Janis Joplin's Porsche

Image courtesy Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Janis Joplin's Porsche Breaks Records

| published December 12, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

Janis Joplin’s 1964 Porsche just became the most expensive car ever sold at auction. The convertible car, which was painted in 1968 by her friend and artist Dave Richards, sold at Sotheby’s this week for $1.76 million, or roughly three times what the auctioneers and experts had predicted just days before.

The Porsche 356C was famous in its heyday not merely because it was owned by Joplin at the time, but also for its dazzling psychedelic color scheme, which made it one of the most recognizable cars in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1960s. Joplin frequently drove it around the Bay Area, and also drove it back and forth to recording studios and parties in LA. Fans often recognized the car when it was seen parked along streets in San Francisco and LA, and she told people that she often returned to the car to find letters, notes and flowers from fans attached to the windshield or resting on the hood.

She bought it secondhand in early 1968.

After her death in October 1970, the car landed in the possession of her sister, Laura Joplin, who is now selling the car to raise money for a variety of charitable causes. The car had previously been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, though it sometimes made appearances at museums for special shows and retrospectives.

Joplin—who was born in 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas—had a brief but brilliant career as a singer in the middle and late 1960s. Aside from performing and recording with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, she also wrote and performed as a solo act with other backing bands. She made appearances at the Monterrey Pop Festival and at Woodstock, where her performances are among the most famous in rock and roll history. She also made appearances with, or recorded alongside, the Grateful Dead, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, and the Kozmic Blues Band.

Joplin died on October 4, 1970 in Los Angeles, the victim of a combination of alcohol poisoning and heroin overdose.

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