Here’s proof, if it were ever needed, that one of the finest musical talents the world has ever seen had a great taste in cars – or, at least, he ended up driving one for a family outing in Liverpool on 26 June 1969.
The Liverpool Echo has revealed some fascinating new images of John Lennon with Yoko Ono and children Julian and Kyoko, taken during one of their final visits to Liverpool. The pictures show the family enjoying their trip in an Austin Maxi – surprisingly modest transport for a pop star at at the height of his success.
Lennon owned the car until he crashed it on a holiday in Scotland, writing off the car, injuring himself and Yoko and resulting in losing the custody battle for Kyoko. He had the car crushed and made into a sculpture for his garden.
The pictures have emerged while singer songwriter, Dean Johnson, was compiling his book, The Beatles and Me. Apparently, the book grew out of a Facebook page set up by Johnson to come up with images of John Lennon. Enjoy a slideshow of further images of the Lennons in their Maxi and a Vauxhall Victor on the Liverpool Echo’s website.
If you to know more, Dean will be presenting a special theatrical reading of The Beatles and Me, with music and images, as part of the Beatles week at St. Barnabas Church – where Paul McCartney was a choir boy – on Saturday 24 August at 7.30pm
[Source: Liverpool Echo]
Here’s what Ian Nicholls wrote about the car in April 2006
IT is well known that all four Beatles owned Mini Coopers, but it appears that John Lennon briefly owned an Austin Maxi. The original 1485 cc engined Austin Maxi, complete with its dire cable gearchange, was launched in Portugal in May 1969 to lukewarm reviews.
Sometime between the launch and 29 June 1969, an example was purchased by John Lennon and his new wife Yoko Ono. In this day and age it seems laughable that a member of the world’s biggest musical act would buy a mundane car such as the Austin Maxi – it would be like a member of Coldplay or U2 buying a Rover 25!
We live in an age when Premiership football players have no qualms about buying exotic supercars and flaunting their wealth. However, on the 29 June, John, Yoko, his son Julian and her daughter Kyoko (from her first marriage to Anthony Cox) began a motoring holiday of Scotland.
The Beatles were about to embark on their final batch of recording sessions that would result in the album Abbey Road. However, John Lennon would be absent from these sessions until 7 July 1969. This was because he had a serious car accident in the newly-purchased Austin Maxi on 1 July 1969. The Lennons had visited one of John’s aunts in Durness, Sutherland but disaster struck in or around Golspie that day.
According to one source, John Lennon lost control of the Maxi and drove into a ditch. The occupants were taken to the Lawson Memorial Hospital where John had 17 stitches for a facial wound, Yoko had 14 stitches and Kyoko had four. Julian Lennon suffered from shock. All four were detained in hospital.
The following day Julian’s mother and John’s first wife Cynthia, reportedly angry, travelled up to Scotland to take her son back to London. On 6 July 1969 the Lennons left hospital and flew back to London in a specially chartered helicopter that departed from the front lawn of the Lawson Memorial Hospital. The use of a helicopter was more in keeping with the image of a top rank rock star than an Austin Maxi.
On August 8 1969 the Lennons moved into their new mansion, Tittenhurst Park, in Ascot.
According to many sources Lennon later had his Austin Maxi crushed into a cube and exhibited it on his lawn at Tittenhurst Park, which eventually passed into the ownership of Ringo Starr in 1973 – after the Lennons left Britain on 3 September 1971. In the case of John, it was for good.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.