Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Beatle Motors

I have struggled today to avoid using any clichéd ‘man from the motor trade’ quips to title this piece, however, the net result, given my customary lack of imagination, is the rather poor effort you read above.

Never mind. Should I produce some marvellous piece of prose during the course of writing this I shall retitle the post, delete this paragraph, and none of you will be any the wiser as to the struggles suffered by the poor blogger in the everlasting quest for the LOST WORDS!

Anyway, I digress; I feel compelled to spend a little time bringing to your attention the fact that two major pieces of Beatle related motor memorabilia are due to shortly go under the auctioneer’s hammer. I shall attempt to add a little history and background to this piece so as it will have an on-going sense of relevance beyond the time of writing – June 2013 – and beyond the dates at which these items are auctioned.

It helps also, I believe, to add a little to what we know about the Beatle’s automobiles as they clearly play a huge part in this little drama that we know as the PID hoax. To recap then, the legend goes that Paul McCartney died in a car accident on the 9th November 1966 (9/11/1966), or, alternatively, the 11th of September 1966 if you are American.

I feel the need at this point to launch into an utterly pointless rant about the American date system; so, should you have no interest in the ramblings of a delusional blogger please skip this paragraph. However, how can it be logical to employ a system that goes month, day, year? It is like saying the alphabet should go a, c, b. No, the only way to go is day, month, and year dear reader; clear, concise and logical. So, if the slogan on the Sgt. Pepper drum head that can only be read by producing a mirror image and which then employs both standard and Roman numerals, and, it should be pointed out, a very poor use of tense, is a message that provides the confirmation of, and the date of, Paul McCartney’s death; then that date is the 9th November 1966. Rant over.

Whatever may, or may not, have happened on 9th November 1966 we know for certain that Paul McCartney’s friend and John Lennon’s one time muse, that Guinness child - or that Rothschild dependent upon your point of view - the real Percy Thrillington, the inimitable, and some say Honourable, Tara Browne fell of his gilded perch on December 18, 1966 in an automobile accident that bears a spooky resemblance to the fictional one that purportedly killed our hero.

As the lyrics to the tune that should have been called ‘A Final Day In The Life’ go, “He blew his mind out in a car”, “He didn’t notice that the lights had changed”, and, his car is up for sale. Not the turquoise Lotus Elan in which he died of course. No, that was crushed into a cube and recycled and repainted by Yoko Ono and then displayed at the Robert Fraser Gallery under the amusing title, ‘White Shite’.

Tara Browne and his car of many colours watched by Robert Fraser
No, this car is the AC Cobra that was once painted in a fantastic (their words) psychedelic vision by those ‘60’s masters of hippy trippy vileness; Binder, Edwards and Vaughan, and that was then wedged into the window of the afore-mentioned Robert Fraser Gallery. I am sure that this was done as some groovy Sixties representation of the cars artistic merits and not merely as a display of vulgar wealth or anything as crass as that. It featured, lest we forget, the same BEV design that has adorned Paul McCartney’s Magick piano for nigh on fifty years. He did this; I am sure, as a tribute to the wonder of the design and not as a shrine for a fallen pal or anything.

Seriously though, Tara does have a shrine. It is located at Lugalla, his brother’s country pile in the wilds of Ireland, where it sits as one of three situated on the shore of Lough Tay, next to a structure known as the Temple. Paul McCartney leaves a single red rose there every year before carving the initials L.I.L.Y. onto the headstone. (L.I.L.Y. means Messiah in Hebrew or something.)
Tara's Temple Shrine

The legend goes that little Lord Fauntleroy was travelling with his sometime ‘girlfriend’ Suki Potier that night and, according to the Beatles Bible, he had swerved to avoid an oncoming Volkswagen – I hope it was a Beetle – and in so doing smashed into a van. Tara died of his injuries, however, Suki escaped without a scratch. Indeed, given her lack of injuries and the indecent speed with which she then jumped into Brian Jones’ bed, one may well question if she was present at all that night? Suki died in an actual car crash many years later whilst driving a Ford Karma, possibly.

Add to this the unverifiable rumour from Marianne Faithfull that Tara was off his nut on acid the night he died, and the equally unverifiable rumour that Paul McCartney first sampled LSD with his Irish dandy Tara, then a little frisson of conspiracist excitement should rise to the fore.

Could it be that Tara’s passenger, that fateful evening, was not Suki but Paul? I honestly don’t know and only the dark knight can confirm, however, when I asked his PR people for a response they could only tell me that Paul was at home that night growing a moustache to hide a totally unrelated scar from a totally unrelated motorcycle incident that involved a totally unrelated Tara Browne and that happened nearly a full year before!

Anyway, the king of the Kings Road’s car is now purple and is due to be auctioned on the 29th of this month,  (that’s 6/29/13 for my US cousins) and will set you back an estimated £350,000 to purchase.  How much it would have cost if it still possessed its psychedelic daubings is anyone’s guess, however, at least you won’t be a laughing stock when driving it.

Should you require any further reading about the auction please repair HERE where you will find that they quote my wondrous tome “The Sgt. Pepper Code” which is available from Amazon at a very competitive price!!!

Slightly cheaper at a measly 15 – 20 grand sterling (the car, not the book; that costs mere pennies!) is Brian Epstein’s mini cooper. 

It appears that he took delivery of his motor on 2nd November 1965; just nine days before Tara received his Cobra, when it was delivered new to Brian Epstein Automobiles, trading as Brydor Cars in Hounslow, London. 
Eppy's mini

It appears, according to the blurb HERE, that Eppy was the first of the boys to own a cooper and so impressed were they with his little blue gadabout that they all soon wanted one for themselves. Indeed, a certain Mr J P McCartney from Merseyside was so impressed he bought two. A green one for use whenever a photographer was in sight and an invisible black one that could be loaned to art dealer’s servants whenever drugs needed transporting.

As impressive as that sounds though, Mick Jagger had a cooper with a built in TARDIS feature that allowed six full grown men to fit in at the same time. Seriously, look at the photo above, how can you possibly fit six men in there? 

For those of you with absolutely no idea what I am banging on about now, please click HERE.

Anyway, back to the car belonging to the fifth Beatle, no, sorry the sixth, no, seventh….sod it, the Beatles manager. It appears his infatuation with the car was fleeting for on the 14th November 1966, a little over a year after buying it; he flogged it to George Harrison’s brother Peter for a song. Sadly the song was crap so they gave it to Ringo.

What I find quite remarkable is just how focussed and hard-working Mr Epstein was. Given that at that time he was just nine months away from his own demise, and given that presumably he was speeding off his tits most of the time, Eppy could still find the time to sell his car just 5 days after McCartney’s inconvenient death and when, we assume, he would have been very busy supressing the media and launching global Paul McCartney look-a-like competitions!

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