- MOTORING NEWS
IT’S a rare chance to grab your own gleaming hunk of Beatlemania.
50 years after the Fab Four embarked on their first American tour – the single I Want To Hold Your Hand sold 1.5 million copies in less than three weeks – and Beatlemania took off Stateside, a part of that success story is coming up for auction.
It comes in the shape of a Bentley S3 once owned by Beatles manager Brian Epstein – and it could fetch up to £70,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.
The car, first registered on February 18, 1964, was Epstein’s first new Bentley and still bears the original AJB 400B registration number.
It is estimated that Epstein, often known as Mr. 25 Per Cent due to his cut of The Beatles’ gross income, earned £75 million in today’s money and spent some of it on buying this car to replace his second hand Bentley S1.
He had ordered it in late 1963, with some assistance from the Beatles’ press officer Derek Taylor, placing the order through R.S. Mead Ltd of Maidenhead.
The car was then collected from the dealer by Taylor and Lonnie Trimble, Epstein’s valet/chauffeur, as he was in the USA with the group.
On February 22, 1964, The Beatles and Brian returned to the UK after appearing on the Ed Sullivan show and Taylor and Trimble were at Heathrow airport to collect Epstein in the Bentley.
Interviewed by Pathe News and asked “I hear that the four of you are going to be millionaires by the end of the year. Have you got time to actually spend this money?” the Beatles replied in unison: “What money?”
And in response to: “Doesn’t he (Brian Epstein) give any to you?” George Harrison retorted: “No, no. Have you seen that car of his?”
George was referring to the new Bentley S3 sitting outside the airport’s Kingsford-Smith VIP suite.
Two years later Epstein sold the car to a company called Sidney J. Dicks Ltd, while subsequent owners include a London solicitor and Norman Boyack, a theatrical agent.
In the same ownership for more than 25 years, the S3 comes with a thick history file, detailing a bare metal re-spray as well as piston ring replacement and engine overhaul.
The file also has copies of the original History Sheet and chassis listing, DVLA and previous-owner correspondence, copies of press cuttings and a copy of the owner’s manual plus a quantity of expired MoTs and tax discs.
The car is currently taxed and MoT’d, and includes a tool kit with jack and spare wheel, though the original radio has been converted to FM.
Chris Routledge of auctioneers Coys, who will be selling the Bentley at their Spring Classics auction at the Royal Horticultural Society in London on March 11, estimates the car will go for between £40,000 and £70,000.
A clip with part of The Beatles interview can be watched here: