James Deanís Little Bastard

Playing with the Devil

THE personalised Porsche 550 Spyder Ė nicknamed Little Bastard Ė that carried James Dean through the gates of Heaven at great speed was, if you believe the internet, possessed by the Devil.

Legend has it that in September 1955, Dean met fellow actor Alec Guinness, who prematurely did his Obi-Wan Kenobi bit and told him that the car was ďsinisterĒ and that "if you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next weekĒ.

You know what happened next; one week later, a head-on accident, and Deanís tragic death at the age of 24. However, itís what the car did from then on thatís really interesting.

It started with George Barris, an American hot-rodder who gained fame in Hollywood for producing the original Batmobile and the Munster Koach. Barris, who may be a great storyteller, bought Little Bastard for $2500 and tells of how it slid off its trailer and broke a mechanicís leg.

The engine and drivetrain were removed and sold to two different racers. While battling each other in cars using these bits, one of them lost control, hit a tree and died, while the other suffered a mysterious lock-up, rolled and was seriously injured.

Two of the tyres off the Porsche were reportedly sold and both, allegedly, blew out simultaneously, causing the car on which they were fitted to run off the road.

Barris eventually tried to get rid of Little Bastard, lending it to a highway-safety exhibit, but the garage it was stored in caught fire, miraculously causing almost no damage to Deanís Death Car.

And when those people tried to send it back to Barris, he says, it disappeared into thin air while in transit on a train.

Clearly, itís back in Hell.

WRONG SIDE TURNUP Deanís crash happened when a guy called Donald Turnupseed drove his 1950 Ford Tudor coupe across the centre line and straight at Little Bastard. Dean apparently attempted evasive action, at 137km/h, but ploughed hea d-o n into the Ford.


At 3.30pm on the day of his death, James Dean was pulled over for speeding, clocking an outrageous 65mph in an 55mph zone. Patrolman OV Hunter probably just wanted to take a selfie.