The transaxle from James Dean’s iconic Porsche 550 has sold for a staggering $382,000 at auction.
Listed up for sale through Bring A Trailer a couple of weeks ago, this is the very transaxle that Dean’s 550 Spyder, also known as ‘Little Bastard’, was fitted with. It was sold on a steel display stand with axles, axle tubes, drum brake assemblies, and a starter.
Dean was driving the famed Porsche in the hills above Los Angeles on September 30, 1955 when he was killed after being T-boned by a Ford Tudor while heading to a race meeting. The wrecked 550 Spyder was sold by Dean’s insurance company to another Southern California racer and at some stage, the transaxle was separated from the vehicle and placed in storage for several decades. It was purchased by the seller in March 2020.
Serial numbers on the transmission confirm that it was fitted to a Porsche 550 Spyder with chassis number 550-0055 and engine number 90 059, the car owned and registered by James Dean to his home in Sherman Oaks, California.
It is understood that Warner Brothers barred James Dean from motorsport activities while he was filming Giant in 1955. As production of the film neared its end, he purchased the 550 Spyder on September 21, 1995 and was killed just nine days later.
It remains unclear what the winning bidder of the transmission will do with it. In all likelihood, it will be put on display and, perhaps, kept as an investment.