While filming Rebel Without A Cause, James Dean bought the Porsche 550 Spyder. The name “Little Bastard” was given by Dean’s language coach, Bill Hickman. Actor Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) told Dean that the car had a “sinister” appearance and said: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Seven days later, Dean got killed in a car crash.
That “Little Bastard” not only killed James Dean, but killed and maimed others who came in contact with it causing many to say that the car cursed. George Barris, who customized the 550 originally, bought the wrecked carcass of “Little Bastard” for $2500. It slipped off its trailer and broke a mechanics leg. Barris sold the engine and drivetrain to Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While the two were both racing against one another in cars that had parts from the “Little Bastard,” McHenry lost control and hit a tree, killing him instantly and Eschrid was seriously injured when his car suddenly locked up and rolled over while going into a turn. Barris still had two tires from the 550 which were untouched in Dean’s accident. He sold them and not long after, both blew out simultaneously causing the new owner’s car to run off the road.
Barris decided to hide the car but was convinced by the California Highway Patrol to lend it to a highway safety exhibit. The first exhibit was unsuccessful as the garage that housed the car caught fire and burned to the ground. Mysteriously the car suffered virtually no damage from the fire. The next exhibition at a local high school ended abruptly when the car fell off its display and broke a student’s hip.
The curse continued when the “Little Bastard” was being transported when the truck carrying the car lost control which caused the driver to fall out and somehow get crushed by the car after it fell off the back. The car fell off of two more transport trucks while travelling on the freeway fortunately not injuring anyone. The CHP decided that it had had enough of the “Little Bastard” and while transporting the car back to Barris, the car mysteriously vanished from the truck and has not been seen since…