Around 50 years ago, Sir Paul McCartney decided to take his band on their European tour in style. Turning things up a notch, they decorated an open-top bus in psychedelic colours instead of travelling in a conventional tour bus. Most of the members of Wings had families so, in an attempt to travel in comfort, they had mattresses and bean bags installed on the top deck.
The tour bus was found in Spain and is to be sold at auction in the UK at Omega Auctions. Paul McCartney put out a plea in 2017 to try and locate the old tour bus and it now looks like it will fetch anything in the region of £15,000 to £25,000 at auction today in Merseyside.
“We painted the outside psychedelic, like a magic bus,” he said. “If you look at it very straight, very conventionally, it was quite a mad thing to do, to put a playpen on the top deck of the bus and put all the children in there while driving around Europe.
“It was not what you’d expect from a normal band. But we weren’t a normal band.”
The bus ended up in a cafe owner’s back garden after the tour and was left to waste away. “I went to visit them about 10 years ago and saw this thing rotting away in his back garden,” Justin James, the current owner, told BBC News. “I said, ‘I want it.’
“I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just thought that it should not be rotting away on the wastelands of Tenerife. It took eight years to bring it back (to Oxfordshire) because it was in such a difficult part to get to, how it was buried in this field. We got cranes and I managed to get it back.”
Mr James has spent around £25,000 on the bus, if it manages to pull in anything more than that at auction he says he will donate it to Arms Around the Child charity, of which he is a trustee.