Motoramic

How you can own a car from the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album cover

Alex Lloyd
Motoramic

On August 8, 1969, four British blokes casually strolled across a zebra crossing in London to produce a photo so famous it has been reenacted by millions. The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover boasts no titles or band name. Just a photo. Picture number five in a six-frame shoot.

While John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were as famous as any person could be, and the zebra crossing near the Abbey Road studios now legendary, an unassuming blue Triumph Herald 1200 Estate parked in front of the white VW Beetle just happened to be parked at the right place and time. Now its current owner wants to test just how much a sliver of Beatle history could be worth.

David Golding from Dublin, Ireland, purchased the car from South Western Vehicle Auctions under the descriptor: "This vehicle is believed to appear in picture form on the famous Abbey Road L.P.cover." Based on nothing more than word of mouth passed between the second, third and fourth owners — who were all either neighbors or friends of the original — Golding sought clarification. Despite best efforts, the license plate can't be made out.

After a long search scouring the car's logbook, Golding tracked down original owner Andrew McKenzie only to find he had passed away in 2012. He did, however, manage to connect with his widow; according to Golding, she remembers the car well and put him in touch with her children. One tidbit of information McKenzie did offer is that her husband would routinely wear a tweed jacket.

By enlarging the photo from the official poster, Golding noticed a man appearing to be walking around the car and about to climb aboard. He was wearing a tweed jacket, eerily similar to the one Mrs. McKenzie described. He sent his findings to one of McKenzie's daughters in search of her opinion. Golding says her reply reads as follows: "The man behind the car does look like it could be my Dad."

With this circumstantial evidence, along with everything else he'd learned from the previous owners, Golding felt confident that the car was part of the fabled cover shoot. All correspondence that led him to this decision, Golding says, will be handed over to its new owner.

The car itself, sporting the registration plate NHS 31F, has done 60,000 miles and is said to be in "fair" condition and still "roadworthy," a term that experienced Triumph owners know better than to count on. Golding recently drove the car 20 miles and states that it "runs very sweetly." Without definitive proof of its placement in the album cover, buyers may be skeptical. But Golding does seem to have done his homework. And if true, imagine owning the oddest bit of Beatles history; a car seen by billions and remembered by no one.

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