Prince was what we would call a triple threat; one part instrumental genius, one part singer supreme, and one part fashion guru. Known for his award-winning hits like "Purple Rain," "Raspberry Beret" and "1999," the multi-faceted artist gave a whole new meaning to stage presence and performance.
Born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he started in music at a very young age. Writing his first song at age 7, it was a speedy road to the top from there. At 17 he nailed down a recording contract, and by 21 Prince had a Platinum album.
Prince was known for dabbling in numerous genres of music, including pop, funk, r&b and rock. His aptitude with instruments gave him the ability to jump from style to style. Whether it was guitar, keyboard or drums, you name it, Prince could play it. And his talent didn't stop there.
Prince was like a music making machine. In the mid-90s, he had a dispute with Warner Brothers Records, who he was contracted with. To rid himself of their control, he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol that represented "love," and cranked out 5 records in 2 years, to fulfill his obligations. He then signed with a new label, and put out 16 more albums before his loss in April of 2016.
We also have to mention Prince's eccentric fashion sense. The petite artist was well-known for his gender-bending tastes in style including makeup, high heeled shoes, and conventionally female frills and sparkles. Let's see if his extreme looks have any correlation to the vehicles hiding in his garage.
16 Buick Wildcat
The gorgeous 1964 Buick Wildcat seen in Prince's music video for "Under The Cherry Moon," was actually owned by the star himself. Extravagant as he was, of course prince would have the convertible option. This car was Buick's attempt at competing with GM's full-sized Oldsmobile Starfire, another sporty model that the brand was selling.
The Wildcat was named for the torque its engine put out. Prince's 1964 version had upgrades that the prior years of the car did not.
For instance, the big block V8 engine was the largest of the series, with 425 cubic-inches, giving 360 horsepower with its dual quad carburetors. This most powerful engine was nicknamed the "Super Wildcat."
15 Prevost Bus
Prince stepped up his game in the 90s. Not only did he party like it was 1999, but he toured extensively during those years. Averaging one tour per year to accompany his numerous album releases during that decade, it makes sense that the singer extraordinaire would want to travel in comfort and luxury.
Midway through the 90s he invested in a Prevost tour bus. The Canadian manufacturing company is known for developing high end buses, motorhomes and touring coaches. Prevost opened shop in Quebec in 1924, but was taken over by U.S. owners in the late 60s. By the time Prince bought his tour bus, the company had partnered with Volvo to supply a superior engine.
14 Ford Thunderbird
While shooting his "Alphabet St." video for the 1988 album Lovesexy, Prince’s production team chose a 1969 Ford Thunderbird as the featured car. Jump forward a few years to the 90s, and Prince bought himself a 1993 Ford Thunderbird.
Possibly inspired by what he used in the music video, this is the less cool version that your grandma from the Midwest would be seen driving.
Definitely not as flashy a ride as you would expect from the unconventional celebrity. It shares the name with its predecessor, and the mid-size car actually has pretty good performance, especially if you’re rolling in the manual Super Coupe.
13 Jeep Grand Cherokee
There's car guys, motorcycle guys, and then there are Jeep guys. With Prince's diverse interests in music, it's no wonder he also had diverse taste in the vehicles he drove. Being originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota may have had an impact on his decision to buy a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee (maybe for some winter driving in below freezing temperatures).
Not the most reliable vehicle in the bunch, Jeeps have developed a cult following. But Grand Cherokees tend to have inferior performance to other off-road style SUVs. Jeeps already come with their problems, but this model was the first made by Chrysler, and many will begrudgingly admit that's the vehicle's biggest fault.
12 Purple Rain Hondamatic CM400A
Purple Rain is the name of not only a song, but an album and a feature film to accompany it. The 1984 movie was a semi-autobiographical story and won an Academy Award for it's score, all pulled from the album of the same name.
Prince's character, a singer trying to escape a rough home-life, rides a custom, flashy, purple Honda CM400A.
That's right, it was the same type of bike used in the later film, Grafitti Bridge. We can assume these bikes were chosen for Prince not only because of their iconic look, but also because of the bike's size. Prince was only 5'3" and the smaller design of the Honda was a good choice for the petite celebrity.
11 Lincoln Town Car
It seems that no star's collection would be complete without a Lincoln Town Car, and Prince was no exception. After his death, it was discovered that Prince had 67 gold bars in his possession, valued at $840,000. So a luxury sedan makes sense for a star who could afford to be chauffeured in style.
The 1997 Town Car was just what Prince needed to travel in luxury to and from recording sessions. These high-class cars shared design elements with the Ford Crown Vic and Mercury Grand Marquis. The 97 was the last of its generation and included features like climate control, wood trim and rear seat vanity mirrors (ideal for Prince to check his eyeliner before a show).
10 BMW 850i
With his loss at the young age of 57, many were shocked to hear that the singer had no will. Much of his estate and belongings went to probate in 2017, including all of his cars and motorcycles. By looking at the list of his possessions drawn up, it's obvious that Prince dug BMWs.
One of several was a 1991 BMW 850i. When the 850i was release, it was kind of a let down to Bimmer enthusiasts. But let's be honest, the 90s were a rough time for a lot of cars (ahem, Camaro). In hindsight, the car has become a classic and a head turner, and really was one of the better-looking cars of the 90s. His music video for “Sexy M.F” also used an 850i, possibly the same one he owned.
9 BMW Z3
In the mid-90s, Prince started having trouble with his record label, Warner Brothers Records. He believed they were stifling his creativity as an artist. As a protest to the label, he went out in public with the word "slave" written on his face, and he changed his name to a symbol. In 1996, he wrapped up his contract with the label, and bought a new car (perhaps in celebration).
The new Bimmer in Prince's bunch was the 1996 BMW Z3. This two-door coupe seems more fitting for Prince's style. Its showy, fast, and the epitome of 90s Roadster. These cars were popular in their time, and are still desirable now.
8 Cadillac XLR
Cadillac is nearly 120 years old, and with over a century of success in the luxury market, it’s no wonder that Prince was a fan of the brand. Often marketed to a more mature generation, Cadillac has made a few efforts to appeal to a younger audience. Prince’s 2004 Cadillac XLR is a great example of these efforts.
The XLR's fuel injected V8 combined with the 5-speed auto transmission and lockup torque converter gives the car more powerful performance than other Caddys.
The luxury coupe achieves 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Not too bad when you’re also getting nearly 30 miles per gallon. And the added feature of a retractable hardtop is a nice touch for the younger crowd.
7 Cadillac Limousine
In 1985, Prince was hot on Billboard’s Top 100 with the release of his album Around The World In A Day. The biggest single was the chart-topping “Raspberry Beret,” which came in at number 2. This was also around the time when he started production for his second feature film, Under The Cherry Moon.
Gaining more and more notoriety, no pop star's life is complete without a limo in which to evade the paparazzi. Prince had his own 1985 Cadillac limousine. The probate documents don’t specify the make of the limo, but based on the time frame, our best guess is that he owned a Fleetwood or a DeVille.
6 Plymouth Prowler
In 1999, Prince signed with a new record label, Arista Records, and released a new album called Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic. Prince, then known as the "love" symbol, collaborated with stars like Gwen Stefani, Eve and Sheryl Crow. Prince was always a big proponent of female artists, and often performed with them. Unfortunately, the album wasn't received well, with poor reviews and confusion about the mixed-pop genre.
Just as confusing is the 1999 Plymouth Prowler he purchased that year.
From the brand that brought you the Barracuda and the Roadrunner comes an awkward attempt at an affordable "sports car." Is it a Plymouth? A Chrysler? Not very fast, and not much to look at, no wonder the car wrapped production after only 2 years.
5 Bentley Continental GT
Prince wasn't just a songwriter for himself. The multi-talented artist also composed and wrote lyrics for other major stars, including Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Celine Dion and countless more. In 2006, he collaborated numerous times with other artists for performances and recording sessions. He also promoted a new album, 3121, with an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
According to the probate court that assembled the documentation for Prince's garage, he owned a 2006 Bentley. They didn't specify the type, but based on the year, we're led to believe it was a Continental GT. Just as Prince partnered with other musicians, Bentley partnered with Volkswagen. The Continental was the first car produced under the joint venture.
4 Buick Electra 225
Prince had a long career that spanned over decades. His numerous album successes provided him with 8 Golden Globes, 10 Grammys and 11 MTV Video Music Awards. Just like Prince, a car in his garage was such a success, it was in production for nearly 40 years.
We're unsure of what year Prince had bought, but we'd like to guess that his Buick Electra 225 was from the 60s. The 225s from the 1960s are arguably the best looking, and the best selling of them all. Popular amongst vintage car collectors, the aspirational brand provided a luxury car that balanced styling, comfort and handling, and pulled a profit for years.
3 BMW 633CS
1984 was a huge year for Prince. This was when he went on tour to promote one of his most famous albums, 1999. One of the instantly recognizable songs from the album, "Little Red Corvette," had a music video that put Prince into competition with Michael Jackson. That year, they were the only two black artists whose videos aired consistently on MTV.
Fans are generally sad to find that instead of a little red Corvette, Prince primarily had Bimmers.
Another Bavarian car he owned was a 1984 BMW 633CS. This classic car with its straight 6 and its sporty styling was (and is) a popular collector car for the "young-timers."
2 Lincoln MKT
The TV show Glee became a huge hit among fans of the musical-comedy genre. The episodes told the story of a collection of high school misfits who covered famous pop songs at show choir performances and competitions. One of the songs used on the show was Prince's "Kiss." Unfortunately, the tv show didn't follow the proper channels to use the song.
Prince was upset by the cover and stated in an interview, "You can’t go and do your own version of Harry Potter. Do you want to hear somebody else sing 'Kiss?'" And then he sped off in his 2011 Lincoln MKT. Okay, so that last part isn't true, but he did drive the luxury SUV the same year that the Glee controversy unfolded.
1 Little Red Corvette
Although Prince never owned a sporty, red Chevy, the story behind the song "Little Red Corvette" does stem from his experience in a car. According to Lisa Coleman, one of Prince's bandmates in the 80s, the lyrics were inspired by a 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder.
As the story goes, Prince helped Lisa buy the car at auction in 1980.
After recording sessions that went into the wee hours of the night, Prince would occasionally catch some Z's in the backseat of her car. Little Red Marauder just doesn't have the same ring as Corvette, but that's why Prince is the musical genius.
Sources: bmwblog.com, usfinancepost.com, rcars.co, wikipedia.org