In 1967 British police raided Redlands, Keith Richards’ Sussex estate, finding a stash of pot and amphetamines. With a court case looming, the Rolling Stone’s guitarist decided to “do a runner,” in the words of his 2010 biography Life – that is, drive to Morocco in his 1965 Bentley S3 Continental ‘Flying Spur’, aka Blue Lena, with model Anita Pallenberg, fellow Stone Brian Jones and a couple of friends. “We decided to get out of England and not go back until it was time for the court case,” Richards recounts. Another important decision: “It would be better to find somewhere where we could get legal drugs.” They flew to Paris where Keith’s driver met them with the car and then made their tortuous way to Tangier.
Named in honor of jazz singer Lena Horne, Keith called it “a car that was made to be driven fast at night.” It not only had a built in Philips record player – “I had to keep feeding the goddamn thing with little 45s,” Keith recalls, but also a “secret compartment in the frame for concealing illegal substances…. Blue Lena carried us on many an acid-fueled journey.” It was in the back of the Bentley that Richards and Pallenberg first consummated their relationship as well. One of only 86 four-door Bentley S3 Continentals with coachwork by H. J. Mulliner, Richards kept the car until 1978. Following a five-year restoration it’s now set to be auctioned off at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival Sale in West Sussex, UK in September, where it’s estimated at $620,000 – $940,000. No word on whether Keef might have left anything in the secret compartment….