On September 25, 1955, James Dean showed Alec Guinness his brand new Porsche Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared sinister, and told Dean: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Seven days later James Dean crashed the car and died, which was just the beginning.
I’m Paul on behalf of Graveyard Shift, this is the story of James Dean’s cursed automobile. James Dean was a professional race car driver in between making films. In 1955 after filming was completed on his last film ‘Giant’, he traded his ‘55 Porsche Super Speedster for a brand new, and faster ‘55 Porsche 550 Spyder and entered the Salinas Road Race.
Dean chose the number 130, and had it painted on the car, as well as Dean’s nickname “Little Bastard” on the tail. On the way to the Salinas race Dean was allegedly traveling 85 mph heading west along Route 466, with Rolf Wütherich, his mechanic and a former Porsche employee, when they crashed into 23 year-old Donald Turnupseed who was making a left turn onto Route 41, who did not see the low-profile Porsche.
According to witnesses Dean’s car smashed into the ground
two or three times in cartwheels. Remarkably Turnupseed and Wütherich both survived, Dean, who was only 24, died before reaching the hospital.The infamy of the car continued… Doctors McHenry and Eschrich were both racing in cars that had parts from “Little Bastard,”
Eschrich’s car rolled, resulting in injury, and McHenry fatally lost control and hit a tree.
Now legend has that George Barris who bought the wrecked car,
sold two of the undamaged wheels, they blew out simultaneously
causing the new owner’s car to run off the road. Barris reports many more myths… Two thieves attempted to steal parts of the car
and both ended up seriously injured in the process. And in 1960 the car mysteriously disappeared.
Porsche historian and author of ‘James Dean at Speed’, Lee Raskin,
disputes much of Barris’s claims, saying he disposed of the car himself, and saying “He is a fraud who has capitalized on buying
the carcass of the | wrecked Spyder.” Whatever the truth, it is a great tragedy that the short lived icon died | at the hands of something he loved.
I’m Paul on behalf of Graveyard Shift, and this is the story of James Dean’s cursed automobile. Safe driving PSA recorded shortly before the crash.
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