Even though Dean only made three films and died at the age of 24, his legacy is so great he’s still one of the most legendary names in the film industry. On the other hand, the story of his Porsche 550 Spyder nicknamed “Little Bastard” is one of the most enduring automotive mysteries of all time. Dean died in 1955, crashing his Porsche at an intersection in Cholame, California. The car was badly damaged, so they sold some mechanical parts like the engine, but the body and few components remained. After a few owners, the car ended up with famous Hollywood customizer George Barris.
He loaned it to an organization that promoted highway safety. Reports of people being injured in freak accidents involving falling pieces from the car and other strange occurrences lead the public to call the crashed Porsche, “a cursed car.” In the late ’60s, they shipped the remains of the 550 Spyder from Florida to California, but they never arrived in L.A. Someone stole the car under suspicious circumstances and no one has been able to recover it. Some historians claim Barris had something to do with the disappearance of the legendary Dean`s Porsche. But Barris took the secret to the grave since he passed away in 2015.
Duesenbergs are one of the finest American cars the industry ever built. It is also one of the most respected, sought-after classic cars in the world. The SJ model is the top of the line “Doozy” with a supercharged eight-cylinder engine and an astonishing 320 HP. This was unheard of in the 1930s. Duesenberg only made 26 of them. While they’ve accounted for most of the cars, the chassis number 506 has been missing since the early ’60s.
The car was bodied by the French company Franay, appearing at the Paris Motor Show in 1934. They sold it to Emile Beghain of Algeria, who raced on the Le Mans track, later returning with the car to Algeria. The elegant roadster remained in his possession until 1962 when civil war broke out and Beghain was forced to flee. Although some people think the car was destroyed, there is no evidence of that, so the destiny of the SJ-506 remains a mystery.
One of the legendary and lost Motorama concepts was the beautiful Cadillac La Espada. Cadillac designed it as an elegant two-seater roadster. The La Espada featured several interesting, innovative features like a power top that created a curved surface when drivers closed it. It also had four headlights.
The car was a perfectly functional prototype with a Cadillac V8 engine delivering 230 HP. As with all other outdated concepts, it was destined for the crusher. However, it looks like it never got there. The story is they sold the car was sold to a private party who stored it in their garage, rarely driving it. After that, they sent it to the scrapyard and it disappeared afterward.
The Boss 429 Rear Engine is one of the most interesting Mustang prototypes. Despite the fact it didn’t appear on the show circuit back in the late ’60s, it caused a lot of controversies. Basically, they took the 1969 Boss 429 and moved the engine to the trunk. Then Ford extensively tested it to see if this conversion had significant advantages over the standard layout.
They placed the engine longitudinally in the trunk and connected it to the rear wheels over the C6 automatic transmission unit. Next, they turned the rear glass into a hatchback door to provide access to the engine. In fact, the entire conversion was surprisingly trouble-free. The Boss 429 Rear Engine had a 40/60 weight balance. The added weight over the rear axle helped launch it off the line and reduced wheel spin. However, Ford realized there weren’t any significant performance improvements, so they decided to kill the project and nobody saw this car again.
The success of the Charger-inspired the Chrysler designers to develop the idea of a Dodge performance model. The original Charger had power, performance, and countless racing wins. But it was still a big, heavy, and non-aerodynamic muscle machine. However, the 1968 Charger III concept was something quite different. The Charger III was no longer a muscle car, but a pure two-seater sports machine. It had compact dimensions, a low profile, a low weight, and several unusual features.
For example, instead of conventional doors, the whole top of the car opened to allow access to the interior. Also, the steering column tilted along with the steering wheel to make entry more comfortable. On the back of the car, there were massive airbrakes. In fact, they were similar to the ones on airplanes that deploy under heavy braking. Unfortunately, since the whole car was extremely futuristic, it was doomed from real production.
In 1953, Cadillac presented the Le Mans Concept, naming it after the legendary French racing track they raced on in the late â40s and early â50s. They designed this concept car as a styling exercise. In fact, the design of the car, including its lines and details including its legendary four headlights are still visible on future Cadillac models.
They conceived the car as a roadster with an unusual three-seat configuration. Interestingly, they made it out of fiberglass, just like the first Corvette. The legendary mysteries of famous lost cars still intrigue many people and car historians today. If you ever see any of these treasures, be sure to take a picture before it disappears again.