Janet Jackson’s Chevy Truck Takes $112,500 in Record Sale
(Bloomberg) -- Last week in Beverly Hills, Janet Jackson auctioned off more than 1,000 signature items from across the span of her career, including the cropped military-style jacket she wore in Rhythm Nation and the black leather pants, bubble shirt, and ankle boots she donned in the Scream music video alongside her brother Michael.
Those sartorial standouts sold for $81,250 and $125,000, respectively, a whopping 20 and 31 times their original estimates, according to organizers of the Julien’s Auctions sale. Even Kim Kardashian got involved, paying $25,000 for Jackson’s If music video ensemble: a black suede crop top with white bonelike decorations and black Western pants.
But it was the five-time Grammy winner’s old truck that provided the most surprising return, at least for those in the car world.
Jackson’s 1956 Chevrolet Series 3100 Cameo pickup reached a record bid of $112,500—more than $70,000 higher than its estimated value and $93,900 more than the $18,600 average street value of the old-fashioned truck. The over-asking-price bid even topped the sale of Jackson’s 2003 Aston Martin V-12 Vanquish Coupe, which went for $70,400, just surpassing its $70,000 high estimate.
The sale set a public auction high for a stock version of the 65-year-old truck, according to Hagerty insurance company’s Jonathan Klinger—an extraordinary 43% premium over the market value of even the most pristine Chevy 3100 trucks, which top out at $78,000.
“This is an excellent example in stock condition,” Klinger says. “In most cases you see pickups from this era being modified, so when an example comes to market like this, it is already highly sought-after. Couple that with the Janet Jackson connection, and you have this new record price.”
The buyer of the truck is Arlan Hamilton, the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in companies founded by women, people of color, or those who identify as LGBTQ. “I did want to give a message to Janet now that I've stopped crying,” Hamilton said in a Facebook video after winning the auction item. “I did want to tell her that she has touched so many people's lives and she really is the reason I am standing here today.”
The half-ton model had been developed by General Motors Co.’s Chuck Jordan, who earned fame as the creator of many of its Cadillacs from the 1960s and ’90s. Jordan built it as an upscale version of GM’s traditional 3100 series, with hubcaps like those on the 1955 Bel Air, chrome taillights that matched the ’54 Bel Air, panoramic glass along the rear, and decadent-at-the-time novelties including interior carpeting, extra chrome, and wide whitewall tires. Its 155-horsepower V-8 engine came with a three-speed manual transmission; the truck’s bed and interior had been painted a vibrant fire-engine red.
The model became popular as much for its daily-driving comforts as for its signature wraparound windshields, hooded headlights, pontoon-style fenders, and egg-crate grilles, but it’s unclear how Jackson used hers. Total miles on the odometer appear to be below 2,000.
There must be something personally significant about the truck for her, though a representative for the singer didn’t respond to a request for comment. In the auction catalog notes, Jackson promised a private phone call with the winning bidder, in which she’d reveal the “personal meaning” of the truck.
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