Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings Tour Bus Headed to Auction: Photos
The Wings bus will hit the auction block from Nov. 16-18 as part of Julien’s Auctions’ “Played, Worn & Torn: Rock ’n’ Roll Iconic Guitars and Memorabilia” 20th-anniversary celebration. It joins more than 1,000 other artifacts including Eric Clapton’s “The Fool” guitar, Kurt Cobain’s “Sky Stang I” guitar and items from Elvis Presley, Prince, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Eddie Van Halen and plenty more.
The Wings van, known as WNO 481, is a 1953 Bristol KSW double-decker bus purchased by Paul and Linda McCartney in 1972. The couple, along with Denny Laine, Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell, used it as the primary tour bus for the Wings Over Europe tour, their first full-scale trek and second overall behind a university tour that took place earlier that year.
The WNO 481 featured psychedelic artwork by Geoffrey Cleghorn, who also worked with the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and the Who. Cleghorn modeled the design after the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album cover. The bus was also outfitted with a children’s playpen on the open-top deck along with mattresses, beanbags and blankets to accommodate the band members’ wives and children.
Wings had a lot to prove in 1972, as McCartney was still operating under the shadow of the recently separated Beatles. That changed with the band’s sophomore album, 1973’s Red Rose Speedway, which topped the Billboard 200 and set the stage for the band’s multiplatinum smash Band on the Run.
Wings ultimately became the bestselling pop act of the ‘70s, scoring 27 U.S. Top 40 hits and five consecutive No. 1 albums.
Wings' 1972 Tour Bus Up for Auction
Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli