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Today In History: James Dean Wrecks His Porsche 550 Spyder

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James Dean in his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed

James Dean in his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed

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The wreck of James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed

The wreck of James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed

Enlarge Photo

Fifty-five years ago, on September 30, 1955, Hollywood heartthrob and devoted gearhead James Dean was en route to a car race in Salinas, California. He was driving his beloved Porsche 550 Spyder, with mechanic, Rolf Wuetherich, in the passenger's seat. Just outside Cholame, California, a Ford Custom Tudor driven by a 23-year-old college student veered into Dean's lane. The collision was head-on. Dean was pronounced dead a few hours later, at 5:50pm.

There's been a lot of speculation about Dean -- his talent, his drive, what he could've become if he hadn't died at just 24. There's been just as much speculation about his Porsche, which is rumored to be cursed. (NB: that curse may have infected the company itself, given Porsche's recent adventures in nomenclature.)

Obviously, no one can say for sure what Dean might or might not've become with more time and training. Could he have blossomed into a James Franco or Ryan Reynolds? Or would he have been more like Freddie Prinze, Jr.? (Come back to the five and dime, Freddie. We miss you.)

What we can say is that this clip of Dean talking about the importance of safe driving is more than a little ironic, all things considered.

[History.com]

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