If you’re not superstitious then you probably don’t know the history of actor James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder. By now everyone knows about his death in the race car, and now the 4-speed transaxle has come up for sale. Be forewarned that it will probably go for big money, and almost everything connected with the James Dean Porsche has been linked to bad luck and numerous deaths.
Parts of the Porsche Spyder proved fatal to new owners
After the insurance company sold the Spyder’s remains, pieces of the car went to racers, William Eschrich and Troy McHenry. In October 1956, both racers faced off at the Pomona Sports Car Races. Eschrich slid off of the track and was injured. McHenry lost control of his own Spyder and was killed when he hit a tree.
Customizer George Barris purchased what was left of the James Dean Spyder. He loaned it out to the National Safety Council to display at various cities between 1957 and 1959. During that tour, a fire burned down the garage the Spyder was parked in, and it later fell off of a mount at a high school safety exhibit. Luckily, nobody was hurt.
A freak accident killed the Porsche’s transport driver
The Spyder ended up killing the driver of the transport truck it was riding in during a freak accident. It soon went MIA and has not been seen since. Nobody knows whether it even exists. Also around this time, two tires from the Porsche that were being used on another car blew out simultaneously. This caused the car to crash, injuring the driver.
In 1981 Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich, who was in the Porsche when it crashed, was scheduled to discuss the crash on a German TV show. It never happened because he was killed in a crash before he could be interviewed.
Actor Alec Guinness had a prescient response viewing Dean’s Porsche
Maybe one of the weirdest stories has to do with Alec Guinness. The British actor met with Dean a couple of days after he bought the Spyder. Dean wanted to show Guinness his new purchase and took him to where the car was parked.
After telling Guinness that the car could hit 150 mph Guinness said, If you get in that car you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Needless to say, he was prescient.
At $100,000 so far the Porsche Spyder transaxle won’t be selling for cheap
So, there is enough coincidence or whatever to give you pause if you are thinking about bidding on the transaxle. It is currently on BringaTrailer bid up to $100,000 so far. There are still over 10 days left to bid before the auction ends.
At some point, the transaxle was rebuilt before ending up in a wooden crate in Massachusetts. It sat there for over 30 years. The transmission has a split magnesium case and has been verified as the transaxle from Dean’s Spyder by Porsche.