Killer Rides – Cursed Cars

A while back, I ran up on this legend having to do with James Dean’s car being cursed. I’d heard a little something about it but didn’t realize how much madness was connected to this legend. Check out what I found: So, while James is filming “Rebel Without a Cause” he upgrades his 356 to the 550 Spyder, then enlists the help of professionals from the filming industry to help him customize his new toy. So, George Barris comes in and gives the car tartan seats, two red stripes over the rear wheels then plasters the number 130 on the doors, hood and engine cover. Bill Hickman dubs the car “Little Bastard” which would be painted on the car by master pin-striper, Dean Jeffries.

Ok, so here we go, on September 3rd 1955, Dean meets up with actor Alec Guinness outside of a restaraunt. Dean invites Guinness to come outside and check out his new ride. Guinness takes one look at the car then tells Dean that to him, the car had a seriously sinister appearance. He didn’t stop there though, he also tells Dean that if he gets into that car, he’d be found dead in it by the same time next week. Well, Guinness’s prediction came true, to the day even! 7 days later Dean was discovered dead in that car.

Dean decided to head out to a race in Salinas with a German Porsche mechanic as his passenger. Witnesses at the scene report that Dean hadn’t been speeding at the time, maybe that’s because he’d already caught a ticket in Bakersfield earlier that day. Regardless of the fact that he’d slowed his ass down, there was still a horrendous accident, and it wasn’t Dean’s fault. It seems that a 23 year old college student got a wild hair up his ass and made a left turn right in front of him. Of course the kid had no injuries. Dean’s passenger was beat up pretty bad, but he recovered, Dean, of course was dead on the scene.

At this time in his career, there had only been 1 film released which just happened to come out at the time of his death. His other two films followed shortly behind. Dean was already on his way to stardom, but his fatal wreck elevated his status immediately to that of a legend.

So, here’s where the curse comes in. We’ll start with the passenger, remember, the Porsche mechanic. Though his physical injuries healed, this poor dude suffered traumatic psychological scars. He was overcome by guilt that he had survived and Dean didn’t. He tried and failed twice to commit suicide during the 60’s, in 1967 he stabbed his wife 14 times then again attempted and failed to kill himself. He finally wound up dying in 1981, victim of a drunk driving accident, the college student that had caused the wreck? he died in 1981 too, of lung cancer.

Ok so The Little Bastard killed Dean, but didn’t stop there. It brought doom and gloom to damned near everybody that touched it. So George Barris, remember him, the guy that helped Dean customize the Spyder, yeah him. Well, he buys the wrecked carcass for $2500. The Little Bastard was then loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck to be shipped to Barris’ garage. This is where a string of freakish accidents start to come in play. The car somehow slips off of the truck and breaks a nearby mechanic’s leg.

Not long after that, Barris sells the engine and the drive train to Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. Both of these dudes were professional race car drivers. They would be racing against each other, both of them in cars that had parts from the Little Bastard, hmmm, sounds bad…. Yeah, it was. During this race McHenry loses control of his car and hits a tree, he was killed instantly. Eschrid had a close call, he was nearly killed when his car locks up and rolls over while going into a turn.

In the meanwhile, Barris is still selling parts off of this car! What a douchebag! right! He has two tires from off of the car that had not been damaged in the wreck. He sells them some guy to put on his car. Not quite a week later the dude is driving down the road and both tires blow, at the same time, sending him barrelling off of the highway and into a thick treeline. The dude survives but not without serious injuries.

While in Barris’ possession, the car had become demonized and was developing a bit of fame on it’s own. Thieves catch wind that Barris has the car and they set out to make some cold hard cash. Well, these ass clowns apparently didn’t do their homework, cause if they had, they’d known not to mess with this bad-assed wreck right! Well, they didn’t, that’s why we’re talking about them! So one of the idiots, while trying to steel the steering wheel, rips his arm open and now it’s gushing blood. The other prize winner is trying to steal the blood stained tartan seat where Dean died, it didn’t go so well for him either. He manages to pinch his hand in the seat frame, it looks like it’s been through a meat grinder by the time he gets himself freed. So yeah, that score was a bust!

So by now Barris has caught on to the fact that the car is cursed. He decides that he’s going to hide the car so no one else gets hurt, but before he sees it through he’s talked into lending the evil carcass of the Little Bastard to the California Highway Patrol as a safety exhibit. Yeah, not so much folks.

The first showing had been widely publicized but ended badly as the metal building that had housed the wreck mysteriously burns to the ground, the odd thing, there was no further damage to Little Bastard. The second showing, at a local high school, didn’t go exactly as planned either. The car somehow slides off it’s display and breaks a nearby student’s hip.

It didn’t end there though. The car is loaded back up on a flatbed truck to be shipped to a third exhibit. While being transported, the truck that was hauling the car somehow lost control, the driver falls out of the truck and is crushed by the car as it comes flying off of the back of the truck. Wait! What? Yeah, let me go over that one more time. So the driver of the truck that’s hauling the car somehow loses control, he somehow falls out of the truck and then he’s crushed by Little Bastard as it comes flying off of the flat bed. That’s like some Fast & Furious kind of jacked up stunt there folks. It wasn’t the last time either though, the car slides off of it’s transport two more times before it makes it back to the California Highway Patrol office, luckily no one was injured the last 2 times.

So, by now, these guys had had enough of the madness! They call Barris and inform him that they are shipping the car back to him. Little Bastard never arrived though, somewhere enroute, it just mysteriously disappears. So, here’s a warming kiddos, if you see a great deal on a 550 Spyder listed on E-bay, Don’t, just don’t, right?

 

I’ve got another car legend to tell you about. This one one is from a bit further back in history but, this car is literally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, sound like bullshit? Nope, not tonight, not on this show! Let me tell you about this 1914 Graf & Stift Limo. More affectionately known as the death limo, this wicked bastard was purchased when it was brand new by none other than Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This is where the numbers start mounting folks, check it out. So the Archduke and his wife roll into Serajavo on June 29, 1914, of course they’re in the brand new Graf & Stift Limo. Mind you, these were some really tense times back in the day; everybody and their Grandmama were revolting and the streets were full of violence. The Archduke knew that he was risking both his and his wife’s life by being present during the turmoil, but against his own gut feelings as well as four previous warnings from others, he went anyway.

As the car approaches the corner of Rudolph street, it stalls, conveniently within 6 ft of an anarchist who had been plotting his assassination. The Archduke and his wife were both shot in the head and throat, they were dead on scene. This one ghastly, and might I add, well orchestrated act, was the cause of the Great War, better known today as World War I. Oh, did I forget to mention that the car escapes this entire event with absolutely no damage? Yeah, there’s that. Back to this war and the tens of thousands of lives it claimed, perhaps it wouldn’t have went down this way if the brand new, state of the art, luxery limo, hadn’t stalled in the middle of an intersection where a assassin stood waiting. The French lost more men in the first month of this war than the United states lost all together in the Civil War. The final count of fallen soldiers fell somewhere around 17 million before it was all said and done. That’s a lot of dead bodies ya’ll.

Here’s the kicker with the Archduke though. He had just barely escaped a murder attempt earlier that day, he and his wife were actually on their way to the hospital to check on pedestrians and body guards that had been injured in the crossfire. So right now we have an actual body count of 2, we won’t go into the whole World War I aspect.

So, after the assassination, the Ferdinand’s limo was owned by fifteen other private parties. During that time, it was involved in six accidents and took the lives of thirteen more people, that we know of. The first new owner was a Austrian general. He bought the car after his defeat at the Battle of Valjevo. He winds up taking it on a trip to Vienna where he was even further disgraced. He suddenly began having mental problems and was committed. He died bat shit crazy in an insane asylum.

The next owner was an army captain. Nine days after purchasing the car, he’s cruising along some back ass country roads when two peasants walked out onto the road in front of him. He jerks the steering wheel in attempt to dodge them, the car starts sliding and he loses control. He takes out the two peasants then the car leaves the road and runs straight into a tree, killing the captain on impact.

After that, the governor of Yugoslavia buys the car. During the time he owns it, he was in four accidents… he lost his arm in the last one. He comes to the conclusion that the Graf & Stift Limo was bad luck. His friend, doctor Sikris, didn’t believe a car could be cursed. So he buys it and six months later the car goes out of control again, flips over and crushes the good Doctor to death.

The next idiot to buy this car is a diamond dealer. Mere weeks after the purchase, he commits suicide. After him came a Swiss race car driver who winds up crashing into a wall. He was thrown out of the car, over the wall, and died on the spot, go figure right! So the next poor bastard the car kills didn’t even own it, he was a Serbian Farmer. From what I gather he was the one sent to clean up the latest wreck scene and take the car away. In attempting to remove the car, he tries to fire the engine but finds the ignition was damaged. He decides to tow the Graf & Stift with his wagon. Somehow, the car falls on top of him, yep, he died too.

And finally it’s 1926 and we’re to the last owner. Tiber Hirshfeld was a garage owner. He was on his way to a wedding with five close friends. While speeding dangerously, the cursed car mysteriously spun out of control. Tiber was killed in the crash, together with four of his passengers.

So, this death trap actually ended up in the War History Museum of Vienna, where it may still be seen, but bet your sweet ass, nobody is taking that damn thing on a joy ride!

 

And here’s one last cursed car I wanna tell Y’all about tonight, It’s a 1964 Dodge 330 Limited Edition dubbed the “Golden Eagle” AKA The most evil car in America!

The Dodge was originally purchased as a police car for Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Apparently, the Dodge didn’t care for being on the force. All three officers that had ever driven the car died in bizarre murder suicides. All three of them offed their entire families before killing themselves. Though there’s not a lot of details to be found on the officers, it is recorded that the police station sold the car shortly after to a local family, the Allen’s.

The car was intended to be the everyday driver for the Allen’s, but this too became problematic. On several occasions the car would randomly fling open its doors while going down the highway, or the steering wheel would jam at the most inopportune moments. Even though the Dodge never turned on the Allen’s as violently as it did so many others, this bad boy was gaining one hellish reputation.

Some time in the 1980s members of a local church took it upon themselves to vandalize this demon infested car. In their minds they were saving innocent victims from whatever evil it was that controlled the Dodge. Well, again, the car was more than a little pissed off from having been tampered with. Every member of this Holy Roller group of vandals that laid hands on the car died some pretty brutal and bizarre deaths shortly thereafter. Some perished in horrific car crashes from 18-wheelers decapitating them and 4 of them were struck by lightning.

Of all the strange stories related to this car, the deaths involving children are by far the creepiest. Two children, one in the 60s and one in the 80s, were hit by other cars and flung across the street to land either under the bumper or on the hood of the Golden Eagle. Both died before paramedics could reach the scene. In 2007 a kid was dared to touch the Golden Eagle, a couple weeks later he murdered his whole family (even the dog) and burned his house to the ground.

Today the car is in pieces. In 2010 another church group decided the car was possessed. They stole the car, chopped it up, and distributed it to various junkyards. Keep that in mind if your scouring junkyards for old Dodge parts folks!

 

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