John Lennon's Mini Cooper
Background History to 1966-1968:
When the Beatles didn't attend a reception with Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos at the Presidential Palace in Manila on July 4, 1966, it caused a furor. The Beatles were unaware that the promoter of the shows had promised that the group would first attend a breakfast reception with the First Lady (Ferdinand Marcos, had been elected President the previous November) and top government officials, along with 300 of their children. Manager Brian Epstein had told the promoter that the group would not attend as the Beatles wanted nothing to do with politics. Still, they remained trusting in the belief that Brian knew what was best for them, they always signed every contracts Brian handed to them without reading a word. John would conclude later, “Manila was Brian’s cock-up, because he’d had the invitation given to him, and declined it, and never told us.” Manila was at the tail end of a two-country Asian tour, which would end up being the last-ever live performances they would ever give outside of North America. After that tour Brian felt personally responsible for putting ‘his boys’ in danger.
On the flight out of Manila, the Beatles decided to break the news to Brian that they were canceling all tours -- and Brian's dream -- forever. The Beatles retired from live performance in 1966, and Brian Epstein found his influence on the group waning. By Christmas 1966 he was paranoid that his future with the Beatles was over. That may be why Four Mini Cooper S cars were ordered by Brian as Christmas presents for the Beatles although it might have been to celebrate the new EMI contract that he had negotiated for the Beatles and to be signed on 27 January 1967. The contract was much better financially for the Beatles and it also stipulated that 25 per cent would be paid to NEMS (Brians Company) for the full nine years even if the Beatles decided not to renew their management contract with Epstein, which was up for renewal in September later that year. Unfortunately Brian died August 27th 1967 of an accidental drug overdose. Just after Brian died, the Beatles created Apple Corps (“apple core”) to look after their business interests. The company, guided more by Utopian intentions than prudent business principles, bled millions of Pounds in self-inflicted losses.
These Mini’s were registered to Brydor Cars right after the Christmas Break, but in England, every business used to close on Christmas eve - Dec. 24th, at midday, and open up again on January 2nd, however Christmas Day in 1966 was a Sunday so all work would finish on Friday December 23rd, and open up on Monday January 3rd. The Minis would be in a queue of cars registered before Christmas, so they would not get touched till January 5th 1967 at the Ministry of Transportation offices. Brian would then wait for them to be mailed back to his office which could take a week or two after the Christmas break and then he would have to transfer ownership from his Byrdor company back to himself, and mail them in again which is why he didn’t get ownership stamped until January 30th. It wasn’t important because these were not documents kept in the vehicles, they only were needed if the car was to be sold.
John Lennon‘s History:
John passed his driving test on Feb 15th 1965, but as Lennon had very poor eyesight, didn’t like to wear glasses and wasn't a very good driver, (he frequently got hopelessly lost or damaged his cars in fender benders), he employed two personal round-the-clock chauffeurs - Les Anthony and Bill Corbett. Brydor Motors was a company started by Bryan Epstein and Terry Doran, who had joined Epstein and the Beatles in London, providing the Beatles with very exclusive cars. Several of the cars that the Beatles drove have become stories told by a handful of photos, registration slips, and sales receipts as well as a few brief quotes in the music press. While details n the past have been scare, the earliest official cars from Brian Epstein were in late 1966 as Christmas presents delivered 5th Jan 1967 (all registered to Brian Epstein as company cars for Tax reasons). Four Austin Mini Cooper S Type models modified by Harold Radford Coachbuilders with luxurious interiors and custom paint. John Lennon's’ Mini from that group has never been found -Until now that is! One of the distinguishing features of the Mini John and maybe Paul had, was a 1/4 inch Guitar jack on the right side of the steering wheel built into the dashboard used to playback tracks they were practicing at home from new Sony units they had purchased or EMI supplied. After Brian died it took months to work out his finances, mostly because he only had a simple will. Much of his holdings may have ended up in the hands of the government.
John and Cynthia Lennon had problems in his marriage to Cynthia, and that reached a boiling point in February 1968 when Lennon drunkenly confessed to sleeping with many other women. From that time John tried to rid of everything to do with his past life, finally getting divorced on Nov. 8th 1968 and from that time John was living with Yoko full time. The next owner George Ciancimino ran an International antiques, contemporary art and furniture company, and Johns Mini was purchased and kept privately until 1973, when it was shipped to Long beach California where it was auctioned off on the docks and bought by the owner of a Lock & Key store on Wilshire Blvd, LA. That Owner kept it within his collection of European sports cars for nearly 11 years until I purchased it in 1984, and then it lived in my home in Flintridge, Los Angeles, and later in our new home in Kapaa, Kauai, as pride of place in my Beatles Museum on Kauai that we had for 15 years. 52 years ago untill now. It is in original condition and has never been renovated. Original mileage of 17,400 miles from new which was 54 years ago.
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