Turns out it wasn’t just her friends who all drove Porsches. This December 10, automotive history and rock n’ roll history will intersect at RM Sotheby’s “Driven by Disruption” event as a unique 1965 Porsche 356C 1600 Cabriolet goes on the auction block. Granted, a Porsche isn’t just any old car. What makes this one particularly interesting, however, is the fact that it once belonged to the late Janis Joplin.
Even without the connection to rock royalty, the 356C is still a compelling car in its own right. The 356 was first introduced in 1948 as Porsche and Germany were pulling out of the post-World War II doldrums, and was the company’s first production car after many years of building race cars. Over the years, the design would evolve from the original 1948 production model. The split windshield would be first to go. The elongated nose would shorten over successive generations, and the rounded front would gradually give way to the more aerodynamic shape that characterized the 356C.
The Porsche 356C would only be produced for the 1964-65 model years. Much of its design would live on, in one form or another, in its successor, the Porsche 911. Joplin purchased her 356C for $3,500 in 1968, and immediately had her friend Dave Richards (who was also a roadie for Joplin’s band, Big Brother and the Holding Company) give it a makeover that would be appropriate to Haight Ashbury. The result, which looks like Grant Wood after a significant dose of illicit horticulture, turns heads to this day.
Janis Joplin’s classic Porsche is expected to fetch upward of $400,000 at auction. If that’s too rich for your blood, come to Porsche of Nashua. We don’t have anything with a custom Dave Richards paint job, but we have the 2015 Porsche 911. It’s the Porsche 356C’s direct descendant, and once you slip behind the wheel, the paint will be the last thing on your mind.