Market Finds: Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 is For Sale

Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 is For Sale

By Michael Banovsky
September 15, 2015
12 comments

In many ways, this is already the perfect Porsche: it’s been owned by a single family for decades, has been well cared for, and is one of the most desirable 356 models. But, wait—what kind of paint job is that?

On any other car, its hand-painted psychedelic mural would have long since been concealed—in fact, a thief once tried to do just that—but Janis Joplin’s 365 was far from normal. After her album Cheap Thrills became a hit, the used Cabriolet was bought in Beverly Hills, quickly becoming known across the California music scene.

Customized by her roadie and friend Dave Richards, this work is titled, “History of the Universe,” and sees the car reimagined as a sort of psychedelic turtle, carrying all of creation on its back. In other words, it’s groovy.

Formerly on long-term display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on loan from Joplin’s family, it’ll be auctioned at RM Sotheby’s Driven By Disruption sale in New York on December 10. Are you cool enough to drive The Queen of Psychedelic Soul’s Porsche?

via: http://rmsothebys.com 

Image Sources: rmsothebys.comjakescarworld.blogspot.ca

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Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
6 years ago

It’s certainly got a great history it will be interesting to see what this makes at auction. Hope whoever buys it keeps the paint intact.

Of all these cars the ultimate rock ‘n roll car has got to be Keef Richards Bentley ‘Blue Lena’. That made £760k last week what an incredible history that car has and it certainly added big premium.

Jim Bair
Jim Bair
6 years ago

Oh Lord, she may have wanted a Mercedes Benz, but someone got Color TV all over her Porsche (probably during a night on the town). 😉

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Jim Bair

It was the 60’s … things were different back then [ have a look at the cover art for the album in question ” Cheap Thrills ” ] … not always ‘ better ‘ …. mind you …. but very very different indeed .

” What a long strange trip its been ” … and getting stranger by the minute

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

… FYI .. if anything this would of been the result of one tab too many .. not a night on the town ..

as in …. ” Go ask Alice .. when she’s ten feet tall ” .. or to put it another way … some of Dr Tim’s magic elixir

Brad Letney
Brad Letney
6 years ago

It’s not the same paint job. From a distance it looks the same, but look at the details, and it’s definitely different. I would need documentation to prove it’s the same car.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Brad Letney

Right off the bat and without getting into the minute details and one of the problems [ other than the license plate ] I had the last time JJ’s 356 showed up here …. the paint job is way too fresh and shiny to be the original . I’ve seen the original .. spent a lot of time with it [ thanks to a few industry connections ] … examined it from nose to tail back in the 70’s .. again in the 80’s with a quick revisit in the 90’s and I can promise you that paint job was faded .. worn … somewhat chipped and even missing a bit here and there . So either some idiot mistakenly repainted the goram thing ….. [ a truly stupid thing to do if they did ] ….

Or this aint what its being purported to be .

And to be honest .. after the major league cock up with the ” Easy Rider ” Capt America bike that happened with a certain prestigious auction house who’s name I shall not mention … as well as three other major incidents with cars and bikes since then … along with the multiple incidents in the art world ?

As I’ve said before unless I’m buying it direct from the original owner I’d be very suspicious about any cars so called provenance these days

George Guba
George Guba
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

It says “restored” in the ad. Obviously clear coated as well. What other changes?

carbuildindex
carbuildindex
6 years ago

Wallace Wyss wrote an interesting feature about the car on our site where he goes more into detail about its history than RM Sotheby’s does. Turns out the car was stolen while she was on stage in San Francisco and the thieves painted it battleship gray with spray cans before it was recovered and returned to her, then was loaned out to musicians after her death by her former manager…
http://tinyurl.com/q7xyguh

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  carbuildindex

Whats interesting is even the somewhat better write up on WW’s site admits hardly anyone knows which car truly was and/or is Janice’s and which one isn’t . One of the biggest problems being 1)no one is clear as to exactly where she bought it and 2) there is absolutely no documentation … e.g. sales receipts .. CA DMV records …. nada to back up the claim that this or any other 356 was hers . Toss in the many purported paint jobs over the years … the questionable passages of ownership /possession etc .. And then there’s the case of the constantly evolving and ever more polished paint job

And you got yourself a bonafide case of Buyer Beware … cause the provenance is questionable at best .. on the very best of days … by even the most confirmed/deluded optimist .

In all honesty … my choice would be to purchase a Beck 356 replica … hand it over to my local art institute / college … turn them loose on the thing dong something entirely original and mine [ with a bit of personal supervision ] …. all while supporting some young up and coming artists in the process

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Bingo.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
6 years ago

I’m not usually one for cars that once had celebrity owners and really don’t see why people want to pay millions for cars once owned by Steve McQueen, but I have to say this is very cool.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

99.999\% of the time I’m right on board with ya Mr Lange … but this one is special . Not so much for who owned it as for who painted it and why and the fact that it exemplifies the very essence of what the 60’s and especially the 60’s music scene was all about . In my never humble opinion this car transcends Star Car and is elevated to Art Car status that happened to of been owned by a star . But I’ll say no matter the price once the gavel hits the podium it’ll still be grotesquely over priced in the end .

” Oh lord .. won’t you buy me … a Mercedes Benz .. ”

Oh wait … he already did ! 😉