Janis Joplin’s 1964 Porsche 356, Nicholas Cage’s 1967 Ferrari 275/GTB 4, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz “gullwing” 300SL and a 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 are among some two dozen vehicles to be showcased in “The Golden Age of Sports Cars, 1949-1967,” a special exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
The exhibit opens October 1 and runs until April 2017.
The exhibit was assembled with the help of two guest curators, museum director Michael Spezia noted: Tom Kayser, who spent a decade as director of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and then held the same title at the Gilmore museum of another decade, and John Lacko, who started his photography career covering events at Martin US-131 Dragway and for 20 years was published in the Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper as well as in Time magazine, numerous books and several museum exhibits.
“Just after WWII, many returning American servicemen brought back a variety of sports cars they had discovered in Europe,” the museum noted in its news release. “These small cars were ill-suited for a family and were often uncomfortable, but they offered an exciting experience to drive.
“American car manufacturers quickly recognized the enthusiasm and potential market and by the early 1950s, they had introduced American cars to compete. The Chevrolet Corvette debuted in 1953, the Kaiser Darrin arrived in 1954, and the Ford Thunderbird was introduced in 1955.”
The museum notes that Joplin’s iconic and psychedelic-painted Porsche will be on loan and displayed only for the first 10 days of the sports car exhibit. The car was the rock singer’s daily driver for many years and was retained by her family after her death until it was sold at auction last year for more than $1.75 million.
Another car with star provenance is the 1967 Ferrari 275/GTB 4 formerly owned by actor Nicholas Cage. Meanwhile, the 427 Cobra that will be part of the exhibit is one of only 30 street versions of the famed Shelby racer.
The sports car exhibit is sponsored in part by the Mad Dogs & Englishmen British Car Club.
Here’s the complete list of cars:
1954 Porsche Speedster
1955 Mercedes Benz Gull Wing
1956 Austin Healy 100 LM
1956 Jaguar XK140 FHC
1956 Mercedes Benz 300 SL
1957 Jaguar XKSS
1958 Morgan Plux 4
1958 Triumph TR3
1959 MG Twin Cam Roadster
1960 Austin Healey Sprite Mark I
1961 Jaguar XK-E
1961 Maserati 3500 GT1962 Lotus Elite
1963 Corvette Split Window
1964 Alfa Romeo Guilia
1964 Porsche 356
1966 Shelby GT 350
1967 AC Ford Cobra
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta
1967 Porsche 911S
The Gilmore Car Museum is midway between Chicago and Detroit, around 15 miles northeast of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
For more information, visit the museum website.