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The Mystery Of James Dean's 'Cursed' Porsche, Explained

Illustration for article titled The Mystery Of James Deans Cursed Porsche, Explained

Everyone knows how Hollywood legend James Dean died—young and badly, crashing his Porsche 550 Spyder on Sept. 30, 1955. More than half a century later Dean, his image and the few movies he made are far from forgotten, and the mystery of his supposedly “cursed” Porsche is as compelling as ever.


Regular Car Reviews has been taking a break from foul-mouthed takedowns of old Neons lately to do these podcast-style mini-documentaries, and they’ve been quite good. The latest one is about Dean, his life, his career and his untimely death at just 24 years old.

As The Roman describes in this video, everybody knows James Dean, even today, but during his life very few people truly knew him in a real way. He grew up hard and developed his career along with his love of speed, but it all came to a violent end on his way to a sports car race that day in September.


And as you might expect, it also goes into the history of the Porsche 550 Spyder, an incredibly quick and storied sports car in its day. Like Dean, its legend hasn’t faded either—in this case there’s a long story about mishaps and misadventures surrounding the car’s later owners, hence the legend of a “curse.” But a lot of that is hard to prove, as you’ll hear.

Give it a watch or a listen, it’s worth it.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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Fun fact: My grandfather, who owned a number of car dealerships in Salinas, CA and raced is Cad-Allard all over California/Nevada back then, was the person who called and arranged for James Dean to come up for a race that weekend. Sadly fate had other plans.