- A 1965 Ferrari 330 GT owned by John Lennon will be up for auction in July at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
- The Ferrari, Lennon's first car, is expected to fetch the U.S. equivalent of $276,000 to $337,000.
- The car had previously been offered at auction in 2011, but the seller withdrew it at the last minute.
LONDON — John Lennon's first car, a 1965 Ferrari 33GT, will be auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England on July 12. It is expected to fetch the U.S. equivalent of $276,000-$337,000.
British auction house Bonhams had the car on the block in Paris in 2011, but the seller, who has owned the Ferrari since the late 1980s, had a change of heart and withdrew it at the last minute.
Interestingly, the man half responsible for "Baby You Can Drive My Car" didn't get his driver's license until the age of 25. Before the advent of Beatlemania, Lennon had a "Ticket to Ride" the bus, like everyone else. And after the Beatles skyrocketed to fame, he was mostly driven around in limousines.
But on February 15, 1965, just before the recording session for "Help," Lennon passed his driving test. Word spread quickly and, according to Bonhams, "within hours, the road outside the security gates of his Kenwood home in Weybridge, Surrey, was jammed with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and the Jaguar E-type." Luxury car dealers, smelling a lucrative opportunity, had swung into action.
Of all the virtually limitless possibilities, Lennon chose the Azzuro blue Ferrari 330 GT with a blue interior and 4.0-liter V12 putting out around 300 horsepower. He paid the U.S. equivalent of about $10,000 for the car at the time.
Although registered as a 1965, the car was actually built as a 1964 model. Produced for only one year, what became known as the 330 GT Series I was unique for its widely criticized quad-headlight front end. (Edmunds named it one of "The 10 Ugliest Ferraris of All Time." The Series II, introduced in 1965, featured the more popular dual headlights, and production continued until 1968.
During the 1960s, Lennon owned several other vehicles, including a Mercedes 230SL, a Mercedes station wagon, and the famous 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V painted in psychedelic colors. But he was a notoriously bad driver and all but gave it up after crashing an Austin Maxi on a trip to Scotland in 1969 with his son Julian, Yoko Ono and her daughter Kyoko. Everyone but Julian was injured in the crash, and from that point on Lennon almost always used a chauffeur.
Last November, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 owned by Lennon's songwriting partner, Paul McCartney, sold at auction for $495,000. McCartney has owned a series of interesting vehicles, including a special 1965 Radford Mini Cooper S, a 1967 Lamborghini 400 GT, and a custom-built 2006 Cadillac CTS Sport with an animal-product-free interior.
Fellow Beatle George Harrison's Aston Martin, also a 1964 DB5, sold at auction in 2011 for $547,000. George had several other noteworthy cars, as well, including a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and a McLaren F1. Not to be outdone, Ringo Starr owned a rare 1964 Facel Vega, a custom 1966 Radford Mini Cooper, and a 1968 Ford Mustang that was auctioned in 2011 for $43,665.
Edmunds says: It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Beatles weren't inclined to drive Beetles.