Little bastard – The “curse” of James Dean’s Porsche

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James Dean was an American actor, symbol of youthful rebellion and pop-culture till nowadays, he was immortalized along with the wonderful Marilyn Monroe. Of course this brief description does not show all the actor importance, he already became a brand, one that everyone recognizes, with phrases (Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today) and famous movies (Rebel Without a Cause 1955). He drank, smoked and had a fascination with sports cars, even got to participate in car racing competitions. He died early, at 24 years old, at the height of his career in an accident with his Porsche.

“Dream as if you will live forever; Live as if you will die today.” James Dean


The sequence of events that surround the Porsche 550 James Dean is impressive even for the most skeptical! Called “Little Bastard” by Bill Hickman and customized by Barris (Dean’s friends) had the backing of their banks exchanged, No. 130 on the hood and his name painted on the car bodywork.


Dean had a race scheduled for October 1st in Salinas, California, as he drove his car to the venue on September 30, he crashed with a black Ford Tudor. He had been stopped by the police that day to be driving too fast, James died instantly with several fatal injuries.

The trajectory of the car after the accident reinforces the idea of a curse… George Barris (Dean’s friend, that made the main customization) bought the car’s remains shortly after the accident, when it arrived in his workshop, the car slid off the trailer and broke a leg of one of his mechanics. The engine were installed on a Lotus IX that overturned in a race, leaving its owner William F. Eschrich seriously injured. He also sold a mechanical assembly to Dr. McHenry, who installed it in his racing car, the first race, Dr. McHenry went off the road and hit a tree and died on the spot. The car’s wheels were sold to a young man who a week later was involved in an accident due to a defect in them, but the events are not over… during an international race, a boy tried to steal the Porsche’s steering wheel (which before was Dean) and cut his arm. Later the day the car was put on an exhibition in Sacramento, fell off the shelf and injured a teenager.


Persuaded to borrow the car for a road safety exhibition, the garage where the car was displayed started burned to the ground inexplicably, but the car did not suffer any damage. When the car was transported to a exhibition in the city of Salinas, the truck skidded on the track and hit the driver died. In 1960, during transport between California and Florida the car mysteriously disappeared. Over time there were many stories with “clues” as to where the car would be, but to this day remains a mystery.

The story of Dean’s car curse is so famous that turned to a chapter of the Serie “The SuperNatural”(Chapter 5, season 5, for those who want to watch)!

Do you belive in those stories? Would you have the courage to use one of the missing parts of the James Dean’s  legendary Car?

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