Transaxle From James Dean’s Cursed Porsche Up For Auction
A one-of-a-kind piece of not only classic-car history, but movie and racing history as well, has gone up for auction.
The transaxle from James Dean's Porsche 550 nicknamed "Little Bastard" is up for auction. It was one of several parts pulled from the car after it's infamous accident on September 30th, 1955.
Little Bastard is known in the car community for being the car that Dean crashed, ultimately leading to his death.
Dean and his mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, were on their way to Salinas, California for a race. A Ford Tudor driven by Donald Turnupseed was turning at an intersection when Dean and Wütherich, who were driving at 90mph when they collided with Tudor.
While Turnupseed was mildly injured, Dean and Wütherich suffered serious injuries. James Dean tragically died in the ambulance before reaching the hospital.
After the crash investigation, Dean's insurance company wrote off the Porsche and sold it to racer Dr. William F. Eschrich, for $1,092. Eschrich pulled the few usable parts off of the car that survived the crash, and sold the rest of the car to George Barris. Barris loaned the car to the National Safety Council for promotional events.
Eschrich never was able to use the soon-to-be auctioned transaxle. However, the engine was placed into a different car, and some other parts were loaned to Troy McHenry for an upcoming race.
Eschrich and McHenry crashed in the same race in 1956, with McHenry being killed by the wreck, one of several events that led to the story of the Porsche and its parts being cursed.
The transaxle was sold several times throughout the years and spent a few decades in storage before being found by Porsche restorer Don Ahearn. It's well documented and maintained, even mounted to a display frame to show how it would work in a 550 Spyder.
Online auction for the part ends on Saturday, May 29th. Bidding is up to nearly $130,00.
Just don't put it on any of your cars, unless you're done with racing, forever.
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