That’s because it belonged to Keith Richards in the swinging sixties, a time where each Rolling Stone member had his own statement vehicle that announced the arrival of a rock star – or at least that’s what Bonhams say, the auction house responsible for selling this classical Bentley.
Like I stated before, being a rock star and having a Roller or a Bentley in the 1960s was the ultimate counterculture statement. Just like graffiti, a big luxury barge represented the anti-conformity of aligning with what was considered the “normal established standard” in those times.
That said, this car was bought from new in 1965 by Keith Richards and was affectionately named “Blue Lena” after the legendary jazz musician, Lena Horne. Moreover, the car was later modified with a secret compartment in which Richards and the band could…“conceal” their highly illegal narcotics.
And this isn’t an urban legend, but the truth spoken by Richards in his 2010 autobiography:
"It was a car meant to be driven fast at night. My dark blue Bentley, my S3 Continental Flying Spur – an automobile of some rarity, one of a limited edition of 87. Having this car was already heading for trouble, breaking the rules of the establishment, driving a car I was definitely not born in to. 'Blue Lena' had carried us on many an acid-fuelled journey."
As the story goes, in 1967, police raided Keith Richard’s house right when him and the band where in a middle of a “hedonistic” party where the band was found high on various illegal substances. Richards was charged with possession of illegal substances and in the run up to his court – in order to escape the media – he and the band decided to go on an oversea adventure to a place where drugs were legal – Marrakech, Morocco.
More specifically, Keith Richards and Brian Jones along with model Anita Pallenberg (Jones’s girlfriend at that time) and friend Deborah Dixon, used this exact Bentley in their travels. Moreover, according to Bonhams, Jones was struck with pneumonia along the journey and he was hospitalized leaving Richards alone with Pallenberg in the Bentley for the rest of the trip; needless to say, that marked the beginning of a relationship that ended after 23 years between the two.
Blue Lena was sold by Richards in 1978 and had just three owners since then. Not only that but it comes to the auction block after a 5-year restoration with an estimated price between £400,000-600,000 ($627,280 - $940,920).
This is Car Culture's idea of fireworks—John Lennon's psychedelic 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. Although Lennon could well-afford the car by 1965, he wasn't happy playing the part of a classic wealthy British gentleman being squired about town in a black Rolls-Royce.
Legend has it that Lennon was a poor driver, so the idea of a chauffeur didn't really bother him. Since he was happy to reside in the back of the long-bodied limousine, he ripped out the back seat and had a double bed installed so he could loll about barefoot while listening to his state-of-the-art sound system, perhaps “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”?
Ring Starr suggested that Lennon repaint the staid black vehicle, an idea that Lennon enthusiastically adopted. Lennon hired a group of Dutch painters known as The Fool who repainted the Rolls-Royce to resemble a gypsy caravan.
Where is this car now? Anyone know?