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Jimi Hendrix Drove a Dune Buggy in 1968, Owned at Least Two Corvettes

Even though Jimi Hendrix sadly never lived to become a truly avid petrol head, he did enjoy driving like a rock star. Pictured here in a Dune Buggy with a unknown lady friend, the legendary guitarist was known to be as unpredictable holding the steering wheel, as he was on stage. Apart from never actually being an experienced driver, Jimi did have one favorite car: the Corvette.
Jimi Hendrix Drove a Dune Buggy in 1968, Owned at Least Two Corvettes 1 photo
Back in the day, rock stars couldn't care less about their belongings as most of them wouldn’t even have their own money. In fact, some of them would rather call their producers whenever they felt like buying something, than actually paying with cash. It was definitely the case with Jimi Hendrix.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in the history of popular music Hendrix was one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.

As rock stars and their cars have always been of interest to many enthusiasts, we figured it could be quite revealing to take a closer look at what the legendary guitarist used to drive.

Before that, however...

Before getting to what exactly Hendrix was driving, let us discuss about the photograph in question. Now, the picture above was allegedly taken on 6th October 1968 and shows Jimi Hendrix at the wheel of a dune buggy. Even though these recreational vehicles were designed in several ways, we’re most likely looking at a Volkswagen Beetle that had its roof cut off and replaced with a fiber glass body kit.

Now, back to Jimi and his Vettes


Before anything else, Jimi Hendrix was renown among his close friends to be quite a bad driver, some even claiming he never actually had a driving license. He did, however, own a few hot muscle cars. His first one was a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette. According to the band’s drummer Mitch Mitchell and his autobiography, the Jimi Hendrix Experience band was on tour in America promoting their second album when the guitarist bought his first car.

It was 1968, they were in Cleveland, Ohio when Jimi and his bass player, Noel Redding, went car shopping. “This was the first time any of us had any money to spend, so Jimi ordered a Corvette Stingray and Noel ordered a Mercury Cougar which he never took delivery of”, Mitchell wrote in his autobiography, The Hendrix Experience.

"Jimi didn't even have a driver's license"


Leon Dicker, the attorney for Yameta Corporation, Jimi’s music publishing company, related the hilarious event of his first ride. “Jimi didn’t have a driver’s license. He drove his Corvette down a one way street and was cited for that offense and not having a license. The next day, he had to return to touring in Indiana so his car was shipped by Michael Jeffery to New York City where Jimi Hendrix live.

A long and busy summer passed and the guitarist finally had the chance to take his car to the road. A friend had brought it to him from New York City to Los Angeles. Mitchell recalls: “One Saturday night we went to see Cream and had a party back at the house. The party didn’t break up until 5 am and at 7 am I got to sleep. I’d heard Jimi’s voice, ‘Guess what, I’ve just crashed my car.’ I thought I’d dreamed that and went back to sleep. Several hours later, I discovered that it was true.

It would seem the first Corvette was bought at Blaushild Chevrolet in Cleveland, Ohio and was a dark blue metallic coupe. The insurance company processed the claim and a replacement car was ordered. This second car was also a Corvette.

Ron Rafaelli and Jimi Hendrix seen together in a Corvette, in 1969


According to PHS Collector Car World, there is footage of Ron Rafaelli and Hendrix together in a silver Corvette, which was shot in Shokan, New York in 1969 and that was Hendrix’s other Corvette.

Vintage car enthusiasts are still trying to identify where Jimi’s Corvettes are today, if they still exist or not. After Hendrix death in 1970, one of his cars was sold by his manager, Micheal Jefferys, to pay off massive bills owed against the Hendrix Estate related to construction.

Some claim there is a strong chance this car still exists today.

 

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