The psychedelic Porsche 356C 1600 convertible owned by rock legend Janis Joplin has sold at auction in New York for NZ$2.68 million – around NZ$2m more than the estimate.
Auctioneers RM Sothebys said it was the most paid for a Porsche 356 at public auction.
Joplin bought the 1964 model secondhand in 1968. It was painted silver/gray before she got a roadie with her band Big Brother and the Holding Company to turn it into one of the first ‘art cars’.
He painted the entire exterior with a variety of motifs, including a landscape across the passenger side, butterfly on the driver’s door, a rainbow connecting two faces at the back, and an eye on the front.
Joplin called the mural ‘history of the universe’ and drove the car regularly in California before she died from a drug overdose in October 1970.
She recorded the song ‘Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz’ only two days before her death. The lyrics continued … ‘My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends …’
Joplin’s brother Michael and sister Laura later owned the car but repainted it gray again. The story goes that they quickly realised their mistake and got artists to recreate the mural from the many photos of the car.
In 1995, they loaned it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, where it has been until this week.