
Benchley’s last will and testament was one short sentence; he basically offloaded all decisions to his wife. He couldn’t deal with accountants and the IRS and banks. It was too much for him.
Again, it’s my half-assed theory, but I think when early trauma diminishes the “practical” parts of the brain, the creative, visual, musical and verbal parts of the brain swell to fill the void.
That’s a very interesting theory; also recall that Benchley was such a drinker that he died of cirrhosis after just 23 years of drinking alcohol. That’s Lennon-esque levels of discomfort.
The lived-with fact of childhood trauma is fear, and it doesn’t surprise me if a brain constantly bathed in fear displayed just the kind of developmental quirks you put forth.
PS — I know Benchley’s grandson, and the resemblance is strong. It’s a bit unnerving to speak to Nat, seeing as I do his grandfather’s face.
That’s interesting about John. Paul drives well but seems to have difficulty in judging speed (even before weed!). Paul disclosed this information to Diane Paul in her book “Living left-handed” (either 1990 or 1998 ed.) That he was never actually made to write with his right hand, but for some time he wrote back to front. He remembered the masters yelling and screaming at him for his mirror writing. The funny thing though, that in referring to “masters”, it suggests that it was a problem in Paul’s secondary school years, not at 5-7 years, which would be more typical. He also had earlier problems learning to ride a bike, pedalling backwards. He’d get frustrated and say he was right and everyone else was wrong! Both his fine motor and gross motor skills seem to have been affected. Yet he could play the guitar easily and was good at mathematics. Perhaps it was something John and Paul instinctively understood about each other without knowing why. I’ve also noticed Paul runs funny, his limbs are all over the place. I wonder if he had some form of developmental dyspraxia growing up? Just a theory, as I don’t know enough about it. Or it could be that something happened to him as well?
‘John’s first car’…a Ferrari. Love it! Surely the most ‘rock star’ of the Beatles; ditto for the Rolls.
I’d be curious which of those vehicles was the one that John, George, Pattie and Cyn drive back from the club while on an acid trip. With George gripping the wheel terrified and going exactly 18mph or whatever snails pace it was
Dave, wasn’t it George’s Mini?
Great fun post!
Boys an their toys.
Informative post, thank you! Do you plan to write more posts like this? About Martin’s or Brian’s cars? Like here, for example: http://thefifth.tilda.ws/brianepstein
By the way, I recently found information about an auction where Brian’s Bentley was present, but unfortunately lost the link. Oh, and there’s a MOT expired. I always thought cars like that were like show models these days.