Groupies. Big hair. Guitars. Booze. Drugs. If you were playing a board game that asked you to describe rock stars without using certain obvious words, these would probably be on the no-fly list. What I don’t think would be on said list, however, is “cars.” It’s much too broad a term, of course, but anybody who’s ever popped a ZZ Top CD into their Discman or spent any time browsing the supermarket tabloids would probably be able to equate the two without too much trouble. I mean, just look at the sleds some of these folks push!
Janice Joplin’s Porsche 356
Recently sold at a Sotheby’s New York auction for over one million pounds, this psychedelic little Porker may be one of the most unexpected star/car relationships out there. Hippie music, with psychedelic overtones and Woodstock? A Pontiac Parisienne wagon or a decommissioned school bus, maybe, but one of the original sports cars from one of the world’s most storied manufacturers? Then again, it does share lots of DNA with the hippie-favorite Beetle, so there’s that.
John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce
Painted like a cross between something the Indian Maharajas would commission for their royal fleet and something any longhair could do in the backyard to an old Pinto, Lennon’s 1965 Phantom V has turned heads across the globe, both during his life and since his death in 1980, the car touring museum exhibits worldwide. It was originally black, but that would never do for no Beatle. So, in 1967, he had the thing painted as you see here. Not that it was universally loved, of course; rumour has it that a die-hard Roller fan actually attacked him with an umbrella for defacing such a fine example of British craftsmanship.
Elvis Presley’s 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60
While many – including myself – would probably picture The King sitting behind the wheel of a ’59 Caddy (it is one of the most famous cars of all time, after all), it’s actually this ’55 model that sits at the Elvis museum in Memphis, TN. It was the car he bought to ferry himself and his band around in the early years.
Billy Gibbons’ Cadzilla
While both halves of the ZZ Top duo could probably have an entire list dedicated to just their cars, the Cadzilla has to be the defining ride. Designed by the late Boyd Coddington, the Cadzilla is technically a ’48 Sedanette, but you really have to look close to see the resemblance. The razor blade rear taillight housings, super-slammed and chopped profile and Salt Flat-style wheels make it seem closer to something Bruce Wayne would have commissioned for his alter ego than something Harley Earl would have dreamed up, even if it was during his heyday.
Kid Rock’s 1964 Pontiac Bonneville
Well, that’s not entirely accurate, is it? After all, the car that featured on Kid Rock’s Born Free album cover was originally designed by Nudie Cohn for Hank Williams Jr. You can see how it fits Rock’s bad boy cowboy-meets-inner city persona, with a six-shooter for a shift lever, and holsters hanging from the seatbacks.
Nick Mason’s Ferrari 250 GTO
Like ZZ Top, we could do a whole list on this particular collection, which includes a stable of Ferraris, a McLaren F1 and more. We’re going with the 250, though, because it’s likely the most valuable (examples like this tend to reach the $20 million range at auction), and rarest. Plus, it looks so great in its classic Ferrari Red with racing numbers paintjob.
The Monkees’ Pontiac GTO (sort of)
If the Monkees were going to get a TV Series of their own, then they were going to need something to drive around in, right? Enter car customizer extraordinaire George Barris, who took a ’66 GTO, added a massive bug catcher, crafted a body kit out of what appears to be silly puddy, added a hansom cab roof and sent those crazy kids on their way.
Dee Snider's Dodge Demon Challenger SRT8
We'll let the lead singer of the Twisted Sisters take it from here: “In 2014, I bought the SRT8, which amped up the power to over 500 horsepower and I had that converted into a one-of-a-kind Demon Challenger.... A good friend once said to me, ‘Your cars are more like Hot Wheels.’ They are. Every car I’ve ever had has had to look like a Hot Wheels. I loved Hot Wheels as a kid and I drive Hot Wheels now.”
Bob Dylan's Mustang Convertible
The first car Bob Dylan ever bought was a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible like the one shown here. Unfortunately, shortly after, a friend of his rolled it down a hill. No one was hurt but the car was totalled (hence the stock photo). Dylan says he sold the wreck for $25. Imagine what that car would be worth today...
Kanye West’s Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss
Sure, Kanye is, by definition, not a rock star. But he certainly carries on in a rock star fashion (albeit without the crazy hair, or much hair at all). Kanye rolled up to an AIDS benefit in Cannes, France in this almost-one-off beauty (only 75 were made altogether) back in 2011. Does he own it? Does it matter? Do stars ever actually own these cars they appear in? Does Kanye know who Stirling Moss is? Did he do it because of the car's rarity? Because it looks good? Because since there’s no windscreen, it makes it easier to see the Louis Vuitton Don, and West just happens to exude a persona of vanity equalled only by his wife? We may never know.