How This Driving Machine Continues to Live Up to Its Legend

Porsche still fuels American dreams

On Sept. 30, 1955, James Dean lost his life behind the wheel of a Porsche 550 Spyder. Zipping down a stretch of California highway at dusk en route to a race in Salinas, Dean's car, nicknamed "Little Bastard," plowed into a Ford coupe at the junction of Routes 46 and 41. For many Americans, news accounts of the Hollywood icon's death marked the first time they'd heard of Porsche, which had, by most accounts, sold just a few thousand vehicles in the United States at the time.