Rock-And-Roll Car Museum Auctioning John Lennon’s Austin Princess
August 31, 2016
*See the 1956 Austin Princess by clicking the photo gallery above
A rare piece of cultural and automotive history is being auctioned in London by the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum on Sept. 7.
The 1956 Austin Princess was the personal property of rockstar John Lennon. The car, famously used by him and Yoko Ono in the 1972 film Imagine, will auctioned by RM Sotheby’s along with the original title signed by the famous Beatle member..
A portion of the proceeds going to UNICEF in honor of Lennon.
“Since the Austin Princess was donated to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum, it’s been seen and enjoyed by thousands,” said Asher Trimble of the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum. “While it was a difficult decision to part with the car, the natural fascination with all things associated with Lennon-including his cars-means that proceeds from the sale can help fund children’s charities and other non-profit events.”
Lennon’s Austin Princess has an unusual history. The car is prominently shown in the film Imagine, which was created to promote Lennon’s Capitol Records album that shared the same title. Austin
Princess limousines were a popular mode of transport for The Beatles, and a number of them passed through the hands of Apple Records for use by the various band members. It is understood that the large rear door aperture made quick access to the vehicle an easy undertaking; a quality much appreciated when being chased by hundreds of adoring fans, according to the museum.
The Princess is in survivor condition. With original paint and minor restorations, it is mechanically sound and can be driven. The car is still fitted with the five airplane seats in the back that Lennon added to the Austin. It comes with the original vehicle registration/title document, signed by Lennon when he purchased it on Aug. 26, 1971.
The upcoming sale of the car, which was donated to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum from Texas in 2008, is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any serious collector of Beatles or music industry memorabilia. A portion of proceeds from its auction will be donated to UNICEF, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children worldwide and was a favorite charity of Lennon. Other charities set to benefit from its sale include Make A Wish America and Dell Children’s Medical Center, according to the museum.
“It’s very rare for such an important piece of memorabilia from an icon of popular culture be made available to the public,” said Milton Verret, who purchased the car in 2005 and donated it to the Austin Rock and Roll Car Museum. “The piano that Lennon used to write the song Imagine sold for $2 million in 2000 and his Rolls Royce was snapped up for $2.3 million dollars in 1985, making it the most expensive car in history at the time.
“Now the Museum wants to offer this rare vehicle at auction with the hope that it will be seen and enjoyed by even more fans of John Lennon and the Beatles worldwide, while at the same time raising funds for deserving charities.”
Based in Austin, Texas, the museum celebrates great cultural icons. Vehicles in the collection range from race cars that competed at Indianapolis to customs, hot rods and limousines that transported the famous, each tells a story. Musical displays include custom guitars and other instruments.
RM Sotheby’s London sale will be held at the Battersea Evolution in central London. The RM sale is the official auction of the Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle.
For further information on the car or the London sale, visit www.rmsothebys.com.
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