James Dean was like the Colin Farrel of his day. He was an up-and-coming actor whose life was cut short. Dean bought a silver 1955 Porsche Spyder in 1955. His friends Alec Guiness and George Barris both felt the purchase was not a good idea and tried to talk him into getting rid of it. However, Dean was attracted to the car and didn't care.
On September 30, 1955, he planned to race his Spyder in a sports car race in Salinas, California. Dean was intending to trailer the car until the meeting point in Salinas, but at the last minute, decided to drive it in order to further familiarize himself with the car. At 3:30PM, he was ticketed for speeding as well as the driver of his new Ford. He left the Ford behind and later made his way onto Highway 466.
A 1950 Ford Tudor driven by Donald Turnupseed was heading in the opposite direction. Turnupseed attempted to take the fork on California State Route 41 crossing into his lane without seeing Dean. The two cars collided almost head on. Turnupseed received a gashed forehead and bruised nose, but Dean wasn't so lucky. He died on the way to the hospital. Despite many reports, evidence supports the fact that Dean was not speeding at the time of the accident.
This story is on the abnormal radar because some say that there is a curse on the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder and all its parts. Dean's friend and legendary Hot Rodder George Barris bought the car for $2,500 intending to use it for spare parts. Unfortunately, it slipped off its' trailer and broke a mechanic's leg.
Soon afterwards, Barris sold the engine and drive-train to physicians Troy McHenry and William Eschrid respectively. While racing against each other, the former would be killed instantly when his vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree, while the latter would be seriously injured when his vehicle rolled over while going into a curve.
Barris later sold two tires. Unharmed in Dean's accident, they blew up simultaneously causing the buyer's automobile to go off the road. Two young thieves were injured while attempting to steal parts from the car. One thieves' arm ripped open on a piece of jagged metal while trying to steel the steering wheel. Later, another man was injured while trying to steal the bloodstained front seat. This would be the final straw for Barris. He decided to store the car away, but was quickly persuaded by the California Highway Patrol to loan the wrecked car in a highway safety exhibit.
The first exhibit from the CHP featuring the car ended unsuccessfully. The garage which stored the Spyder went up in flames, destroying everything except the car itself. The second display, at a Sacramento High School, ended when the car fell, breaking a student's hip. The car also found itself causing trouble while being transported several times. On its way to Salinas, the truck containing the vehicle lost control, causing the driver to fall out and be crushed by the Porsche when it fell off the back. On two separate occasions, once on a freeway and again in Oregon, the car came off other trucks. Despite a shattered windshield in Oregon, no injuries were reported.
Its last use in a CHP exhibit was in 1959. the car was on display when for no reason it suddenly collapsed into 11 pieces. In 1960, while being transported to George Barris in Los Angeles, California, the car mysteriously vanished. It has not been seen since.