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-   -   Man claims James Dean's car is hidden in building (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=92591)

Psihala 01 October 2015 09:47 PM

Man claims James Dean's car is hidden in building
 
James Dean's Hollywood story came to a tragic end. Over the years, memorials have been held at the spot where the then-24-year-old crashed his car and lost his life.

Six decades later, it is a million dollar mystery for Brian Grams.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/n...ding/73154200/

Richard W 02 October 2015 09:10 AM

That seems a strange thing to have done with a crashed car. I wonder why?

ganzfeld 02 October 2015 10:43 AM

At that time, they believed that a car would need its body in the afterlife.

The simplest explanation is that this story is a pile of horse hockey. That's my bet.

Singing in the Drizzle 02 October 2015 12:20 PM

I also have the Millennium Falcon stored in the barn as well. Trust me.

Lainie 02 October 2015 01:17 PM

Where did I get the idea it was on display somewhere?

overyonder 02 October 2015 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1889832)
The simplest explanation is that this story is a pile of horse hockey. That's my bet.

Hockey is noble sport. Don't drag it into this. :)

OY

Richard W 02 October 2015 03:18 PM

Isn't "horse hockey" called polo, anyway?

I recently read an article about a mysterious collector who
Quote:

is alleged to own “literary jewels such as a signed first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Vladimir Nabokov’s personal, annotated copy of Lolita, and a letter written by Plath the day before the American poet killed herself”.
I wonder if it's the same mysterious collector who allegedly owns the car (if it's not stuck in a wall somewhere), and what other legendary items he might own?

Beejtronic 02 October 2015 03:56 PM

First Google image search for "Horse Hockey:"

http://www.cameronsbrewing.com/wp-co...ey-300x300.jpg

Although Cameron's Brewing in Oakville, ON doesn't seem to know that lacrosse is our national sport.

RichardM 02 October 2015 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard W (Post 1889829)
That seems a strange thing to have done with a crashed car. I wonder why?

The car was being hauled around the country and being displayed for money at the time it disappeared. So even then, the crashed car was considered valuable. IIRC, it disappeared from a flat bed car in a Chicago train yard.

ganzfeld 03 October 2015 01:28 AM

Sure, flatbed railroad car, a truck, a sealed boxcar, etc. There are so many versions of that story. What that means to me, along with the fact that no one at the time reported it missing, is that its popularity had run its course. Other things had happened in five years and people weren't that interested in that story.

They were charging a quarter to see it at fairs and sometimes showing it supposedly for highway safety. It's not as if it were a valuable museum piece. Then, years later, when people remembered it they began asking where it went, the last owner told this story of it disappearing. I think it was just sent to the dump and this story was a way of saying "are you kidding? I would have never thrown away something so important" because ghosts stories and Dean's 'comeback' - as well as an overall increased interest in Americana - had made it seem that much more valuable. It's very unlikely that someone anticipated that but even more unlikely that they thought it needed to be hidden in the structure of some random building.

UEL 03 October 2015 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beejtronic (Post 1889867)
Although Cameron's Brewing in Oakville, ON doesn't seem to know that lacrosse is our national sport.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/a....7/page-1.html

Both were made as our national sports in 1994. Until then, ice hockey was our national sport.

The lore behind lacrosse being our national sport was borne out of a publicity campaign by a guy named Beers around confederation. He owned interests in the league and by making it popular he was bound to profit. It never was declared our national sport until 1994.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.c...icle/lacrosse/

RichardM 04 October 2015 08:57 PM

I thought almost all sports involve Beers. :p

Roadsterboy 04 October 2015 10:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RichardM (Post 1889872)
The car was being hauled around the country and being displayed for money at the time it disappeared. So even then, the crashed car was considered valuable. IIRC, it disappeared from a flat bed car in a Chicago train yard.

There is or was a long thread over at Pelican Parts about this car. The wreck was sold to an LA-area doctor, who pulled the engine and put it into a Lotus IX (this car still exists and shows the modifications needed to install the Porsche engine. The same family also still has the engine). The transmission was sold on (and exists today). A few suspension bits were salvaged.

The famous display car was built by George Barris, who was given (or otherwise acquired) the rear clamshell and front hood from the Dean car and attached them to a vaguely Porsche shaped wreck to create the display. Comparing photos of the wreck to the one photo of the display that seems to exist bear this out, as those two pieces are the only things that bear any resemblance to the vehicle in the accident scene photos. One theory is that the basis of the display is a different Porsche that was known to have been in the Barris shop at the same time. Either way it's fairly obvious that the display car isn't the same as the wrecked car.

Most likely, the original car was recycled - it contained a lot of aluminum, and SoCal was, at the time, the center of American aerospace manufacturing. Aluminum could always be sold.

RichardM 05 October 2015 12:49 AM

Thanks. Even though I'm a member of PCA and have owned several 914s over the years and even still have a previously Porsche powered Kelmark rally car in the side yard, I wasn't aware of the engine and transmission being reused. George Barris was a noted promoter, so the probability of it having been the actual chassis of James Dean's car seems low.

Casey 14 October 2015 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadsterboy (Post 1890117)
There is or was a long thread over at Pelican Parts about this car. The wreck was sold to an LA-area doctor, who pulled the engine and put it into a Lotus IX (this car still exists and shows the modifications needed to install the Porsche engine. The same family also still has the engine). The transmission was sold on (and exists today). A few suspension bits were salvaged.

The famous display car was built by George Barris, who was given (or otherwise acquired) the rear clamshell and front hood from the Dean car and attached them to a vaguely Porsche shaped wreck to create the display. Comparing photos of the wreck to the one photo of the display that seems to exist bear this out, as those two pieces are the only things that bear any resemblance to the vehicle in the accident scene photos. One theory is that the basis of the display is a different Porsche that was known to have been in the Barris shop at the same time. Either way it's fairly obvious that the display car isn't the same as the wrecked car.

Most likely, the original car was recycled - it contained a lot of aluminum, and SoCal was, at the time, the center of American aerospace manufacturing. Aluminum could always be sold.

Sold, and likely reused and sold again. Aluminum, particularly during that era, was an expensive commodity. I've always figured the crash itself was a combination of carelessness (Don't worry, he has to have seen us) and a whole lot of power in a dinky little car.

The 550 Spyder was 110HP in a 1300 pound car, pretty impressive in 1955. Very light, lots of power. 0.084HP/pound, which is insane.

For comparison, the famed Mercedes 300SL from the same year was 212HP, but weighed 2900 pounds, so 0.07HP/pound. No slouch in competition, the racing-spec version won at Le Mans, the Panamericana rally, and others. Buckets of power, but for pure power/weight ratio, nothing came close to the Spyder.

The Spyder was a rocket on a rollerskate. Nothing even really came close until the Shelby Cobra 10 years later at 2300 pounds, 425HP, 0.184HP/pound (a dream car, but I can dream...). Even the current monster, the 707HP Dodge Charger Hellcat is 4365 pounds- 0.161HP/pound. More raw power, but an extra ton of weight to carry.


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