Janis Joplin’s Car Sells for More Than $1.7 Million
Janis Joplin's old car has a new owner — who paid very handsomely for the privilege.
The car in question, a 1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet, quickly became one of rock 'n' roll's more distinctive vehicles shortly after Joplin purchased it for $3,500 in 1968. Unhappy with the factory finish, she asked her roadie, Dave Richards, to give it a paint job more in line with her colorful personality, and he more than complied with her request, covering the car with a series of psychedelic images that included butterflies, jellyfish, and pictures of Joplin and her band Big Brother on the front left fender.
With those one-of-a-kind wheels, Joplin soon found it more difficult than ever to move around town without being noticed, and although the extra attention was often positive — fans made a habit of leaving her notes under the windshield wipers — the car also attracted trouble: at one gig, the Porsche was stolen and spray-painted gray, and Joplin had to hire a body shop to remove the offending coat and restore Richards' work.
Since Joplin's death, the car has changed hands a few times. Initially given to her manager Albert Grossman, it resided at his Bearsville studio for several years, but was eventually returned to Joplin's family. Thoroughly restored and carefully repainted over the years, it's spent the last two decades on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After deciding to sell it, the Joplin family made the Porsche part of a collectible car lot titled "Driven by Disruption," which Sotheby's put on the block in New York on Dec. 10. CNN reports it ended up selling for $1.76 million — more than three times its estimated price, and a world auction record for this particular model.
"Janis Joplin's 356C is without question one of the most important Porsches of all time," Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby's West Coast Division, is quoted as saying. "It's a fantastic automobile that transcends art, pop culture and social movements, and is as groundbreaking and stunning as the renowned singer was herself."
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