Back in the day, James Dean was da man when it came to hot young Hollywood actors. However, James Dean’s star, though it shone brightly, did not shine long for the cool sultry dude who was born in 1931 died just 24 years later in 1955 when the Porsche 550 Spyder he was driving alongside Rolf Wutherich, his co-driver, slammed into a 1950 Ford Tudor coupe, a much larger car. As the Porsche sped around a corner on Route 41 outside of Cholame, California.
Though Dean’s Porsche was moving at least as fast 85 miles per hour and flew through the air around 40 feet after it hit the Ford, both Dean and Wutherich were not killed instantly. They were both pulled from the demolished Spyder alive. Sadly though, Dean soon died at the scene. Wutherich was a real stud having been a Luftwaffe glider pilot and paratrooper and was at the time of the crash a member of the Porsche racing team survived the terrible accident and lived on until 1981 when he was killed while driving drunk in Germany. Word is he suffered from depression and severe psychological disorders ever since the Dean accident.
Though the wreckage of Dean’s Spyder toured the nation as a driver safety display for many years, its current location is unknown.
19. Princess Grace’s Porsche Rover P6 35001
Grace Kelly is one of my favorite movie stars of all time although I have never seen any of her movies. But, her life and her death were both remarkable.
The American lady started acting professionally at the age of 20 and made it pretty big starring alongside Cary Grant in “To Catch a Thief,” Bing Crosby in “High Society,” and Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” I really ought to watch this last movie; it is after all a classic man’s movie.
However, her career path was soon to end after she met Monaco Prince Rainier while she was heading the United States delegations at the famed Cannes Film Festival in 1955 and promptly fell in love. He proposed and she accepted which meant that she had to give up acting so she could focus on being a wife and a princess along with her philanthropic work. Princess Kelly and her husband had three children together, the youngest of whom, Stephanie, was with her when she killed in a single-car accident that was caused when the princess suffered a minor stroke while driving her Porsche Rover P6 35001.
They both survived the crash although Grace of Monaco soon died in the hospital. Though Stephanie lived, her injuries were so severe that she was in the hospital at the time of her mother’s funeral.
18. Lawrence of Arabia’s Brough Superior SS100 Motorcycle
Have you seen the movie “Lawrence of Arabia?” If not, go watch it NOW for this 1962 movies is a classic for a reason: it is beautifully shot, tells the amazing yet true story of a British officer who helps Arabian tribes fight the Turks during the Word War I, and has some of the finest acting to ever hit the big screen!
Have you read “Seven Pillars of Wisdom?” Well, if not, go read it NOW for it tells the tale of that same officer doing that same dang thing but in that officer’s very own words. That English officer was of course, T.E. Lawrence who is more widely known as Lawrence of Arabia. And, though Colonel Lawrence did great deeds in the War and even survived the war, he died a terrible and, some would say, foolish death once the first world war ended and he had left the military. He died in a hospital just two months after being discharged six days after crashing his Brough Superior Motorcycle while riding at an insane speed on a country road in Dorset England.
His death struck the western world hard and it was studied by many and eventually led to the widespread wearing of motorcycle helmets all around the world.