James Dean’s Crashed Porsche 550 Spyder Transaxle Is For Sale


James Dean’s career as an actor and racer was tragically cut short when his Porsche 550 Spyder collided with another car at an intersection in Cholame, California, in 1955. 

Dean’s car, which he’d nicknamed the “Little Bastard,” was parted out and transplanted into other Porsches. 

Appearing on car auction website “Bring A Trailer,” is probably the “most expensive four-speed transaxle ever sold,” according to car blog Jalopnik. That is because this transaxle belongs to the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder Dean died in. 

“The transaxle was reportedly stored for several decades prior to acquisition from Massachusetts by its current owner in 2020. It is now fitted to a steel display stand with axles, axle tubes, drum brake assemblies, and a starter. This 550 Spyder transaxle is offered by the seller on behalf of its current owner in New York with a copy of a letter from Porsche verifying its origin and a documentation file,” the auction website said. 

During the summer of 1955, Warner Brothers banned Dean from motorsport activities while filming the epic Western drama film “Giant,” which debuted in 1956. At the end of filming, Dean bought a new 550 Spyder to further his passion for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing. 

“The wrecked car was reportedly sold by Dean’s insurance company to another Southern California racer, and the transaxle was later separated from the vehicle before being placed in storage for several decades. The piece was acquired by its current owner in March 2020, and is now installed on a steel display stand that rolls on casters,” the auction listing said. 

The seller provides official documentation from the California DMV, Porsche, and public records to authenticate the transaxle.