Published: September 15, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — She may have famously sung “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz,” but singer Janis Joplin personally drove an unmistakably wild 1965 Porsche 356C 1600 cabriolet. On December 10, Joplin’s iconic Porsche will be offered as a star attraction at RM Sotheby’s exclusive Driven by Disruption sale in New York City.
Offered for sale by the Joplin family, the wildly painted Porsche was driven and actively enjoyed by Joplin and has been a featured exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland for two decades. As Joplin’s sister and biographer Laura Joplin recalls, “Janis drove the car everywhere, all around San Francisco and down to Los Angeles when she was recording there. Wherever Janis went in the car, her fans recognized it. When she parked it and returned, there was always at least one [fan] note under the wipers.” It is expected to bring in excess of $400,000 when it crosses the block.
Joplin purchased the Porsche in September 1968 and decided that the original pearl white finish was slightly too conservative for the Queen of Rock and Roll. She engaged Dave Richards, a friend and roadie with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, to customize the car with a kaleidoscopic mural. Described by Richards to represent “The History of the Universe,” the dramatic artwork included such graphics as butterflies and jellyfish, as well as a portrait of Joplin with members of the band. The finished product was as colorful as the singer’s personality and certainly representative of the era — a one-of-a-kind flamboyant symbol of San Francisco’s psychedelic rock age.
Following Joplin’s untimely death in 1970, the Porsche has remained in her family’s ownership, and was enjoyed by her manager Albert Grossman, who drove it for several years, lending it to visiting family and friends. By the early 1990s, the car was treated to a meticulous restoration, preserving the integrity of the Porsche and presenting the car precisely as it was customized in period.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm