Janis Joplin Porsche, 1965
Design Photography Inc.
Main Exhibit Hall - Legends of Rock
Janis Joplin paid about $3,500 for this 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet when she bought it from a Beverly Hills auto dealer in September 1968. Prior to the sale, the dealer had painted the car oyster white. Joplin, however, wanted something more dramatic, and Dave Richards, a friend and Big Brother roadie, created this psychedelic design, which includes an image of Janis and Big Brother on the front left fender.
The car quickly became identified with Joplin. Whenever she parked it, fans would leave notes under the wipers. Once, while Joplin was at a gig, the car was stolen. The thief spray painted it gray, but when it was returned, Joplin found an auto shop that was able to recover the psychedelic finish. A few months after Joplin’s death in 1970, her family gave the car to Albert Grossman, Janis’ manager. He kept it in Bearsville, New York, where it was used by visiting artists, friends and clients. In 1973, he returned the car to the Joplins.
The car has been restored several times over the years. Most of the engine and body parts are original. The seats have been re-covered, and the cloth on the convertible top is new. The body was repainted as close as possible to the original design by the Denver Center Theatre Company paint shop in 1994.