Auctions Market News

RM Sotheby’s Will Sell Janis Joplin’s Porsche in December

Janis Joplin's Porsche. COURTESY SOTHEBY'S

Janis Joplin’s Porsche.


RM Sotheby’s, the branch of the major auction house devoted to cars, announced today that it will be selling Janis Joplin’s Porsche as part of its “Driven to Disruption” sale on December 10. As the press release gleefully notes, the sale, which will take place in New York, comes “just in time for the holidays!”

Joplin bought her Porsche in 1968 and, because she deemed its white finish ill-fitting for her radical image, proceeded to ask Dave Richards to paint it with kaleidoscopic imagery. Richards covered the Porsche with a colorful scene meant to illustrate the history of the universe, featuring mountains, trees, airplanes, jellyfish, and Joplin herself. Today the car remains a symbol of San Francisco’s psychedelic scene of the 1960s. (In 1970 Joplin went on to record a song in which she asks the listener to buy her a Mercedes Benz.)

The car will go on the auction with an expected price tag of more than $400,000. Prior to the “Driven to Disruption” sale, the Porsche, which has previously been shown at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, will be exhibited in a gallery at Sotheby’s headquarters.

“Janis Joplin’s 356C is without question one of the most important Porsches of all time,” Ian Kelleher, the managing director of RM Sotheby’s West Coast division, said in a statement. “It’s a fantastic automobile that transcends art, pop culture and social movements, and is as groundbreaking and stunning as the renowned singer was herself.” Kelleher also cited the Porsche as “an important woman’s ownership of a classic car.”

“Besides Janis’s music and legacy,” Michael Joplin, Janis’s younger brother, said, “her Porsche is the most visual and important piece of memorabilia that exists. Like most people and their car of choice, her Porsche is a direct link to Janis. She drove it everywhere—and with everyone that was anyone in the San Francisco music scene—with the top down and her feathers flying. Her music, life, and car are a part of rock and roll history.”

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