The Beatles’ John Lennon Had a 1956 Austin Princess Hearse With Airline Seats
The Beatles’ star, John Lennon, didn’t ride around in just any car. He had an Austin Princess hearse to hang around in. One of the many special vehicles the musician owned in his lifetime, what information is known about the 1956 Austin Princess? Lennon bought the hearse and used it as his limousine for a few years.
John Lennon modified his 1956 Austin Princess Hearse in some quirky ways
According to a 1987 article from The New York Times, Lennon and Yoko Ono were working on the 1972 film ‘Imagine’ while driving the Princess Hearse hearse around. In fact, it appeared in the promotional film that accompanied the album. The Austin Princess was a pretty popular British limo in the 1950s and 60s, which is how The Beatles became fans. The band regularly traveled in one for various shows and appearances.
The Beatles liked the Austin Princess because the back doors opened to allow the band easy access to the back, even when large groups of fans were nearby. Upon spending time at Ono’s country estate of Tittenhurst in Sunningdale, the couple would travel back and forth in the hearse. The logbooks for this particular 1956 Austin Princess hearse indicate frequent work done at the location.
But regular maintenance wasn’t the only thing done at the estate. Lennon allegedly installed two rows of airline seats in the back to add some extra spice. And yes, Lennon included the ashtrays. John Lennon purchased the Austin Princess many years back from a mortuary in the area.
John Lennon’s Austin Princess has sold a few times
The 1956 Austin Princess has sold a few times since being in possession of The Beatles star. The Type A135 came with an incline six engine that cranked out 125 hp. Since being in the U.S., the hearse comes with a verified and signed registration document. Interestingly enough, the records are signed by “John Ono Lennon.” The car was donated back in 2008 to the Austin Rock & Roll Car Museum.
Back in 2016, the car again went up for auction through RM Sotheby’s. It did not sell at that time. It sold for around $159,000 later in 2017 when it went up for sale through Barrett-Jackson. Generally, the price of an Austin Princess isn’t very high. It was produced between 1947 and 1968, which has this 1956 version right in the middle. If you were to buy one brand new, it would cost about two-thirds the price of a Rolls-Royce at the time.
This was just one of many cars in his collection
According to The Drive, Lennon for known for driving a humble Austin Maxi when he wanted to blend in. He crashed the Maxi during a family trip around Scotland. Lennon also bummed around in his 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Wagon. It was one of his favorite daily drivers and was still in his collection when he died.
The 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V is famous for its transition from all-black to psychedelic yellow. He told the press that the album art for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band inspired him to change it up. From the same year, he also kept a 1956 Bentley S1 in the garage. The whole group owned this vehicle after a group buy of Dandie Fashions came to fruition. Dandie Fashions owned the Bentley and thus, took ownership of the one-of-a-kind Bentley S1.
John Lennon bombing around in a 1956 Austin Princess hearse sounds about as reasonable as anything else. Even with airline seats, this Princess is still making the rounds. Would you buy this classic car?