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Porsche 550 Spyder: James Dean’s cursed “Little Bastard”


Every car, you know, has a story to tell, but I believe that some of them have more history than the others. This is the case of the Porsche 550, a few words that contain more than just the name of one of the jewels produced by the German automobile manufacturer between 1953 and 1957.

The 550 Spyder, in fact, has gone down in history not only for its slender and elegant look or the exceptional aerodynamic shape that enable it to reach the top speed of 220 km/h with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 10 seconds. 

You don’t believe me? Perhaps it’s because more often you have heard of it with the nickname “Cursed Porsche” or even “Little Bastard”. Yes, the Porsche 550 Spyder is exactly the car that marked the tragic death of young and rebel James Dean at the peak of his career.

When I think of him I think about the passion for the driving world that associated us. The inevitable driving gloves to hold the steering wheel and the desire to go further, toward excellence. Unfortunately in the case of James Dean, he crossed the limit other than the finish line, therefore becoming a timeless icon like the cursed car from which he couldn’t separate.

A cloud of mistery surrounds the Little Bastard, and that’s also what fascinates me the most about it: after the death of his famous driver the cursed car was involved in a series of mysterious accidents that consecrated its name in history. Not everyone knows, for example, that James Dean’s Porsche was later purchased by George Barris and, after the transport, the vehicle slipped off the trailer and broke a mechanic’s leg.

The engine of the Little Bastard was then installed on another racing car that was later involved in a crash during a competition in which the driver was seriously injured and a track marshal died. Body and chassis were instead placed in a traveling exhibition on Road Safety, but during the transport from a leg to another the truck was rear-ended and the cursed Porsche slipped off hitting another veichle and killing the driver.

As if that was not enough, in New Orleans the Little Bastard fell from the supports that were holding it up and shattered into eleven pieces; sent by train to Los Angeles in order to repair the damage, the cursed car disappeared in 1960 and has never been found since. Not a bad exit for a car that became the icon of a generation!

A timeless icon, as proven by the outcome of the competition on The Outlierman Facebook Page: the answers to the question "What is the name of James Dean’s cursed car" didn’t take long to arrive but only one was the winner of the prize consisting in The Posh pocket square, Jacopo Masato. So the drivers story continues and the gentleman style together with it!


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