Dubbed ‘Blue Lena’ after his favourite US singer Lena Horne, the Rolling Stones lead guitarist bought the S3 Continental Flying Spur at the height of the Stones’ success in the 1960s. The ultimate grand tourer of its era, and the most expensive Bentley in the range at the time, it was a natural choice for the aspiring rock star.
With sports saloon coachwork by HJ Mulliner, the Bentley – one of only 68 of its type – was bought from H R Owen’s Berkeley Square showroom by Keith in 1965. The car was recorded as being sold to ‘K Richard Esq’, the ’s’ in Keith’s surname being dropped because the Stone’s manager thought ‘Keith Richard’ sounded more rock and roll.
Like ‘Keef’ himself, Blue Lena was involved in several scrapes. Keith has said there was a secret compartment in the frame for concealing illegal substances. He has also said: ‘Three tons of machinery. It was a car that was made to be driven fast at night.’
Indeed so, but after a concert at Knebworth alongside Led Zeppelin in 1976, Keith is said to have fallen asleep at the wheel and hit a tree in the Bentley. It was just one of several accidents for the car.
Keith sold Blue Lena in 1978 (he replaced it with another Flying Spur which he still owns). Several owners and a complete restoration later, the Bentley was one of the star lots at the Bonhams Revival auction and at £763,100 it comfortably beat the top pre-auction estimate of £600,000.