If this blue Bentley could only talk, what tales it could tell about its astonishing adventures with Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones. This was in the swinging ’60s, when the rock star was high on success and any number of illegal substances. The car would transport Richards, his band mates and their collection of girlfriends to gigs and parties, and on the most outlandish of road trips.
Each member of the Rolling Stones had his own statement vehicle. For guitarist Richards, it was a seemingly stately 1965 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur, which he nicknamed Blue Lena in honor of the jazz great Lena Horne.
Now, it’s somebody else’s turn to play rock god and step into the Bentley that saw so much Stones action; the Keith Richards car is coming up for auction at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale, scheduled for September 12 in Chichester, West Sussex, England.
“It was a car meant to be driven fast at night,” Richards said in his 2010 autobiography, Life, which Bonhams quoted in a news release. “My dark blue Bentley, my S3 Continental Flying Spur – an automobile of some rarity, one of a limited edition of 87. Having this car was already heading for trouble, breaking the rules of the establishment, driving a car I was definitely not born in to. ‘Blue Lena’ had carried us on many an acid-fuelled journey.”
The Bentley is known for its role in a famous escapade, the drug-laced motor trip to Marrakech, Morocco, in 1967 with Richards, Brian Jones, model and Jones’ then-girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, and friend Deborah Dixon. Mick Jagger and Maryanne Faithfull flew to meet them there. The trip was seen at the time as a temporary escape by Richards after a hedonistic party at his home was raided by police, which left him facing drug charges.
“Early on in the 1,800-mile journey, Jones, his tempestuous relationship with Pallenberg at breaking point, was struck down with pneumonia and hospitalized in Albi, France,” Bonhams recounts in the news release. “Dixon was the next to go – in Barcelona – leaving Richards and Pallenberg alone in Blue Lena marking the beginning of a relationship which only ended, three children and 23 years later, in 1980.”
Blue Lena continued in the ownership of Richards for another decade.
“Richards sold Blue Lena in 1978, and it has since changed hands just three times,” said James Knight, Bonhams Group motoring director. “Following a five-year restoration, Blue Lena has been returned to its former glory, and will be offered at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale – very near to the scene of that famous 1967 raid – at estimate £400,000 to £600,000 ($620,000 to $930,000).”