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- James Dean Car Crash Accident
- Porsche 550 Spyder
James Dean was killed on September 30, 1955 in a new Porsche 550 Spyder. James Dean had starred in just three films: Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant before he died at age 24. ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ cemented his reputation- appealing to american teenagers, in his portrayal of youth angst in an era when that was not fashionable. In the years since his death, Dean has become an icon beloved by millions of fans and a pop culture legend. His early death in a fast car adds to the tragic James Dean Story.
James Dean in addition to his acting took up competitive race car driving.While James Dean was filming Rebel Without a Cause, he acquired a Porsche 550 Spyder. The car which would become part of the legend was one of only 90 Porsche Sypders, it was numbered 130, had a tartan seat design along with two red stripes at the rear. The car was called “Little Bastard”.
A week before his was killed James Dean met the British actor Alec Guinness who commented car appeared “sinister” and said to Dean : “If you get in that car you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Words that would prove to be prophetic.
On September 30, 1955, Dean was driving to a race along with Rolf Wütherich (a auto mechanic) They were traveling in the new Porsche Spyder. At 3:30PM, Dean was caught speeding and recieved a speeding ticket in Kern County for traveling 65 in a 55 mph zone.
As Dean drove west on on what was to become State Route 46 in Cholame, California, Donald Turnupseed a student in a 1950 Ford Tudor, approached in the opposite direction. The Ford driver attempted to turn onto State Route 41 at a fork in the road. The driver crossed into Dean’s lane and the two cars collided nearly head on. Dean survived immediately after the crash but was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:59PM after reaching Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital. His last words, according to Wütherich who was ejected from the car, but survived with a broken jaw were: “That guy’s gotta stop… He’ll see us.”
James Dean Memorial in Cholame, California. Dean was killed in his Porsche nearly 900 yards east of this tree. It is engraved with the date and times of Dean’s birth and death, and features a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery’s Book- The Little Prince: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.
The memorial pictured above was erected in Cholame, California in 1977. The sculpture is made of concrete and stainless steel and wraps around a tree in front of the Cholame US post office. The sculpture was the brainchild of Seita Ohnishi of Japan. In September, 2005, the intersection of Highways 41 and 46 in Cholame renamed the James Dean Memorial Highway on the 50th anniversary of his death. Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana.