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Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 Art Car

Joplin 356 front right

Up for auction on December 10th is Janis Joplin’s 1964 Porsche 356C Cabriolet. For more information please contact RM Sotheby’s here. The Joplin family has decided to sell this 356C and the auction house expects the purchase to exceed $400K! We guess the next owner won’t be buying it because it’s a Porsche, but because it belonged to Joplin.

Joplin 356 seats dash

Janis Joplin purchased the car in 1968. She had friend, roadie and artist Dave Richards paint her 356C. His piece of work is entitled “The History of the Universe”.

Joplin 356 rear

In the ’90s the car was restored. Since 1995 the car had been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Last week the car was pulled from display, so it could be sold.

Joplin 356 int

We don’t know the total mileage on this 356C, but we don’t think that matters much with this one. It appears Ms. Joplin had a thing for an air-cooled rear engine art cars. We believe she also owned a Corvair that had the factory finish painted over by some artists. Are you in the bidding war for this rolling piece of art?




  1. Keith

    Hurry! Someone hand me a paint brush and some paint! I wanna make me a couple hundred grand too!!!!

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    • Mark S

      Up date saw the Joplin car on the news December 11 /15 car sold for $1.8 million.

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  2. randy

    This car should go for 100 million, since the last rust56 went for 152K.
    A cool piece of history though. I hear she is alive and well living with Jimi on an island somewhere.

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  3. Charles

    The Lord bought Janice a Porsche when she wanted a Mercedes Benz.

    She is probably laughing her ass off right now.

    At least this Porsche is not a flaky rusty colored mess, it is sort of cute, and it has a cool history.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I read that when the car was restored, the ‘History of the universe’ was repainted on the car by someone other than JJ’s roadie, based on period photos taken back when she owned the car. I’m thinking that this car being repainted knocks the value down more than normally. But I expect it will still sell for way too much.

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    • dj

      I totally agree. It’s not the original paint and it’s like what the paint looked like. It would be like, we have the Mona Lisa here for sale. My 10 year old daughter repainted it because it needed touching up. I know that’s drastic but a good way of looking at it.

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      • BradL

        The original psychedelic paint wasn’t just touched up. It was flaking badly so they had it stripped and painted gray. It was without the psychedelic paint for many years. The paint you see today is a fairly close replication done circa 2001.

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    • jimmy

      it was stolen and recovered during one of her performances which was spray painted gray and the paint under it was recovered by the artist. Like BradL said it was redone in 2001 when it was gray.

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  5. JW454

    This would be the time to sell this to get the most out of it. Porsche cars are at a high point in the market and, many of the people who know, or care, who Janis Joplin was, are quickly exiting the “big price tag” car market. I think now is the time to strike with this one. IMHO.

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  6. Charlie

    Does that family really need the money? I would have gifted it to the museum long ago.

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    • randy

      So, you’d give away 1.8 million dollars? You want my address? I’d settle for much less. ;>)

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  7. JW

    Looking at that paint job reminds me how glad I was I didn’t get in to the Hippie / Flower Power thing but in to musclecars instead.

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  8. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Oh! I thought I had Janice Joplin’s 356!! Darn, your right! Mine is only a Karman Ghia!! Dang!! (Actually, I just bought this 65 Ghia last summer. It was owned and painted by Portland artist Tom Carter. It is a real fun car that gets lots of thumbs up when you drive it!

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  9. piper62j

    I could swear I’ve seen this car for sale somewhere else.. EBay maybe?? Here on Barn Finds maybe??

    Long term memory starting to go now..

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  10. Trickie Dickie Member

    True Story, I swear: I had breakfast one morning with Janis Joplin and two friends at the Buena Vista Bar/Cafe in San Francisco’s North Beach at the wharf. I was already there with three friends. Janis and her friends walked in and were looking for a place to sit. I waved them over to our table as we had three seats. At this point I didn’t recognize her. They sat down and I resumed my chat with my friends. Suddenly I heard That Voice! She was on my left. I turned to look at her and all she said was………”yeah” ! I said…” I thought so” We chatted briefly. Then she and her friends ordered breakfast and three Irish coffees. I tried to be really cool and attempted to alert my friends to her presence, no luck. Too busy talking politics. Janis and her friends finished, and were getting up to leave. She reached over and gave me a hug and said “Come see me tonight” and I did. She did a sold out two shows at Winterland. Awsome, of course. I then told my buddies what they had missed at breakfast. I got napkins and water thrown on me. BTW, no one else recognized her in the cafe, and she looked like Classic Janis, strange clothes, hair, granny glasses and all! But SF folks are always so cool.

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    • Brad

      What a story!! Fantastic, and glad you can remember it. I hear a lot of folks’ memories of that time are, well… hazy.

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      • Trickie Dickie Member

        Brad, Thanks !! But who could forget details of such a great encounter? TD PS….. Yes, I, too, experienced some “hazy” times then also.

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  11. Charles de Limur

    Was this car in the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland? I saw thia car there and I’m confused as to who would be selling this piece of iconic automobilia? Is th provenance the Museum or was it on loan to the museum until now. Curious as heck if anyone knows… there could be a couple of them out there.

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    • randy

      I read that it was on loan, and the car never left the ownership of The Joplin Family.
      This is absolutely the best time to sell a collector car.
      I could live 3 lifetimes on that kind of nest egg.

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  12. randy

    sold, 1.8 million

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  13. Ronniecarlo

    I think I saw something on TV about a VW bug she owned to. Am I wrong?

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  14. DrGonzo

    Price paid makes you think Janis came with the car…

    @Trickie Dickie: love your story!

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  15. Lee

    Janis Joplin’s Porsche has been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for about 15 years. Just heard on today’s news that it sold for $2 million.

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  16. Norman Otter

    Yup. The re-paint do-over was shown in one of the latest issues of Sports and Exotic. cars. “Hemmings”. Publications.
    So the paint scheme while similar is bogus.
    Still kool tho.
    Heard her Mgr kept it quite a while after her death and didn’t it any favors.

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