James Dean’s “Little Bastard”


A lot of people have asked “why call the frame the Little Bastard?”

The reason behind it is our love of Classic Porsches and in particular the Porsche 550 Spyder.

Perhaps the most famous Porsche 550 built was James Dean‘s “Little Bastard” numbered 130 (VIN 550-0055) which Dean fatally crashed into Donald Turnupseed’s 1950 Ford Custom at the CA Rt. 46/41 Cholame Junction on September 30, 1955.

As Dean was finishing up Giant’s filming in September, 1955, he suddenly traded in his 356 Porsche Super Speedster at Competition Motors for a new 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21st and immediately entered the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1 and 2.

According to Lee Raskin, Porsche historian, and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car:

“Dean Jeffries, who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which consisted of: painting ‘130’ in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted “Little Bastard” in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for long distance endurance racing identification.

Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname “Little Bastard” by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros. stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Previous references to Hickman say he was Dean’s dialogue coach on Giant. Bob Hinkle, a Texan, was actually Dean’s Giant dialogue coach. Hickman was part of Dean’s group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean, “little bastard.” And Dean called Hickman, “big bastard.” Another version of the “Little Bastard” origin has been corroborated by two of Dean’s close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio’s lot. And Dean wanted to get ‘even’ with Warner by naming his race car, “Little Bastard” and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the “Little Bastard” in between making movies for Warner Bros.

Hence the name “Little Bastard” for RAW’s first frame, we have used the same “Script” font that James Dean used on his “Little Bastard” (See Below)


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