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Janis Joplin’s Psychedelic 1964 Porsche 356 Sells for $1.76 Million At Auction

Musician's wildly painted convertible crosses the auction block.

Any Porsche 356 is desirable to car enthusiasts and collectors, but a very special one sold at RM Sotheby’s Driven by Disruption sale for an impressive $1.76 million. Owned and regularly driven by Janis Joplin before her tragic death in 1970, the 1964 Porsche 356C Cabriolet stands out not just for its provenance but also its unusual paint scheme. According to the auction house, that’s a new record for a Porsche 356 sale at auction.

After Joplin bought the Porsche in 1968, she apparently decided it needed a more eye-catching look. She contracted friend and roadie David Richards to apply a wild mural dubbed “History of the Universe,” with brightly colored butterflies, jellyfish, rolling hills, and Joplin and her band. Joplin’s family kept the car after her death, and in the 1990s it was treated to a full restoration before being exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, for 20 years.

“Janis drove the car everywhere, all around San Francisco and down to Los Angeles when she was recording there,” Joplin’s sister, Laura Joplin, told RM Sotheby’s. “Wherever Janis went in the car, her fans recognized it. When she parked it and returned, there was always at least one fan note under the wipers.”

Other big sales at yesterday’s Driven by Disruption sale include a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM built for Juan Manual Fangio (pictured below) that brought in $28 million. The car was built to run the 1,000-mile 1956 Mille Miglia, in which Fangio finished fourth overall. The car packed a 3.5-liter V-12 engine, and proved durable enough to also conquer the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000-KM race. The car was also later driven by Formula One World Champion Phil Hill.

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