Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me…Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356C

Psychedelic Porsche owned by Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin, rock star legend, may have asked the Lord for a Mercedes Benz, but her unique 1964 Porsche 356C 1600 Cabriolet she bought used in 1968 from a Beverly Hills dealer sold in December 2015 for $1.76 million dollars—certainly good enough for her and Bobby McGee. The auction house RM Sotheby’s expected it to only sell for between $400,000 and $600,000.

Joplin’s 365C Cabriolet features:

  • 95 bhp

  • 1,582 cc

  • OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine

  • Dual Solex downdraft carburetors

  • Four-speed manual transmission

  • Independent front and rear suspension

  • Four-wheel disc brakes

When Joplin bought her Porsche, it sported an Oyster White paint job. However, she decided the color wasn’t at all her style. She asked her roadie and friend, Dave Roberts, to paint it for $500.

At first, Roberts painted it candy apple red. Later, he gave it a month-long paint job and entitled his psychedelic work “The History of the Universe.” The car features Joplin and her bandmates from Big Brother and the Holding Company on the bumper as well as butterflies, an American flag, a smiling sun, jellyfish, eyeballs, a meandering technicolor landscape, and other psychedelic images. The morphing, vibrant images embody the true spirit of not only Joplin, but the entire Psychedelic era.

In 1969, it was stolen when she was at a gig. Because just about everyone in the San Francisco area recognized the car wherever she went, the thief spray-painted it gray. Luckily, the Porsche was returned, and she found an autobody shop who was able to restore her car to the gloriously psychedelic work of art it had become.

The Famous 356c Lives On

A few months after her untimely death in 1970, the car went to her manager, Albert Grossman, where he used it as a courtesy car for visiting artists and others at Bearsville Studios in New York. He returned the car to the Joplin family, Laura and Michael Joplin, in 1973.

Since then, the car has been restored several times. With mostly original body parts and engine, the seats have been recovered, and the soft convertible top is new fabric. While it had been painted Dolphin Gray, the Joplin family realized the importance of restoring the iconic paint job. Denver Center Theater Company’s paint shop did a notable paint restoration job in 1994, recreating the scene from photographs stroke by stroke. Upon Joplin’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH in 1995, the Joplin family loaned her Porsche to be a part of the exhibits, where it remained there for visitors to enjoy, save for a few traveling exhibits, until it was sold.

Consign Your Vintage Car at Woodland Hills Auto Gallery Porsche

If you have a vintage Porsche 365c or other exotic vehicle , consider Auto Gallery Porsche of Woodland Hills’ car consignment program. We appraise the value of your car, get you a fair market value, and take care of all the financing for potential buyers. With a few quick signatures, we can sell your car for you. Come check out our no-hassle process at our Ventura Blvd. location or by calling (888) 216-0592.

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