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Bonhams to sell John Lennon's first car - A Ferrari

Event preview

THE FERRARI, personally selected by Beatles singer/songwriter John Lennon as his first car, is one of the highlights of Bonhams’ auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester on Friday, July 12, 2013.

In February 1965, The Beatles recorded Ticket to Ride – a song that would become one of their biggest hits, topping both the UK and US singles charts. By happy coincidence, that same month, the news that Lennon had passed his driving test made headlines across the country.

Within hours, the road outside the security gates of his Kentwood home in Weybridge, Surrey, was jammed with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and the Jaguar E-type, as luxury car dealerships – hungry for business – spotted an opportunity to secure a high-profile client.

The singer, by then a father to 22-month-old Julian by his first wife Cynthia, strolled out to inspect the cars and chose a right-hand drive Ferrari 330GT 2+2 Coupé finished in Azzuro blue paint, with a blue interior, priced at £6,500 (equivalent to just over £110,000 in today’s money).

Motor vehicles were to become a passion for Lennon, no more so than this Ferrari, which he used for the best part of three years – until October 1967 – covering more than 20,000 miles.

By the late 1980s, this car (painted red and separated from its number plate) was with the famous Modena Ferrari dealership, from where it was acquired by its current owner. It has since been lovingly restored to its original specification.

Offered for sale by Bonhams with its original DUL 4C registration restored by the DVLA, this matching-numbers* motor car is one of only 500 of its type built and is estimated to realise between £180,000 and £220,000 at the auction. It is being sold with an extensive history file documenting its provenance and restoration, which also includes correspondence with Lennon.

Sholto Gilbertson, Senior Specialist in the Bonhams Motor Car Department, said: “It is a wonderful commentary on the early excitement generated by Beatlemania that John Lennon didn’t even have to leave his house to buy his first car. We are delighted to be offering a car associated with such an icon of contemporary popular culture at the first of our Goodwood series of auctions in 2013.”

*A matching-numbers motor car is one in which the numbers stamped on the engine and the chassis match, and are the same as those originally fitted by the factory during construction.