Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Magical Mystery Tour?

From the desk of Sean Rodman, Strategic Partnerships Manager at the Royal BC Museum

There's a little mystery linked to John Lennon and his Rolls Royce. Maybe you can help solve it. We've posted before about the amazing Rolls Royce that's currently sitting in the lobby of the Royal BC Museum. We know quite a lot about this automobile. But there is something that we don't know…

First, some interesting facts:
  • the Rolls Royce Phantom V was purchased by John in 1965. It was painted "Valentine's Black" - a flat, matte paint job. But the inside of the car was altered significantly. A bed was installed, as well as a record player, TV, and other rock star trimmings.

  • John travelled to Spain to film "How I Won the War" and brought his car and driver with him. While there, the car suffered from damage to its paint job from abrasive desert sands.

  • Returning to England, he had the car repainted in 1967 with a bright yellow base and illustrations typical of Romany Gypsy style. This was inspired, in part, by a Gypsy caravan that he had recently purchased for his son, Julian, as a playhouse. Here's a great archival video of the Rolls Royce shortly after delivery in its new colours.

And now for the mystery. On the roof of the Rolls Royce is a symbol. Some sources state that this is John's astrological sign: Libra. But the actual marking doesn't really resemble the traditional astrological symbol for Libra. Here it is:

So what is it? Let us know what you think. By the way, we're also on the hunt for his 1967 portable, black-and-white Sony television, or the same model. The original disappeared before we acquired the Rolls Royce. Do you happen to know where we could find it?


  1. If I had to take a wild guess it would be that it's a minimalist portrait of Lennon himself. It doesn't take much effort to see the glasses and long, straight nose.

    Beyond that, maybe it's just a design element with no meaning. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  2. 2 eyes and a nose

  3. The design lay-out may have involed a centerline
    from front to back along the top of the car for a balanced semetry. Its the first thing I would do if I were painting John's car. The top would be an area difficult to reach and work on, equally hard to inspect or view. Ergo a simple design, some busywork that would look OK at eye level. Good luck with the TV.

  4. Dear Mr. Rodman,

    I know this may sound arrogant, but have you though about asking Yoko Ono about this symbol? Just an idea. Regards

    Wesley Coll




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