Prince was one of the most popular and entertainers around. When we lost him in 2016 at the young age of 57, it was devastating. He was one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and eclectic performers of all time. He was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and filmmaker. The petite, five-foot three-inch firecracker had more oomph and allure than people three times his size. He was known for his wide vocal range, extravagant and flamboyant style, and his skill on the guitar, piano, drums, bass, and keyboards.
After he passed away, an inventory of his estate was submitted and came to public light, showing the world a list of possessions that was as eclectic and varied as his own musical styles and tastes. Some of the most interesting items on the list included: 12 Twin Cities properties that were collectively worth about $25 million, another $110,000 spread out over four bank accounts, and 67 gold bars that were collectively worth around $840,000!
One of the other snippets that was included in the Carver County District Court document was the details of his car collection. Let me forewarn you: his collection is not what you’d expect. It’s definitely not as extravagant as the man himself, though it is full of collectible and awesome cars. Some of the cars on the list are recognizable from videos and movies featuring Prince.
After looking at this car list, your mind might wander and wonder what Prince should have owned—but didn’t. Of course, this is completely arbitrary but there are a few particular cars (ahem, mostly purple ones) that we think he should have put in his collection.
Here are 13 vehicles Prince owned, and 5 he should have.
You might have expected more limousines in Prince’s collection considering how often he drove around in them (and especially, considering his lifestyle). Back in 1985, Prince was one of the hottest acts on the planet, with his Around the World In a Day album reaching the Billboard Top 100. His biggest single, “Raspberry Beret” reached Number 2. He also started production on his second feature film, Under the Cherry Moon, around this time. And he also bought his own Cadillac Limousine in order to hide and avoid paparazzi—but in style. Based on the timeframe, this was probably either a Fleetwood or DeVille.
Undoubtedly the weirdest car Prince owned, but somehow the one that seems the most appropriate for his character, is his 1999 Plymouth Prowler. The now-defunct car company had a veritable hit when the Prowler first came out, before people realized it was much too weird to be a mainstream game changer. He purchased the Prowler the same year that he signed with Artista Records and released Race Un2 the Joy Fantastic under the “love” symbol, collaborating with stars like Eve, Gwen Stefani, and Sheryl Crow. The album wasn’t received well, much like the strange Prowler he bought. But if there’s any car whose color scheme matched Prince’s, it was the original purple Plymouth Prowler.
The oldest car Prince owned was a 1964 Buick Wildcat. This car was first seen in his “Under the Cherry Moon” video. Prince, of course, chose the convertible option for his Wildcat. This car was Buick’s attempt to compete with GM’s full-sized Oldsmobile Starfire, another sporty model that the brand was selling. The Wildcat was named after its big block V8 engine, which was the largest of the cars’ series, with 425 cubic-inches and 360 horsepower with dual quad carburetors. This engine was named the “Super Wildcat,” and gave rise to this awesome, sporty muscle car. This seems just like the kind of car Prince would be riding around in.
Okay, maybe Prince didn’t choose the best model of a Ford Thunderbird to own. It wasn’t exactly the 1969 Thunderbird that was featured in his video “Alphabet St.” from the 1988 album Lovesexy. But it is a Thunderbird, nonetheless. This 1993 is definitely not as cool as the big hunk of metal from 1969 or as flashy of a ride as you might expect from Prince. The 1993 Thunderbird was really a mid-size car with reasonable performance (140 to 210 hp), that ran on a 3.8-liter or 5-liter V8 (for the Super Coupe). Nowadays, you can get a used 1993 Thunderbird for about $2,000 or less.
Prince had a very diverse backlog of music and that sort of reflected in his diverse interest in cars. As noted from the strange things he owned, he was a very eclectic individual. All we can say about the 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee is it tended to get pretty cold in his homeland of Minneapolis, Minnesota, around the winter time, so maybe that’s why he got a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Jeeps have developed a cult following (much like Prince himself), though Grand Cherokees tend to have slightly more inferior performance than other off-road SUVs and even other Jeeps. The new 2019 Grand Cherokee is pretty sweet, though!
Many stars during the 1990s owned a Lincoln Town Car and Prince was no exception. This luxurious ride made sense for a person who loved to be chauffeured around and who liked to get around in style. It’s not exactly a Bentley or Rolls-Royce but it was still a reliable mid-size luxury vehicle that could get Prince from point A to point B. These cars shared design cues from the lower-end Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis. The 1997 was the last of the second generation and included a wood trim interior, rear seat vanity mirrors, and climate control. Nowadays you can buy a 1997 Town Car for about $6,000 or $7,000.
The Cadillac XLR was a pretty awesome luxury car that was popular when it first came out for the 2004 model year so Prince owning one is not surprising. The car was based on the Chevrolet Corvette C5 after GM transitioned to the C6. The XLR was foreshadowed by the Evoq concept and was the first Cadillac with radar-based adaptive cruise control (ACC). The engine was a 4.6-liter Northstar that delivered 320 horsepower, allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. It also got 30 mpg, which is pretty great. The car was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award for 2004.
Prince was a fan of big cars and luxury brands like Lincoln, Cadillac, and BMW. This luxury SUV has been around since 2010, making it the second SUV produced by Ford’s luxury brand. It’s the second largest SUV in Ford’s repertoire, slotted between the Lincoln MKX and Lincoln Navigator. It shares underpinnings with the Ford Flex and Ford Explorer, though it has no direct Lincoln predecessors. It either runs on a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four (for the Town Car fleet version), a 3.7-liter V6, or a 3.5-liter EcoBoost Twin-turbo GTDI V6. You can get a 2011 these days for about $6,000 though a new 2019 MKT will run you around $38,000.
Based on the list of his possessions that was drawn up after we lost Prince, it was noticed that he had a strong affinity for BMWs. When the BMW 850i was first released, it was a bit of a letdown for BMW enthusiasts—though it came out around the same time that a lot of car companies were having trouble appeasing their audiences. In hindsight, though, the car has become somewhat of a classic, and it really was better looking than a lot of the stuff that came out of the 1990s (we’re looking at you, Chevy Camaro). He used the 850i for his “Sexy M.F.” video, and it was probably the same one he owned.
The Buick Electra 225 was hugely popular when it came out in the 1960s, and the best selling and best looking Electras came out in the era, so we’re assuming the one he owned came out sometime in that decade. Prince actually referenced the Electra 225 in the song “Deuce A Quarter” in 1993. The Buick Electra had a long life, from 1959 to 1990, when it was replaced by the Buick Park Avenue. The car was named after the sister-in-law (Electra Wagoner Biggs) of the president of Buick at the time. During its 30-year run, it was offered in varying body styles, including coupe, convertible, sedan, and even station wagon.
The 1980s were a huge time for Prince, and 1984 was one of his best years of the decade. This was when he went on tour to promote one of his biggest albums, 1999, including the most instantly recognizable song on the album, “Little Red Corvette” (we’ll touch more on that in a bit). The music video for the song pitted Prince in competition with Michael Jackson, which is still a competition that rages to this day. Back in 1984, they were the only two black artists who consistently aired videos on MTV. One of Prince’s BMWs was a 1984 633CS, a sporty car and popular collectible for many enthusiasts.
When Prince was large and in charge in the 1990s, he decided to step up his game and get himself a luxurious tour bus so he could party like it was 1999 in style. He also toured a whole lot, averaging one tour per year during the 1990s to accompany his various album releases. Halfway through the 90s, Prince got himself a Prevost tour bus. The Canadian manufacturing company was known for their high-end buses, motorhomes, and touring coaches after opening shop in Quebec in 1924. By the time Prince had bought his luxury tour bus, the company had partnered with Volvo to supply superior engines.
Probably the most iconic vehicle that Prince owned was not a car at all, but this Honda motorcycle—the Hondamatic CM400A—painted in striking purple with Prince's “love” symbols adorned all over it. This bike was named after his most famous song, "Purple Rain", which was also an album and a feature film. The 1984 film was a semi-autobiographical story and won an Academy Award for its score, which was pulled from the album of the same name. In the movie, Prince’s character rides this custom, flashy Honda CM400A. It was the same bike he used in a later film, Graffiti Bridge, though it was painted gold and black for that film.
In trying to decide what the most popular, purple-colored cars are on the planet, the first one that came to mind was the early-year Lamborghini Diablo. When it first came out, the most iconic imagery of the “devil” Lambo was definitely the striking, neon purple version. And what an awesome looking car it was. And what a sight to behold it would have been to see Prince behind the wheel of his own Diabo—everyone knows he could have afforded it! But he actually preferred more practical cars. He didn’t need a V12-engined, 200-mph-capable car to impress people (though it would have helped); his music spoke for itself.
Another car that could have gotten Prince around in style, especially considering his affinity for older, 1960s and 70s Detroit-made muscle, would have been the Chevrolet Bel Air—preferably the Chevy that is absolutely legendary Americana. This long car was manufactured from 1950 to 1981 through eight generations. The last year of the second generation, 1957, was probably the most iconic and classic of the vintage Bel Airs and it was just the second Chevrolet car to be installed with a V8 engine. When the second-generation Bel Air first came out in 1954, it was given top markings by Motor Trend magazine and Popular Mechanics.
If you can imagine Prince in long, low cars like the Lamborghini Diablo and Chevy Bel Air, you can probably imagine him in shorter, squatter cars like the VW Beetle. And we aren’t talking any of that New Beetle stuff, but a real, post-WWII VW Beetle, preferably from the 1950s. And, of course, preferably painted purple. These vintage cars are some of the most popular collectible cars on the planet. There’s a reason this car had one of the longest lifespans of any car ever (1938 to 2003) and why it’s one of the best-selling cars of all time: it was practical, small, and a lot of fun to drive.
In order to appease Prince’s love for muscle cars, we thought we’d include a Chevrolet Camaro, which was basically the epitome of muscle in the 1960s and 70s (besides the Mustang, perhaps). A purple 1969 Camaro SS with a black stripe down the hood would have just looked awesome and is totally a car that we can imagine Prince should have owned. The 1969 Camaro was the year of the first generation and it was a beauty. The SS package was dropped in 1972 (until 1996), so we think he’d like to own this more collectible version.
The first car that immediately comes to mind when we imagine what Prince should have owned is, definitely and without a doubt, an early-model Chevrolet Corvette, obviously painted red, to reflect one of his most famous songs, “Little Red Corvette". Could you imagine Prince driving around in his little red C1, late-50s Corvette? It would have been quite a stunning image, for sure. The solid-axle C1 Corvette is definitely one of the more popular collectible cars out there and it’s probably the most popular Corvette model (besides the Sting Ray) for collectors today. You can probably get a 1959 Corvette for about $80,000 to $120,000 these days.
Sources: Autoweek, Jalopnik, and City Pages.