John Lennon once wondered in song, “Imagine no possessions; I wonder if you can?”
Lennon may have imagined such a thing himself, but in practice he had plenty of material goods, including several cars. One of those — the 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Coupe his bandmates bought for him the day he passed his driving test — will be crossing the auction block this summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom.
Although the Beatles paid £6,500 for the blue Ferrari in 1965 (about $170,000 today), Bonhams, the auction house selling the car, said it was expected to bring from $280,000 to $340,000. Ferrari 330 GT 2+2s typically sell for much less.
Bonhams said that other luxury carmakers offered Lennon cars when news broke that he had gotten a driving license, among them Maserati, Jaguar and Aston Martin. Lennon chose the Ferrari, coincidentally less than a month after recording “Ticket to Ride.”
The Ferrari has passed through a few other owners’ hands over the years, changing color to red along the way. The current owner bought the car in the late ’80s, restoring it to its original condition and reconnecting it with its Lennon-era registration number: DUL 4C. The car was nearly auctioned in Paris in February 2011, but its owner withdrew the car at the last moment because, according to Bonhams, “he could not bear to part with it.”
The collectibility of this particular Ferrari rests more upon Lennon’s ownership than the car itself. The Ferrari 330 isn’t as sought after as, say, the Ferrari 250 GTO. But although Lennon only owned the car for a couple of years, Bonhams reported being inundated with calls the last time the car went up for auction.
The car Lennon is perhaps most identified with is the 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V he had decorated with a wildly colored, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band-appropriate paint job. He also owned a similarly-themed 1958 Bentley, but toward the end of his life, he and Yoko Ono cruised around New York City (often with someone else driving, as history details Mr. Lennon as a less-than-inspired driver) in a green ’72 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon.
The Manhattan-scuffed green Chrysler that surfaced in a Long Island auction a couple of years ago (it sold for only $5,500) was purportedly Lennon’s last car, but the seller of an equally unremarkable tan ’79 Mercedes-Benz 300TD wagon auctioned in September 2011 also claimed John-Lennon’s-last-car status.
Unless someone wins the battle once and for all, the last car dispute may never be won. But because Lennon did not pass his driving test until he was in his early 20s, we can be reasonably certain that the Ferrari was his first car.
The Bonhams auction at Goodwood is scheduled for July 12.
Source the new york times