Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Continuing Story of The White Roller

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that I have been trying to learn what happened to John Lennon’s white Rolls Royce (scroll down to follow the developments, and be sure to check out the comments). It seems that once John Lennon began his life with Yoko Ono, he began wearing white clothes (as you can discern from the famous picture to the left). The interiors of his and Yoko’s home, Tittenhurst Park, were predominantly white, the exterior boldly white. White seems to have taken on a symbolic significance for both John and Yoko, perhaps influencing the minimalist design of the two-record set, The Beatles, released late in 1968, typically referred to as “the white album.” Presumably, Lennon felt that his so-called “psychedelic” Rolls Royce was no longer a true expression of who he was, and he (and perhaps the other members of the Beatles) no longer wanted to be associated with the psychedelic era.

So what, then, happened to John Lennon’s white Rolls Royce (EUC 100C)? Eric Roberts, whose dedicated efforts I have reproduced on this blog, is trying to find the answer. We did get a response from writer Mick Brown, who kindly agreed to do some checking around, specifically asking Tony King what he knew about the disposition of Lennon's vehicle. Although Mr. Brown’s reply was posted in the comments to the original blog (below), I have reproduced them here:

I have spoken with the estimable Tony King, who worked at Apple and was a close friend of John’s. He furnishes the following.

“I wish I could be the source of all information but I have no idea where it ended up, although I did use it when I was at Apple to go to lunch sometimes!

I think Ringo had it down at Tittenhurst Park for a while which is where John and Yoko lived and then Ringo and Maureen took it over after John and Yoko moved to the USA.

It also went very psychedelic for a while and was hand painted by Simon and Marijke also known as The Fool who did the outside of the Apple store on Baker St.

It had a loud speaker on the top so you could ask people to cross the road a bit faster which scared the daylights out of them!”

I thank Mick Brown very much for taking the time to ask Tony King about the matter. However, the fact is, Mr. King’s comments have not, unfortunately, determined the fate of the white Rolls Royce.

Eric Roberts responds:

Mick - Thanks for posting Tony King’s recollections about the vehicle. Unfortunately, there are one or two problems with the text. I suspect that Tony is talking about the white rolls (EUC 100C) in paragraph 3, but then, in the last 2 paragraphs, he is thinking of Lennon’s original black Rolls that he purchased around May 1965. As we know, it was this black Rolls (FJB 111C) that was hand painted with Gypsy (not “psychedelic”) designs. And we also know that in 1966 Lennon had a loud speaker system installed so he could chat with his fans without rolling down the windows, or startle pedestrians with a burst of song.

The reference to Ringo is also interesting (paragraph 3). I remember reading (somewhere) that John Lennon originally acquired the white Roller from Ringo, sometime in 1968, I assume. Ringo may well be able to shed light on the matter. Do you have his contacts? Or do you think it’s a blind alley?

Perhaps Yoko might be open to a short question about their famous car. Was it acquired by Stephen Tebo at auction, or was it a gift to Phil Spector? Are you by any chance thinking of a follow-up interview with Spector? In which case, you might slip it into the conversation…?

I hope this is of some help and that you will discover who is the current owner of this historic white Rolls Royce.