Porsche Folio "Readers Corner"

James Dean Named his 550 Spyder "Little Bastard"

Porsche 550 spyder


Although James Dean had starred in only three films in his short career: Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant before he died at age 24, he had cemented his on screen reputation as well as earning himself the status of an icon. Most Porsche fans know that James Dean died tragically while driving his Porsche 550 Spyder on September 30th 1955.

What you may not have known, is that James Dean had nicknamed his 550 "Little Bastard". While James Dean was filming Rebel Without a Cause, he traded his Porsche 356 Speedster for the more powerful and faster Porsche 550 Spyder. The 550 itself would become part of the legend and was one of only 90 Porsche Sypders. It was numbered 130, it had a tartan seat design along with two red stripes at the rear. Dean Jeffries, a custom car painter, was commissoned by James Dean to work on the car. He painted '130' in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted "Little Bastard" in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Porsche Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for racing ID.


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