Story Behind The Porsche That Killed James Dean

James Dean / Facebook

On September 30th, 1955, the world lost a terrific actor by the name of James Dean. It’s been 65 years since his tragic death and his story still continues to be told. Dean was involved in a head-on collision that took his life at just 24 years old. Behind the accident lies a story of a cursed car that’s sure to give anyone goosebumps.

It all begins on September 23, 1955, just a week before the fatal crash. He’d just purchased a Porsche 550 Spyder that he nicknamed “Little Bastard” and had it customized to his liking. He chose tartan seats, the number 130 emblazoned on the hood, and the name “Little Bastard” painted just under the Porsche emblem on the engine cover.

Proud of his new purchase, Dean showed it off to fellow actor Alec Guinness. Guinness reportedly told Dean that the car had a “sinister” appearance and then said to him, “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” 

Seven days later Dean was killed in his beloved “Little Bastard” in a head-on collision near Cholame, California.

If that’s not enough to verify the curse of the “Little Bastard” the story doesn’t end there. The car not only killed James Dean but killed and injured many others who came in contact with it.

The man who originally customized the 550, bought the wrecked carcass of “Little Bastard” for $2,500, and shortly thereafter, it slipped off its trailer and broke a mechanic’s leg.

The engine and drivetrain were then sold to two men named Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While these two were racing against one another in cars that had parts from the “Little Bastard,” McHenry lost control and hit a tree, killing him instantly and Eschrid was seriously injured when his car suddenly locked up and rolled over while going into a turn.

To further validate the curse of the “Little Bastard,” two of the tires that were salvaged after the car was wrecked were sold. Not long after both blew out simultaneously causing the new owner’s car to run off the road.

The man who purchased the wrecked chassis was convinced to lend it to the California Highway Patrol for a safety exhibition. However, the first exhibition it was scheduled for was unsuccessful as the garage that housed the car caught fire and burned to the ground. But the car mysteriously suffered no damage from the fire. During the second exhibition at a local high school, the car fell off its display and broke a nearby student’s hip.

And just when you thought nothing else could possibly happen there were three more incidents involving the “Little Bastard.” While it was being transported, the truck carrying the car lost control which caused the driver to fall out and get crushed by the car as it fell off the back. The “Little Bastard” then fell off of two more transport trucks, mysteriously vanished, and has not been seen since.

Watch the video below for more pictures and facts about James Dean and his “Little Bastard.”

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