Whoever is heading to the 11th Annual Auburn Auction in Indiana on September 1st this year, will have the chance to not only buy a car but also take with them a genuine piece of rock history. This can especially be a win-win for vintage car aficionados who also happen to be great fans of the legendary British rock band, the Beatles.
According to an announcement by Worldwide Auctioneers, which is hosting the September auction, two of the vehicles they are offering had once belonged to music icons John Lennon and Paul McCartney respectively. The cars are also offered entirely without reserve.
One of the auctioned models is the last car John Lennon ever purchased, a 1979 Mercedes-Benz Turbodiesel Estate Wagon. Along with it, is a customized Morris Mini Cooper, owned by Sir Paul McCartney.
According to Mercedes-Benz, John Lennon’s last vehicle purchase also counts as the first Mercedes-Benz 300TD Estate Wagon model which was consigned and shipped to the United States, on Lennon and his family’s demand.
Documentation that this was the last car Lennon owned is abundant. The car gets multiple mentions in the book by Frederic Seaman, The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir, saying that the Benz was a personal means of transportation to Lennon.
More documentation related to the model includes a copy of the original Data Card provided by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, according to Worldwide Auctioneers.
Lennon picked his Benz roughly two years before he was murdered in front of his apartment building in New York. The wildest of years as a Beatles member were well behind Lennon at this point, as he was largely living a more family-orientated life.
Before the Benz arrived, the music icon used a green 1972 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon, not in the best shape possible though. As a Lost and Found episode which originally aired on History Channel in December 2000 tell us, it was Lennon’s personal assistant, Frederic Seaman, who suggested it was high time he bought a new vehicle.
Accordingly, Lennon and his spouse Yoko Ono opted for the Mercedes-Benz 300 TD Wagon. The vehicle at this point was still not available in the U.S., but it was a manageable issue for someone with a superstar profile. For the sum of reportedly $30,000 (that would roughly amount to $90,000 in today’s money), the music legend expedited the model, shipped to him by the automobile maker from Europe to the States.
Ironically, the first model of this car to arrive in America is now remembered as Lennon’s final car purchase. The Benz was parked in Lennon’s apartment building garage the night of December 8, 1980, as he was approached by his killer, Mark David Chapman. It remained in the possession of John Lennon’s family for six more years after his death.
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The Benz model appears to be in a great shape. The car’s original pale pea green color has been redone in golden beige, and its rims have been upgraded as well.
During the 1990s, Lennon’s Benz was exhibited at the Nashville’s Legends Museum. After 1997, it was transferred to a Toronto-based classic car museum. And as of most recently, it has resided at the Classic Car Museum in Sarasota, Florida, the same museum which also supplies the Paul McCartney’s 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S De Ville, for the same auction.
The Cooper was custom built for McCartney and is reportedly one of only four such customized Minis that were provided to the Beatles. It too remains in great shape, both on the inside and the outside.
Paul’s Mini Cooper originally came with a U.K. registration and it has also appeared in the Magical Mystery Tour surreal comedy TV film. All members of the Beatles starred in this release, which originally aired on BBC1 on Boxing Day, 1967.
Other notable appearances of the Mini Cooper? Paul McCartney has been photographed in it, accompanied by his spouse Linda Eastman sitting next to him, among other nostalgia-inducing photos.
“Both of these iconic motorcars have amazing, documented provenance and both are fantastic symbols of musical, social and automotive history whose value as offered greatly exceeds that of the cars themselves,” said Principal and Auctioneer, John Kruse, in a press release issued by the Worldwide Auctioneers.
He added: “It’s difficult to imagine more celebrated early custodians than John Lennon and Paul McCartney and we’re obviously thrilled to have been entrusted with their sale.”
More than one hundred other cars are consigned at the scheduled Auburn Auction as well. Watch out also for the splendid-looking 1957 Bentley S1 Psychedelic Replica, which sports a marvelous mashup of 14 different colors.
All vehicles can be previewed one day ahead of the auction event. The auction itself will take place on Saturday, September 1st, over Labor Day Weekend. The venue that will accommodate the event is the National Auto & Truck Museum, L-29 Cord Building in Auburn, Indiana.
Stefan A. is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Vintage News. He is a graduate in Literature. He also runs the blog This City Knows.