james dean car 4

james dean car 4
image james dean car 4
image james dean car 4

Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname "Little Bastard" by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros. stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Hickman was part of Dean's group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean "little bastard", and Dean called Hickman "big bastard." Another version of the "Little Bastard" origin has been corroborated by two of Dean's close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack L. Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio's lot. And Dean wanted to get 'even' with Warner by naming his race car "Little Bastard" and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the "Little Bastard" in between making movies for Warner Bros. When Dean introduced himself to British actor Alec Guinness outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, he asked him to take a look at 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." This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean's death.


While filming Rebel Without A Cause, James Dean had upgraded from the 356 to the 550 Spyder and decided that he wanted to make it uniquely his. Dean called upon George Barris, of movie car fame, to customize the Porsche. He gave it tartan seats, two red stripes over the rear wheels and plastered the number ‘130’ on its doors, hood and engine cover. The name “Little Bastard” was given by Dean language coach, Bill Hickman, and was later painted on the car by master pin striper, Dean Jeffries. On September 23 of 1955, Dean met actor Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kebobi) outside of a restaurant and had him take a look at the Spyder. Guinness told Dean that the car had a “sinister” appearance and then told Dean: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Seven days later, Dean would be killed in his beloved “Little Bastard.” Cue the Unsolved Mysteries theme song.


Just a few days from the sixtieth anniversary of James Dean’s death on September 30th, 1955, we may have our greatest clue to finding the location of the infamous Porsche he fatally crashed in, long-rumored to be cursed.According to ABC7 Chicago, the Volo Museum located in Volo, Illinois, claims they have received a credible tip as to the whereabouts of the long-lost Porsche 550 Spyder, whose tales of curses are not just stories, they’re downright terrifying.After Dean’s death in the car, it broke a mechanic’s leg, two men who purchased parts from the vehicle wrecked the cars they used them on killing one, and many more stories of horrifying incidents related to anyone who came into contact with the car have been told for decades. It was even nicknamed “Little Bastard.”The Curse Of James Dean's “Little Bastard”When we think of the Porsche 550 Spyder, the first thing that comes to mind is James Dean. We…Read more After suspiciously surviving unharmed after its first exhibit completely burned to the ground, it was being transported from its second exhibit and managed to crush a truck driver, fall off of two more transport trucks, and then vanish - seemingly until now.AdvertisementAdvertisementFrom AB7 Chicago: Long rumored to be cursed, the Auto Museum made a reward offering of $1 million for the wreckage in 2005. Following an episode of “Brad Meltzer’s Lost History” that aired in winter 2014, the museum says, they were contacted by a man in the spring with an intriguing tale.“He said he was 6 years old at the time, and was present as his father and some other men put the wreckage behind a false wall in a building in Whatcom County, Washington,” said Brian Grams, director of the Volo Auto Museum. It’s also reported that the man coming forward knew exclusive details related to the car and passed a polygraph test.The conversation over the exact whereabouts of the car are ongoing, with the man wanting a guaranteed amount of the reward money before revealing the location. The museum is trying to establish clear legal ownership of the car before granting any rewards, but everything looks to be moving forward.Sponsored“This guy’s story is awesome, and our most believable lead to date,” Grams said. “It’s kind of like Al Capone’s vault. If it is in there, it continues the legend of this car’s notorious history.” Have we finally figured out the location of James Dean’s fatal Porsche, or will this just be another peg in the long-storied history of the mysterious car?


James Dean was killed on September 30, 1955 when he collided with another vehicle doing a reported 85 mph in his brand new Porsche 550 Spyder. He was breaking in the new car on the way to weekend sports car races in Salinas, California. Upon impact, the silver Spyder, which Dean had nicknamed Little Bastard, was reduced to a crumpled pile of aluminum and steel. His passenger, factory-trained Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich, was thrown from the wreck and survived. Dean was trapped inside the car, his foot crushed between the clutch and break pedal. A nurse passing by stopped to assist, and said she had felt a weak pulse. Dean’s friend Bill Hickman, a stunt driver for Warner Bros. Studios, had been following about ten minutes behind. When he reached the scene of the accident, he pried Dean from the wreck. It was said that Dean died in his arms. When the actor finally arrived at the hospital an hour later, he was pronounced dead.


Raskin states that although Barris may have customized several cars for the Rebel Without a Cause movie, he never customized any of Dean's personal cars and neither of the Porsches. Lew Bracker, Dean's best friend in L.A. and fellow Porsche racer, maintains that Barris was not involved with Dean's sports car racing activities; he was never considered to be part of Dean's "inner circle" invited to go to Salinas on September 30, 1955. It is not known exactly how Barris knew Dr. Echrich, but he was given the Spyder's mangled body after Dr. Eschrich had stripped out the Porsche. In 1956, Barris announced that he was going to rebuild the Porsche Spyder, but that proved to be a Herculean task as the wrecked chassis had no remaining integral strength. Instead, Barris decided to weld aluminum sheet metal over the caved-in left front fender and cockpit area. He proceeded to beat on the aluminum panels with a 2x4 to try to simulate what would appear to be collision damage. Later in 1956, Barris loaned out the "Little Bastard" to the Los Angeles chapter of the National Safety Council for a local rod and custom car show. The gruesome display was promoted as: "James Dean's Last Sports Car". During 1957-1959, the "Little Bastard" exhibit began to appear at various rod and custom car shows, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and highway safety displays throughout California.


According to a story in the October 1, 2005, edition of the Los Angeles Times, California Highway Patrol Captain Ernest Tripke and his partner, Corporal Ronald Nelson, had been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene of the accident at the Route 466/41 junction. Before Officers Tripke and Nelson arrived, James Dean had been extricated from the Spyder's mangled cockpit, his left foot having been crushed between the clutch and brake pedal. Dean was severely injured as he took the brunt of the crash, with a broken neck and several internal and external injuries. Nelson witnessed an unconscious and dying Dean being placed into an ambulance, and a barely conscious Wütherich, who had been thrown from the Spyder, lying on the shoulder of the road next to the wrecked Porsche. Dean and Wütherich were taken in the same ambulance to the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, 28 miles (45 km) away. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at 6:20 pm by the attending emergency room physician, Robert Bossert. Warren Beath wrote that Dean had died in the arms of his friend, Bill Hickman.


Barris' Cars of the Stars clearly states that a Dr. McHenry, "driving a car powered by the engine from Dean's car, was killed when his vehicle went out of control and struck a tree in the first race in which the motor had been used since Dean's mishap. Another doctor, William F. Eschrid of Burbank, was injured in the same race when his car, which contained the drivetrain from Dean's car, rolled over." Dr. Eschrich, interviewed a day after Dr. McHenry's fatal accident, said he had loaned the Dean transmission and several other parts to Dr. McHenry. "I don't believe he was using the transmission when he crashed, but he was using the back swinging arms which holds the rear end." McHenry appears to have the distinction of being the only bona fide victim of the "curse" of Dean's "Little Bastard".

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