Wednesday, March 8, 2017

James Dean's cursed Porsche 550 Spyder

James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American actor and a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955). The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean's enduring fame and popularity rest on his performances in only these three films, in two of which he is the leading actor.

He became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Last photograph of James Dean taken hours before his death.
Since James Dean's death in 1955, the Porsche 550 Spyder has become infamous as the car that killed him.

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.
On September 23 1955, Dean met actor Alec Guinness 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 the car.
Dean was travelling U.S. Route 466 at approximately 5:15 p.m. when a 1950 Ford Tudor made a hesitant attempt to turn away from an intersection, placing him at the center of the road. The porsche slammed into the driver's quadrant of a Ford Tudor, flipped and crossed the pavement onto the side of the highway. The driver, Donald Turnupseed, exited his damaged vehicle with minor injuries. Dean sustained numerous fatal injuries, including a broken neck.
George Barris bought the wrecked car and soon after it slipped off its trailer and broke a mechanics leg. Not long after Barris sold the engine and drivetrain to Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While the two were both racing against one another in cars that had parts from the car, 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.

Barris had two tires from the 550 which were untouched in Dean's accident. He sold them and not long after, both blew out simultaneously causing the new owner's car to run off the road. Barris kept the car but it caught the attention of two would-be thieves. One of the thieves arms was torn open trying to steal the steering wheel while the other was injured trying to remove the bloodstained tartan seat.
The curse continued when the car was being transported when the truck carrying it lost control which caused the driver to fall out and somehow get crushed by the car after it fell off the back. The car fell off two more transport trucks while travelling.

The car mysteriously vanished and has not been seen since.