11 December 2015

Joplin’s $1.76 million Porsche the latest in a line of music celebrity classics to cross the block

Rock star Janis Joplin’s favorite car – a psychedelic, multi-colored, hand-painted 1964 Porsche 356C cabriolet – sold for $1.76 million at RM Sotheby’s “Driven to Disruption” auction on Dec. 10 in New York. The sale added more than $1 million to its $400,000-$600,000 pre-auction estimate.

Joplin’s car spent two decades on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it drew plenty of attention thanks to its “History of the Universe” paint job (originally applied by one the roadies in her band) and the public’s fascination with her death in 1970 at the age of 27.

A week before the Joplin auction, Ringo Starr’s 2000 Mercedes Coupe – originally owned by Beatles bandmate George Harrison – went for $70,400 in Julien’s Ringo Starr/Barbara Bach sale in Beverly Hills.

The cars are the most recent in a string of fascinating music celebrity cars that have crossed the auction block during the last several years, most involving members of the Beatles. Here are eight more:

Rod Stewart’s 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV – Sold for $704,000 at RM Sotheby’s 2014 Paris sale.

Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limo – Sold for $396,000 (about $100,000 over the high estimate) at Bonhams’ 2014 Monterey sale. At the time of the sale, the Hagerty Price Guide value for that model in No. 1 condition car was about $150,000.

John Lennon’s 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 – Sold for $548,863 (about $200,000 over the high estimate) at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed sale. Hagerty Price Guide value for a No. 1 condition car at the time was $150,000-$200,000.

Ringo Starr’s 1964 Facel Vega II Coupe – Sold for $512,461 at Bonham’s December 2013 sale in London.

Paul McCartney’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 – Sold for $495,000 at RM’s London sale in 2012.

George Harrison’s 1965 Aston Martin DB5 – Sold for $549,045 at a 2011 Coys sale in London (more than $100,000 over its high estimate).

Frank and Barbara Sinatra’s 1976 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and 1976 Jaguar XJS V-12 – Sold for $82,500 and $11,000 at Russo and Steele’s 2015 Monterey sale. Purchased in 1976 as wedding gifts to each other; he bought the Rolls for her, she bought the Jag for him.

9 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Ken Creamean Denver December 16, 2015 at 17:38
    Who might be interested in my 1979 Ferrari GTS originally owned by the great Roy Orbison? See it on my Facebook page.
  • 2
    Rick B. Escondido December 16, 2015 at 19:06
    Generally, it appears that Hagerty's price estimates were (in most cases) considerably low. Should I look elsewhere to get a true value on my vehicle???
  • 3
    Michel Los Angeles December 17, 2015 at 17:04
    Regarding Janis Joplin's Porsche. I remember seeing it before it was bought. The Porsche was in the same dealership where I bought my Alfa back in '69. Still have fond memories of the dealership and the owners: (Bob Estes - Otto Zipper: Estes-Zipper) on Wilshire Blvd. in BH. Still drive the Alfa (love at first sight for 46 years now). Too bad mine isn't worth the $1.7 M her Porsche was sold for.
  • 4
    Gary L. Green New Kent County, VA December 17, 2015 at 19:10
    Rick B. Jerry S. is absolutely spot-on. Hagerty's does an excellent job of tracking values. Of course, as is the case with all collectibles, it all boils down to what the highest bidder is willing to pay. It makes no difference whether it's a national auction, a locally advertised sale or on eBay. With collectible cars it's generally safe to assume that you will spend more money buying and restoring/fixing it to your satisfaction than you will ever be able to sell it for.
  • 5
    Jerry S. Olympia WA December 17, 2015 at 11:22
    Rick B. Hagerty's price estimates don't account for the price bump given for celebrity ownership. These cars would probably sell in Hagerty's estimate range if they were owned by you or me.
  • 6
    Skip New York December 18, 2015 at 22:03
    What will Paul Newman's Iconic 1979 Champion Datsun 280ZX sell for ?
  • 7
    Tom A Greensboro, GA December 21, 2015 at 10:44
    Classic 1976 LTD KZ 900..12000+miles mint condition..interested?
  • 8
    Chris Cincinnati January 2, 2016 at 08:59
    I own Mick Mars 1976 Corvette. The 425hp engine was built by the late Dick Guldstrand in LA. Famously known as the red Corvette in the band's "Uncensored" documentary in the 80's. Mick owned this car throughout his entire career in Motley Crue. Came with documents and California blue plate "KLRGITR", which stands for Killer Guitar. I think it would be a fantastic item to display, as part of American rock history.
  • 9
    Michael Muller Adirondacks, New York April 20, 2016 at 21:58
    My Uncle Sid owned a 1971 Saab which he claimed was a car once owned by Mitch Miller ( you remember ...the guy who had TV sing a longs in the 1960's) . The car has been handed down in our family and I was wondering if Mitch's former ownership might qualify as star quality provenance and high dollar value for the vehicle. Probably not.... everyone has seemingly forgotten Mitch and his band.

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