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WWJDD (What Would James Dean Drive) Today?

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February 8th marks the day back in 1931 when James Dean materialized onto our humble planet. This icon of rebellious American youth is known for his brief-but-celebrated acting career as well as his untimely death on September 30, 1955, in a car crash. Many sources claim that his car, a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder called “Little Bastard,” was haunted, as evidenced by both Dean’s accident and the fatal mishaps that occurred when parts of it were reused later on.

James Dean Little Bastard Porsche Spyder Replica

Replica of James Dean’s 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed “Little Bastard”
Photo: Brad Hammonds

Although we may never know for sure if it was cursed or not, we do know that it symbolized its owner’s free-spirited, unconventional sass, charismatic charm, and an innate desire to be noticed.

To commemorate his birthday, here are four contemporary vehicles we think that Dean would have enjoyed driving if he was around today.

Pontiac Solstice

Pontiac Solstice
Photo: Nathan Bittinger

Pontiac Solstice

The contoured curves, circular headlight design, low windshield height, and subtle grille design are a modern reimagining of Dean’s original silver Porsche 550 Spyder.

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2018 BMW Z4 Roadster concept

2018 BMW Z4 Roadster Concept

Sharp dynamics and luxury car interior fuse into one sleek ride, in the 2018 BMW Z4 Roadster concept that the brand unveiled just this past summer. This chiseled, muscular build is definitely head-turning.

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Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar F-Type
Photo: Jaguar MENA

Jaguar F-Type

The current Jaguar F-Type is capable of 575 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, a level of potency that Dean could’ve only dreamed of back in the 1950s. Aerodynamic lines coupled with the brand’s sporty reputation make it a winning choice worthy of the speed-loving movie star.

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2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

The acceleration of this beast would instantly win the heart of James Dean; it can attain 60 mph from a standstill in just 2.7 seconds. At 620 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, this vigorous ride can reach a top track speed of 211 mph, 61 mph faster than Dean achieved in the “Little Bastard.”

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News Sources: Notes on the Road, The Vintage News

  • Lee Raskin

    A nice tribute to James Dean on his birthday, February 8th. James Dean was a real Porschephile. Had he lived beyond 9-30-55…Dean would have stayed with the Porsche Marque. James Dean’s Porsche Spyder VIN 550-0055 has been MIA since it mysteriously disappeared in 1960. A recent publication, James Dean: On The Road To Salinas becomes the definitive account of James Dean’s motorsports endeavors…including a complete hour by hour summary of the fatal accident on 9-30-55…and the aftermath — 62 years later. James Dean….Lives On! Vroom, Vroooom!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d818c318d8185e7c27015c16791a04ff6ca8b11c01e46f0a1722e910f20ae57.jpg