British Actor Alec Guinness took one look at James Dean's "Little Bastard", Dean's new Porsche 550 Spyder, and warned him that he would be dead within the WEEK if he drove it.....
This was outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, on Sept. 24, 1955.
By September 30, 1955, Guinness' ominous prediction came TRUE.
Dean had just wrapped the film "GIANT" and was looking for a little excitement, so decided to enter an Auto race in Salinas, California.
Dean had raced before, winning a few, losing a few, and had a passion for SPEED...
Dean was a great driver, and, at first, intended to tow the "Little Bastard" behind his station wagon. At the last moment, he changed his mind, wanting to become more familiar with the vehicle before the race.
He set off with friend and mechanic Rolf Wutherich. At 3:30PM, Dean was pulled over by an officer for the California Highway patrol and given a ticket for speeding, doing 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. Dean apologized to the officer, and swore to go no faster than the speed limit from then on.
Dean kept his word. He was traveling at
55-56 mph, just outside of the city of CHOLAME, Ca, when Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed crossed over into his lane and struck him head on.....
Contrary to everything you've heard, James Dean was NOT speeding at the time of the accident, he was traveling at 55-56 mph....
He did not die instantly, in fact, he was breathing heavily when the doors to the ambulance closed. He died ten minutes later on the way to the hospital.
Dean suffered a broken neck and massive internal injuries. Wutherich was thrown from the Little Bastard, suffering a broken jaw and other injuries...
There is a Memorial Highway Sign that identifies the spot where the accident occurred...
He was only 24 years old. His last words, according to Wutherich, were "He's gotta stop. He'll see us..."
Not long before the accident, Dean filmed a segment with actor Gig Young for "WARNER BROTHERS PRESENTS" , about the perils of driving at unsafe speeds, in which he ad-libbed "Please drive safely, the life you save may be MINE"......
And: He did not die at the famous Dead Man's Curve, which is just behind UCLA in Los Angeles.
People confuse "James Dean" with "JAN and DEAN" who performed the famous song....
It was JAN BERRY that almost lost his life at that famous CURVE from the song title...