James Dean was a famous movie star of the 1950’s and like his screen image he liked to live life in the fast lane. In 1955 Dean was attracted to a car which was a silver gray 1955 Porshe Spyder.
He bought the car planning to race it in the upcoming races at Salinas. Dean was thrilled with the car but several of his friends were not.
Actor Alec Guiness told Dean to get rid of the car. George Barris said the car seemed to give off “a weird feeling of an impending doom”.
On a trip out of Atlantis mechanic Rolf Wuetherich rode with Dean. Behind Dean following in a Ford station wagon was Bill Hickman and Stan Roth.
Once on the open highway Dean speeded along until, at 3:30, a highway trooper pulled the Porsche over and gave Dean a ticket. Soon Dean and Wuetherich were beginning the ascent of the Diablo Range mountains.
At 5.59 P.M. Dean smashed head on into another car driven by Donald Turnupseed. Dean was killed instantly.
Wuetherich was thrown free but suffered extensive injuries. Turnupseed suffered only minor cuts.
The Porsche was very badly mangled.
Later on the car was sold to a Barris who planned to use it for spares. But upon the cars arrival at the garage it fell during unloading on to a mechanic breaking one of his legs.
Then two physicians bought the engine and drive train to place in their own race cars. On October 2, 1956 they raced the cars using these parts for the first time.
One was killed in an accident and the other seriously injured in another accident. Two of the tires off Deans car were sold to young man who later reported that both tires had blown at the same time very nearly causing a serious accident.
Souvenir seeking fans tried to steal parts off Deans car only to suffer severe injuries. The California Highway Patrol decided to use Deans vehicle as part of safety exhibit.
During one of the exhibits the garage used to house Deans car went up in flames. Strange all the vehicles inside were destroyed except Deans car.
Later when on display at a Sacramento high school the car fell off its pedestal breaking a students hip. Then after that the car was sent to Salinas, but on the way the car fell off the flat bed truck killing the driver.
Two years later it fell off another truck causing an accident. Then in 1958 it caused another accident.
In 1959 the car was on display when for no reason it suddenly collapsed into 11 pieces. In 1960 the car was crated and sent to Los Angeles. But it never arrived, somewhere on the way it just disappeared.