PORSCHE PROJECT: Recreation of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic painted 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

03 Apr
PORSCHE PROJECT: Recreation of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic painted 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

The late 1960’s were a tumultuous time. The Vietnam war, flower children, drug induced psychedelic trips, The Rolling Stones and the first man on the moon were the headlines of the era. For a brief moment in time, until her untimely death on October 4, 1970 at the age of twenty-seven, we were mesmerized by a young female psychedelic rocker with a gravelly voice, outrageous costumes and a penchant for heroin and Southern Comfort—Janis Joplin. Joplin’s car epitomized her flamboyant life style.

In 1968, she bought a used white 1965 Porsche 356C cabriolet from a California car dealer. She decided that the car looked boring. She and her friends thought it would be fun to redo the car with a multi color psychedelic paint job featuring symbols of the time – hallucinogenic mushrooms, flowers, butterflies, astrological signs, peaceful mountain scenes, blood on an American flag, a sketch of Janis and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company and much more. Band roadie/artist Dave Richards took the ideas, created and painted Janis’ psychedelic Porsche.

Flash forward to 2005.

Project 356: Recreation of Dave Richard’s paint scheme

for Janis Joplin’s 1965 Porsche.

Michigan Porsche Club of America member Vic Rivera was made aware of the 1962 356 Roadster for sale in Milford that been sitting for eight or nine years in 2005.. The tires were flat and the car didn’t run. Vic saw beyond the dust and dirt and purchased the car on the spot. He refurbished the car mechanically and drove it to Porsche events for the next few years. Vic grew up during the rock and roll years of the 1960’s and was a Janis Joplin fan. As a Porsche enthusiast, he was well aware of the famous Joplin psychedelic 356 which was frequently exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Since he hadn’t cosmetically restored the 1962 356,

he thought it would be fun to re create the Joplin Porsche.

He was friends with fellow Michigan Porsche Club of America member Nick Moskatow, a former creative designer at General Motors, who worked on the Cadillac CTS-V interior and other projects. Nick had never painted a car; however he was a graphic illustrator and had sketched many vehicles.

In the spring of 2009 Vic discussed his idea for the 356 with Nick and asked if he would be interested in taking on the project. At that time the original Joplin car was at The Henry Ford as part of the Cars and Guitars exhibit. Nick went to Dearborn and in thirty minutes took one hundred pictures of the Joplin car from every conceivable angle.


(see YouTube video link above)

To determine if the project was feasible or folly, Vic and Nick decided to experiment by recreating the hood. Vic bought the paint and supplied the work space in his lower level garage/ shop. Nick brought the tools of his trade — paint brushes, black markers, vinyl tape and tracing paper. He made a drawing and then laid it out on the hood and started to transfer the image to the metal panel. With a black marker, he drew faces and clouds on the hood.

Nick Moskatow, the artist works from a photo to re-create Janis Joplin’s 1965

The next step was to apply the paint.

Nick stopped and asked Vic, “Are you SURE that you want it painted?

”Vic enthusiastically replied, “YES!”

Just to be sure Nick asked Vic five or six more times before he started to paint. Using his photographs and supplemented with pictures found on the Internet,

Nick created an exact duplicate ofJanis’s car.

Nick Moskatow, the artist works from a photo to re-create Janis Joplin’s 1965

He used a paint brush 97% of the time and an air brush for the remainder.

He started the project on July 4, 2009.

Each day, Vic, his wife Lucy and his two daughters excitedly followed Nick progress. The project became a family bonding experience and gave them some insight as to Vic’s passion for Porsches. During the difficult parts.of the project, the Riveras constantly offered Nick encouragement which helped him stay focused with the sometimes tedious work.

Forty eight days later, on September 7, 2009, the project was finished.

Porsche 356 VIC RIVERA’S Joplin Roadster

(see YouTube video link above)

The results were perfect! Vic had a unique show piece and the family and Nick were delighted with the results.

Vic Rivera’s 1962 Porsche 356, painted to resemble Janis Joplin’s 1965 model

Two days later Vic and Nick loaded the replica on a trailer to show the car.

(see YouTube video links below)

Porsche Joplin Roadster at 356 ECH 2009

Porsche Joplin Roadster Enters Concours Field at the 356 ECH 2009

Car owner Vic Rivera and pasenger James Constas drive away from the the 356 Registry East Coast Holiday in West Baden Springs, Indiana..

It was the most photographed vehicle and was selected along with nine other 356’s to be displayed in the Grand Hotel under a large atrium for two days. Vic has shown the car several times at the Porsche Club of America Concours .

JOPLIN Porsche Roadster Photo Shoot

and the real ……Janis Joplin’s psychedelic painted 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet made a rare appearance at the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance, on Sunday, May 16th, 2010.

dedesewards | May 18, 2010 |
Janis Joplin’s Story

Janis Joplin’s famous psychedelic Porsche returned to its erstwhile Marin home this last weekend, making a rare local appearance at the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance, Sunday, May 16th, 2010.

In September 1968, the budding rock star paid a Beverly Hills auto dealer $3,500 for the three-year-old sports car. When she bought it, the Porsche was a factory-painted “oyster white.” For a flamboyant singer who wore rose-colored glasses and feather boas, that wouldn’t do. So she got roadie Dave Richards to paint it with swirling psychedelic images, including Mount Tamalpais on one fender and a portrait of her with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, on another.

The singer’s 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet, which she bought when she was living in Larkspur, is usually enshrined in the Rock an…d Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. It came to Marin from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, where it was on loan.

“They used regular house paint,” Michael Joplin recalled. “They were just playing around, saying, ‘Hey, let’s make an art car.’ They were having a lot of fun. It was a convertible, and she would drive it around with the top down. People would leave notes for her on it.”

Beneath her carefree image and gaudy facade, though, Joplin was a troubled soul. And in October 1970, she was found dead of a drug overdose in a Los Angeles hotel room. Michael, 10 years younger, was devastated. “I wanted to be just like her,” he said.

After her death, the Porsche ended up in the hands of her manager, Albert Grossman, who lived in Bearsville, N.Y., and let visiting rock musicians drive it when they were in town.

In 1973, the car was returned to the Joplin family.

“It was trashed,” Michael recalled. It had been sitting in a garage for a long time and it wasn’t driveable. I pushed it down the road to a guy who worked on VWs and he got it running.

My sister Laura and I drove it for the next 20 years.”

During that time, the psychedelic paint job was fading as fast as Joplin’s stardom.

“I would drive along and big chips of paint would fly off,” Michael remembered. “It was an old car, and it started falling apart. It always needed something, and we needed to repair it. After much anguish, we decided to take the paint off to save the car.”

It’s hard to imagine now, but a decade after her death, the memory of the electrifying singer of “Piece of My Heart” and “Ball and Chain” was fading fast in the public consciousness.

“Her fame was waning, and the car became more valuable as an antique Porsche than as Janis Jopin’s car,” Michael said. “Ten years after her death she was an old star. It took a while for her to achieve iconic status.”

It was only when the family produced the play “Love, Janis,” that they decided to have the old Porsche restored. In 1994, it was repainted in all its hippie-era glory.

“We were opening the play in Denver, and we thought it would be cool to put the car in the lobby,” Michael recalled. “So we had the Denver Center Theatre Company’s paint shop re-create the design from the hundreds of photographs we had. After that, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame called, saying, ‘Oh, my God, we have to have that car.'”


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14 responses to “PORSCHE PROJECT: Recreation of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic painted 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

  1. Pingback: Janis Joplin
  2. Pingback: Janis Joplin
  3. Sue Windecker

    July 29, 2011 at 9:17 am

    hi guys I am painting the same art on a VW bug race car,I love the job you did ,I will send photos.


  4. Heather

    October 3, 2011 at 5:35 am

    I am wanting to do this with my Del Sol. I am not a painter-yet! Sue, would you share any hints? Thanks! How bout those photos?


    • Susan Wilson Windecker

      October 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Hey this is Sue I finished the race car and its already been in Hot VW magizine .we strayed from the original combining our Florida hippy Mr. Buffet with Janis’s original paint scheme A sort of Pot head meets parrot head. I flew parrots with the original birds on back bumper,changed the creepy guys on the back to portraits of Mr. Buffet and a laughing Janis. The hood is updated with nicer painting and the sides include the greatful dead bears dancing with a salty parrot,mushrooms and those stenciled guys have beers. My suggestion to you in painting one your self is to include what you love ,the car will mean more to those who are dear to you and maybe the art will last another generation. I will be glad to give you some input if you reply. The bug has reced. And it looks like something jumped out of a Pixar film on the track. And yes it has been bumped. But that’s racing .i will put photos on my face book page and a vidio on Utube


  5. Leon Dagdagan

    October 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I’m restoring my 65 SC and am thinking of having it vinyl wraped in a Hawaiian motiff since it will be driven in Honolulu. Kinda like Joplin’s painting too and would love to have that on my car if I can find stencil for it.



  6. nitin

    December 20, 2012 at 2:03 am

    used car in Joplin
    Great Sometimes i see very nice and easy created blogs but in the most ways they are very usefull like your blog


  7. Greta

    January 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, you did a great job, looks amazing!
    Justa question: Where did you get the pic with Janis, do you have the credits or something? I am searching for those pics ( with the photocredits!) for an important article, please contact me an tell me your your sources!

    Thank you so much!



    July 23, 2013 at 9:56 am

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    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


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    December 25, 2013 at 5:24 am

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