JAMES DEAN DEATH WRECK CURSE
Published on: July 14, 2011
Photography by: Ochs Archives/HultonArchives/Getty Images
When rising movie star and teen idol JAMES DEAN died after crashing his speeding Porsche Spyder 550 in 1955, the twisted chassis took on an eerie life of its own.
After Dean was removed from the flaming wreck and dispatched by meat wagon to the morgue, no one wanted to touch -- much less own -- his "Little Bastard", the now-infamous Porsche Spyder 550.
But car enthusiast and custom car creator George Barris decided to take a crack at it.
Barris bought the Porsche’s remains but as it was being removed from the tow truck, the chain suddenly slipped and the car slammed down on a mechanic’s leg shattering it to bits.
Barris then sold the engine to a doctor who was an amateur racer. Installed in the doc’s race car, he promptly veered out of control during a race. It crashed, instantly killing its new owner.
In the very same race, another driver was injured when he cracked up. His drive shaft cannibalized from Dean’s death Porsche.
The body and chassis of the Dean death-mobile were so badly damaged, it became the centerpiece of a travelling road safety tour
In Sacramento, Ca. the death Porsche fell from its rigging and broke a teen onlooker’s hip.
Moving to the next stop on the tour aboard a trailer truck, the trailer was slammed by a car from behind. The driver in the colliding car was thrown from his car onto the highway and run over.
A racer using two tires from Dean’s car nearly died when the two tires blew out simultaneously!
In Oregon, the safety tour display flatbed truck’s emergency brake suddenly failed, sending it slamming into a storefront.
Even though it was mounted on supports when displayed in New Orleans, the Porsche literally disintegrated, breaking into eleven separate parts.
While being shipped back to Los Angeles by train¸ the Porsche mysteriously disappeared.
Ironically, Dean, the star of Rebel Without a Cause, filmed a car safety PSA for TV prior to his tragic crash.
It never aired.
POP FYI: George Barris designed TV's Batmobile.