Janis Joplin: Psychedelic Porsche

Cars People Culture

the rocker's tripped-out Porsche 356

Janis Joplin was a deeply committed, electrifying soul singer who took no prisoners and left everything on stage.

She died at 27, failing like so many other sons and daughters of rock’n’roll, to negotiate the treacherous reef that exists out there in the sea of sellout.

But at least the girl lived. A couple of years before this gutsy woman went over the edge, she bought a pearl white Porsche 356 Cabriolet. And soon the car was transformed into a rolling canvas upon which she would have inscribed her whacked out world view.

According to those in the know the car and its tripped out paint job was a fixture on the streets of San Francisco and had legions of hippie acolytes crowding round wherever she parked. It’s hardly surprising.

On the rear right 3/4 there’s the sun, which represented to Janis her Capricorn sign. The two heads, meanwhile, on the engine cover were supposed to represent everyman. There’s a flower and butterfly-adorned ‘Eye of God’ of course, on the hood. The right hand side of the car represents meanwhile a typically verdant California valley – and down the left are images that evoke her band Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Who knows how Janis and her flower children friends would feel about the car fetching gazillions at auction?

We love Janis and her way of being in the world: what is a car supposed to be if it’s not an expression of your personality?