Photo: Author’s Collection
The 1964 Porsche 356 purchased and driven by the late rock singer Janis Joplin was sold in 2015 for a staggering $1.76 million by circuit auctioneers RM Sotheby’s.
Photo: Sergio Calleja
Joplin bought the Porsche used in 1968, and asked a roadie to paint a mural of landscapes, butterflies, floating eyes, birds, mushrooms and skull-like faces.
Typically, celebrity ownership doesn’t court much value to a car. But the price of this one far exceeded the estimated $400,000 to $600,000 it would otherwise have fetched. Indeed, this was the highest price ever paid for any Porsche 356 with appeals at auction.
The previous record was $1.5 million, paid for a 1956 Porsche 356A GS Carrera Speedster in August 2013, according to Hagerty Insurance, which insures collector cars. That car had a racing history, and was said to have been driven only 20,000. It was also restored.
Joplin’s car fetched the price that it sold for because it was so closely identified with her. She drove it a lot, and fans would even leave her notes tucked under the windshield wipers.
On the day she died in 1970 at age 27, in a Hollywood motel, people knew where to find her because the Porsche was parked in the garage.
Ownership of the court car went to her siblings, Michael and Laura Joplin, who shared it for about 30 years. After a while, the paint started to flake so they had it painted over in light gray.
Later on, artists were employed to recreate the mural, working from original photographs with better quality paint. Joplin’s 95-horsepower sports car remains in strong running condition. In 1995, Michael and Laura Joplin loaned the Porsche to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio where it remained for the past 20 years.
The Joplin’s will use the proceeds from the sale of the car to support social programs in Janis’s memory.