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James Dean mid-engine spyder: where did it go after the accident?


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#1 HistoryBuff

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 22:34

First I wonder if the SN was ever printed of the mid-engined car nicknamed "Lil' Bastard."

Maybe for some this is dredgeing up old news but I heard the old wive's tale that the car was found in the San Fernando Valley in recent years. When I was a kid, when he was killed the wreck was paraded around various state Fairs as a "safety lesson to youth." 
Preliminary I have the only owner listed as owner after Dean being:

Dr. William F. Eschrich

Was the car eve rebuilt? Wouldn't Porsche have sold a replacement chassis?

Again, sorry to bring this up if it's 50-year old news but inquiriing minds want to know...



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#2 Jejking

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:33

Could this help?

 

http://answers.yahoo...29162204AA0BqFG



#3 Wirra

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:04

Try using 'Search'

 

http://forums.autosp...ves-lotus-nine/



#4 Catalina Park

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:20

http://lmgtfy.com/?q... Dean Porsche.

#5 D-Type

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:12

In fairness to HistoryBuff, the Google references quote various versions of the urban legend about the 'cursed car' which is, to put it mildly, a load of poppycock.  What he is asking is "What really happened to it?" and TNF is [still] the place to ask questions like that.  The answer is in the previous thread that Wirra referenced.

 

Admittedly the "Search" function on here is clunky and has been made less user-friendly by the recent revamp of the forums software but it does work.  To repeat what others have told me: if you want to search for something in a single search of Current TNF, TNF's Archive, Historical Research and the other sub-forums what you need to do is used the "Advanced Search".  Instead of using the "SEARCH" box on the top right hand corner of the screen you click on the gear wheel to the right of the box.  This opens up a set of menus where you can select the forums to search, and a few other parameters like dates, author, titles or all content.



#6 Peter Morley

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:25

  • The car that was shown as the James Dean wreck as part of a road safety scheme wasn't all it was purported to be.

 

The Dean wreck passed to Dr Eschrich who gave/sold some parts to other owners (including Dr Troy McHenry) and kept some (e.g. the engine, transaxle, suspension) for his own use.

 

Dr Eschrich gave the remains of the bodyshell to George Barris.

Barris then used the remains of another crashed Spyder (probably Dr Troy McHenry's) to build up the "wrecked remains" that were used for the "Speed Kills" campaign, the only part from the Dean car being the tail/engine cover.

 

According to Barris that car was stolen from his transporter on its way from an event and has never been seen again - e.g. it disappeared into thin air. Another theory is that with dwindling interest in James Dean in the 60s he scrapped it himself.

 

Where Barris is concerned his "recollection" of events isn't all it could be - he claims he applied the numbers & Lil Bastard lettering when they were the work of his neighbour Dean Jeffries and most of the stories about broken legs, cut fingers, truck drivers dying etc seem to have come from George...

 

  • Serial numbers from Porsche's records:

Chassis number 550-0055

Engine number 90-059

Gearbox 10-046

Delivered to Competition Motors on July 15 1955.

 

  • The location of the parts is:

The engine still belongs to Dr Eschrich's family as does the Lotus 9 he fitted it in.

The gearbox was later sold to Jim Barrington who kept it for 15 years and its location is known.

The right front wing was used on another Cal Club racer's Spyder.

Various smaller parts were used as spares by other Spyder owners.



#7 rbm

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 21:46

what was claimed as the James Dean gearbox was/is for sale.

10.PA110166.jpg

 

having interesting missing pictures? shows in the editor but not the post?

 

anyway picture at:

 

http://www.jamesdean...10.PA110166.jpg


Edited by rbm, 05 February 2014 - 21:48.


#8 D-Type

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 22:21

It's quirk of the software - I can see the picture (Firefox and Windows Vista)



#9 Peter Morley

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 15:10

It would be interesting to know what the asking price is for the gearbox (it has been authenticated by the appropriate people).

Given the price of Dean memorabilia I suspect it is eyewatering.



#10 rbm

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 21:03

Peter, originally I had the words vast and price in the post but it was only from memory and can't remember how much it actually was. (I was surprised to find it still on the net as I came across it a few years back when tracking another lost project).



#11 D-Type

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 21:57

It's a bit ghoulish isn't it.  Supposing someone buys it.  They won't hide their purchase away, will they?  They'll put it on display.  Imagine the converation:

 

Guest : "That's an interesting looking piece of machinery, what is it?"

Host "It's a gearbox for a Porsche."

Guest:  "Why do you have it on display? Is there something special about it?"

Host (proudly): "Yes, it's the actual gearbox from the car that James Dean was driving when he was killed."



#12 GMACKIE

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 22:13

I agree, quite ghoulish, although it seems to be the way some people like it. The next question would more than likely be:-

 

"Wow !..can you see any blood-stains on it ?"



#13 Catalina Park

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:43

http://www.jamesdean550.com/