: Just how special was James Deans Porsche?


H
22-02-2009, 03:34 PM
I mean before he crashed it and made it a legend.

How rare, fast and unusual was the model? Was it a one off?

I'd always been led to believe that it was a 356 before I was watching the James Spader film Crash, in which they do a weird reenactment and I realised it was something more special than that.

Horrido
22-02-2009, 03:38 PM
It was a 550 Spyder. Half a million quids worth at todays prices, or something like that.

http://993c4s.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/james-dean-porsche-550.jpg

JAN
22-02-2009, 03:41 PM
It was a Porsche 550 Spyder. Very rare, very special.

Dipper
22-02-2009, 03:46 PM
the guy was pretty special too.....

Brian Burrows
22-02-2009, 03:49 PM
Dean had (and raced) 356s . . . but ordered the (then) new Spyder . . . he was on his way to his first race with it when he crashed and died.

It was no different in real terms to any other 550 Spyder (they were ALL 'rare') but it was 'special' because it was James Dean's . . . same as if it had been Elvis's or Monroe's and so on . . .

The 'legend' goes that it was 'jinxed' . . . and bad luck befell others who used the 'parts' from the wreck too ;)

thirteen-o-two
22-02-2009, 03:53 PM
Despite the number 130 it was one of just 90 at the time. Actor Alec Guiness is purported to have said 'drive that and you'll end up dead' :( As Bri says it went on to provide other people with further bad luck - IIRC whilst being transported as a wreck it fell off the trailer and hurt someone...

Nicknames Little Bastard for good reason then :(

Horrido
22-02-2009, 04:05 PM
The other thing is - nobody knows where it is now. It was being displayed by some promoter and disappeared from a train en route to a show in 1960. Never been seen since.

thirteen-o-two
22-02-2009, 04:10 PM
Just read the above on a 'jinx' site (wouldnt let me copy/paste miserable sods ;)) It fell off and klled the trailer man whilst being toured around schools for road safety campaign. It did later 'dissappear' :eek:

benjy911
22-02-2009, 04:24 PM
This is from wikipedia and is an interesting read :

The famous car customizer George Barris bought the wreck for $2,500, only to have it slip off its trailer and break a mechanic's leg. Soon afterwards, Barris sold the engine and drive-train, respectively, to physicians Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While racing against each other, the former would be killed instantly when his vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree, while the latter would be seriously injured when his vehicle rolled over while going into a curve. Barris later sold two tires, which malfunctioned as well. The tires, which were unharmed in Dean's accident, blew up simultaneously causing the buyer's automobile to go off the road. Subsequently, two young would-be thieves were injured while attempting to steal parts from the car. When one tried to steal the steering wheel from the Porsche, his arm was ripped open on a piece of jagged metal. Later, another man was injured while trying to steal the bloodstained front seat. This would be the final straw for Barris, who decided to store "Little Bastard" away, but was quickly persuaded by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to lend the wrecked car to a highway safety exhibit.
The first exhibit from the CHP featuring the car ended unsuccessfully, as the garage storing the Spyder went up in flames, destroying everything except the car itself, which suffered almost no damage whatsoever from the fire. The second display, at a Sacramento High School, ended when the car fell, breaking a student's hip. "Little Bastard" caused problems while being transported several times. On the way to Salinas, the truck containing the vehicle lost control, causing the driver to fall out, only to be crushed by the Porsche after it fell off the back. On two separate occasions, once on a freeway and again in Oregon, the car came off other trucks, although no injuries were reported, another vehicle's windshield was shattered in Oregon. Its last use in a CHP exhibit was in 1959. In 1960, when being returned to George Barris in Los Angeles, California, the car mysteriously vanished. It has not been seen since.[46][47]
While it has proven impossible thus far to confirm or deny all the claims in this legend, it suffers from several clear factual errors. Barris was not the initial purchaser of the wrecked 550. Rather the doctors Troy McHenry and William Eschrid, both 550 Spyder owners, purchased the car directly from the insurance company. They removed the drivetrain, steering and other mechanical components to uses as spares in their cars, then sold the shell to George Barris. [48] Troy McHenry was killed at a race at Pomona 1956 when the Pitman arm in his steering failed, however this was not one of the "cursed" parts fitted to his 550.
Historic auto attractions in Roscoe, Illinois has claimed to have the last known piece of Dean's Spyder (a small chunk a few square inches in size). However this is untrue. The engine (#90059) is still in the possession of the son of the late Dr. Eschrich's. in addition, the restored transaxle–gearbox assembly of the Porsche (#10046) is known to be in the possession of a car collector in Mass, and was even offered for sale on Ebay.

H
22-02-2009, 04:56 PM
Did Dean name it Little Bastard or did that come with its "heritage"?

How did the 550 compare to other race cars of the period?

cuchullain
22-02-2009, 06:01 PM
It was a 550 Spyder. Half a million quids worth at todays prices, or something like that.

http://993c4s.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/james-dean-porsche-550.jpg

from memory and i could be wrong here, but im fairly sure that ^^^ is the last known picture of jimmy dean alive..

cheers
paul :D

RaggedyRacing
22-02-2009, 06:04 PM
"They must have seen us...."


Great last words :(


Mechanic in the passenger seat survived didn't he?

oldskool tom
22-02-2009, 06:07 PM
Dean had (and raced) 356s . . . but ordered the (then) new Spyder . . . he was on his way to his first race with it when he crashed and died.

It was no different in real terms to any other 550 Spyder (they were ALL 'rare') but it was 'special' because it was James Dean's . . . same as if it had been Elvis's or Monroe's and so on . . .

The 'legend' goes that it was 'jinxed' . . . and bad luck befell others who used the 'parts' from the wreck too ;)

am i right in thinking that the car went missing and hasnt been seen since?? :eek:

Horrido
22-02-2009, 06:08 PM
Did Dean name it Little Bastard or did that come with its "heritage"?

How did the 550 compare to other race cars of the period?

Dean had "Lil Bastard" painted on the back.

westy77
22-02-2009, 06:20 PM
id heard (probably bollocks?) that if you put all the susposed parts that are around that are said to be from his car, you could make several cars

thirteen-o-two
22-02-2009, 06:26 PM
"They must have seen us...."


Great last words :(


Mechanic in the passenger seat survived didn't he?

He did - until 1981 - then died in a car crash :eek:

JAN
22-02-2009, 06:45 PM
Mechanic in the passenger seat survived didn't he?

He survived, but was never quite the same again. He tried to kill himself several times, tried to kill his wife, had a mental breakdown, several serious car crashes, he was a troubled man for ever more.

Very sad story.

H
22-02-2009, 06:46 PM
Don't have the book to hand that I read it in but I'm pretty sure that Dean was meant to be having a meeting that afternoon with Monty Roberts - he'd wanted Roberts to run a ranch for him based on his "new" horse training techniques.

skatzer
22-02-2009, 07:22 PM
Anyone else reminded of christine, the cursed killer car (chevy I think) in steven kings novel............Beware the evil car, mwa ha ha.

westy77
22-02-2009, 07:24 PM
Anyone else reminded of christine, the cursed killer car (chevy I think) in steven kings novel............Beware the evil car, mwa ha ha.


that was fiction, and it was a Plymouth:D

skatzer
22-02-2009, 07:34 PM
that was fiction, and it was a Plymouth:D

That's the one.:D

Blah blah
23-02-2009, 08:54 PM
that was fiction, and it was a Plymouth:D

A 57 Plymouth Fury infact, and one of my favourite films, it's also one of the few where the film is better than the book

ian c2
23-02-2009, 08:59 PM
another twist if youre into that sort of thing ...

dean was "involved" with the l.a. witches .

was seemed bad publicity so not really talked about .

clarkson
23-02-2009, 09:08 PM
My question is this, if the body shell did reappear in some miraculous barn find, how much would it now be worth?

ian c2
23-02-2009, 09:10 PM
one of the rumours is that its in england in a macabre private collection of celebrity crashed cars .

xx1
23-02-2009, 09:16 PM
what ever you think there was not a lot left

http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainn ameatlonglast.com/images/james.JPG

JAN
23-02-2009, 09:29 PM
Judging by that pic i wold be shocked if the engine and even more so the box were of any use at all.

RAS240
23-02-2009, 09:55 PM
The trans is still alivehttp://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii306/mrwarehouse/aV2uEYSJ-4c951b95fa76f6afa4ce396dc6.jpghttp://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii306/mrwarehouse/gx1eUy6A-4c951b95fa76f6afa4ce396dc6.jpg

RAS240
23-02-2009, 10:02 PM
This is the supposed to be the car which was displayed and then disappeared


http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y30/pissflap/085.jpg

But it doesn't look anything like the wreck to me


http://images.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/500377.jpg

Horrido
23-02-2009, 10:41 PM
That top photo is very iffy. Looks like they´ve tried to cover the fact it has no engine and box by bending a bit of ally round the side. Where´s the door gone would be a good question?

peelo
23-02-2009, 10:58 PM
The 'legend' goes that it was 'jinxed' . . . and bad luck befell others who used the 'parts' from the wreck too ;)

I came across and read the whole legend the other day... including the Paul Newman told him not to drive it etc... good yarn.

peelo
23-02-2009, 11:00 PM
That top photo is very iffy. Looks like they´ve tried to cover the fact it has no engine and box by bending a bit of ally round the side. Where´s the door gone would be a good question?

I seem to remember when I read the thing the other day that by the time it was used by the police the engine had gone.

bunglebus
23-02-2009, 11:20 PM
A 57 Plymouth Fury infact, and one of my favourite films, it's also one of the few where the film is better than the book

[off topic] Really? I beg to differ! The only good films made from Stephen King books are The Shining, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. IMHO of course! [/off topic]

The Porsche in the police pic cannot be the same car, doesn't even look like it was a car, just a mock-up. Wherever Deans car is, it and him, should rest in peace.

http://pro.corbis.com/images/JS1562977.jpg?size=67&uid={607f9b21-fba2-41f2-9ad9-63881ca9fb4f}
http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/jamesdean/smallporsche.jpghttp://home.netcom.com/~wbaxter/images/jdcar.jpg
http://crashteams.com/Images/Crash-Reconstruction/James-Dean/Deans-Crashed-Porsche-on-Scene.jpg
http://www.qsl.net/w5www/dean.jpg
http://www.doyleperformance.com/dotnetnuke/Portals/0/james_dean_porsche_spyder.jpg
http://www.rebeljamesdean.homestead.com/files/littlejd.JPG
http://www.hobbies-plus.co.uk/acatalog/R08383.jpg

RAS240
23-02-2009, 11:47 PM
Well the legend goes that a couple of doctors who raced Porsches bought the wreck for spares(including the engine) and after they picked off what they wanted it was acquired by George Barris who then lent it out for the road safety exhibit.Then it disappears forever whilst being transported.

Blood stains on the door?

http://images.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/493458.jpg

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f146/stevepitts/BE048518.jpg

RIP

kevo
24-02-2009, 12:09 AM
so... was it left hand drive or right hand drive ?

these pictures are a bit 'tin foil hat' ;)

kevo
24-02-2009, 12:12 AM
actully the car maybe twisted a little :o

Chimpy
24-02-2009, 12:13 AM
Left - looks like the steering wheel has been nailed so hard its on the right in the all the crashed pics though.

H
24-02-2009, 12:14 AM
Don't have the book to hand that I read it in but I'm pretty sure that Dean was meant to be having a meeting that afternoon with Monty Roberts - he'd wanted Roberts to run a ranch for him based on his "new" horse training techniques.
Found it!

Monty Roberts - The Man Who Listens to Horses

As he used to say when it was make-believe, he wanted to buy a ranch and have Pat and me manage it for him. It turned out that he really did want that; and so did we.

There was a property for sale near Salinas. Mr Pedrazzi senior had died, and some time previously we'd driven out and looked at his land.

Jim was due to take part in a road race in Salinas. He was going up with his mechanic in the Porsche Spyder, and would be staying with us at Pat's parents' place. We would be looking at property in earnest. Pat and I felt our future was secure. Through our friendship with this young man, we were following a new track in our lives. It was full of promise.

On 30 September 1955, we were waiting there for him as he was driving up to join us. We'd told him to call us when he was near and give us his estimated time of arrival; we'd be ready for him.

The mechanic, Wolf Weutherich, had our names and numbers in the pocket of his overalls and was getting ready to stop.

As everyone knows, they collided with another car. The other driver walked away with a bruised nose. Weutherich broke a leg and his jaw.

James Dean died of a broken neck.

After the accident, the mechanic was so dazed and traumatised that he went right ahead and the first call he made was to us. Through his broken jaw, he mumbled that James Dean was dead.

It was a freezing experience. In particular, it was difficult because Pat and I were alone with our grief. We'd known him for only a year. We knew none of his family, and they weren't aware we existed. His body was taken back to the mid-West and we never attended the funeral.

The life that we had been expecting to lead closed down in front of us.

There are some great old pictures of Roberts with Dean too, chilling out and also on set of East of Eden.

chris7ian
24-02-2009, 12:32 AM
As is the case with many celebrity deaths, the stories and legends that follow are always far more elaborate than the actual facts.
I'm surprised they managed to use any of the parts (tyres?? :eek: ) after that wreck!

The first time I heard the stories surrounding the James Dean crash was from my mum who used to be a bit of a fan. She knows nothing about cars, but knew his Porsche was called 'Little Bastard' :D

Shamrockez
24-02-2009, 08:23 AM
what car did they hit?

ian c2
24-02-2009, 08:26 AM
1950 ford tutor

Horrido
24-02-2009, 08:27 AM
Tudor not Tutor. As in "Two-door".

H
24-02-2009, 08:32 AM
Let's face it, you'd be doomed in a Spyder vs any American car of the period.

Horrido
24-02-2009, 08:33 AM
Yup. You are the crumple zone.

ian c2
24-02-2009, 08:33 AM
pics of it on here ...
http://jamesdean4ever.terapad.com/index.cfm?fa=contentGeneric.iqrbhtsaorafdjbl&pageId=172377

ian c2
24-02-2009, 08:36 AM
and loads of cool pics of them here if your interested
http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Ford/1950-1958.html

H
24-02-2009, 08:37 AM
I wonder how it affected Donald Turnupseed to be the man who "killed" James Dean? Pretty major claim to infamy :(

ian c2
24-02-2009, 08:42 AM
allthough legend blames little bastard , or dean himself , i'd imagine he was pretty messed up by it all tbh .

"After the accident, Donald Turnupseed, along with his parents, went on to establish a successful electrical contracting business, Turnupseed Electric Service, in California's San Joaquin Valley. He died of lung cancer in July 1995 at the age of 63."

da' Fandango
24-02-2009, 08:58 AM
Looking at this reconstruction video, It looks that Donald Turnupseed pulled in front of Dean causing the crash.

http://www.exponent.com/multimedia/

Scroll down to the James Dean video on the left.

H
24-02-2009, 09:05 AM
After the accident, Donald Turnupseed, along with his parents, went on to establish a successful electrical contracting business, Turnupseed Electric Service, in California's San Joaquin Valley. He died of lung cancer in July 1995 at the age of 63.

That's not what I meant ;)

I vividly remember every prang I've ever had and no one was injured, let alone the death of an iconic young superstar.

I bet he was hounded by freaks until the day he died.

ian c2
24-02-2009, 09:11 AM
unfortunate surname too ... considering .

:D

chris7ian
24-02-2009, 10:27 AM
unfortunate surname too ... considering .

:D

Turn-Up-Seed, not Turn-Of-Speed :p

incidentally, Dean must've been flying along to twist the car up so much. Eev te slightest impact would've probably sent him careering off road