In 1955 James Dean was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His role in Rebel Without a Cause made him an icon to America’s teenagers, and he had just finished shooting Giant, which many critics would later call his best film. To celebrate the end of shooting, Dean jumped back into a favorite pastime, one he had been banned from doing while shooting the movie: car racing.
The lead-footed Dean was something of an adrenaline junkie, and he’d been ticketed multiple times for speeding.
Just before his death in September, Dean bought a Porsche 550 Spyder sports car, not knowing he might have already sealed his fate.
Less than a week before his death, Dean showed the car off to actor Alec Guinness, who later played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. He had customized his ride with swanky tartan seats, racing stripes, the number “130” painted on the hood and a few other touches. Guinness said the car gave him a “sinister” vibe, and left the young actor with a warning.
“If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week,” Guinness predicted. It turned out the actor was right, because dean flipped his Porsche and died exactly 7 days later.
If the story ended there it would just be tragic, but the 130 car had more in store for its next owners.
Click to read more about the “haunted” Porsche!
While Dean’s young life was over, his car continued to haunt the lives of everyone who owned it. The Porsche had been nicknamed “Little Bastard” by Dean and his friends, and it more than lived up to the nickname with a series of mysterious accidents and injuries that some blame on the car itself. It all started when Dean’s friend and mechanic, George Barris, bought the wreckage of the 130 Porsche. Before it was even rebuilt, the car slipped off a trailer and broke a worker’s leg.
Barris split the car into different pieces and sold them. Two men, each driving cars with parts of the Spyder in them, crashed in the same race.
One car “locked up” and flipped, while the other driver lost control and hit a tree. The Spyder seemed to have claimed 2 more victims.
Barris sold the Porsche’s back tires to a new owner, who was forced off the road when they both burst at the same time. Even a pair of thieves who broke into Barris’s garage were injured by the “curse,” hurting themselves while trying to steal parts from the car.
Barris decided that enough was enough and sold the car to the California Highway Patrol, who planned to use it in safety demonstrations. After the garage holding the car mysteriously burnt down (the car survived, of course) the car fell off a platform and crushed a student’s hip.
Finally, a truck driver hauling the car got into an accident. Somehow, he fell out of his cab and was crushed by the wreckage of Dean’s car. The car slipped off the trucks towing it 2 more times before mysteriously disappearing in 1960.
There are rumors that the body of the 130 Porsche is stowed in a building in Washington state, hidden behind a brick wall, but maybe it should stay there!