James Dean's passion for racing was legendary. His vehicle collection and racing career brought excitement to his life, but is also speculated as contributing to his tragic death.
In 1949, Jimmy’s father bought him a used ’39 Chevy.
In May 1954 Jimmy purchased a red MG and later purchased a white ’55 Ford stationwagon with wood paneling.
In March 1955 he bought his Porsche 356 1,500cc Super Speedster convertible; and in September 1955 Jimmy bought his silver Porsche 550 Spyder, he had the number 130 painted on the hood, and on the back end of the car, he commissioned car customizer George Barris to paint his nickname "Little Bastard," the nickname he got from Bill Hickman, who had been his dialogue coach on "Giant."
James Dean's uncle Marcus bought him his first motorcycle, a 1947 Czech Whizzer. Jimmy also owned an English cycle, a Harley, a 500cc Norton, an Indian 500, an Italian Lancia scooter and a British Triumph T-110, which had "Dean's Dilemma" painted on the side.
Race 1: March 26th, 1955
Palm Springs Road Races
Jimmy won the preliminary race, qualifying him for the finals. In the finals, Jimmy competed against such veterans as Ken Miles and Cy Yedor, both of whom were driving MG Specials. Jimmy finished the race in third place. But later, Miles was disqualified on a technicality and Jimmy was bumped up to second place.
Race 2: May 1st, 1955
Minter Field Bakersfield, California
Jimmy entered the 1,300-2,000cc production and 750-1,500cc modified race. He placed third behind Marion Playan in an MG Special and John Kunstle in Panhard Devin. Although he finished third in the main event, he was first in his class.
Race 3: Memorial Day, May 28-29, 1955
Santa Barbara Road Races
Jimmy entered the 1,500cc production event. He moved up to fourth place before his Porsche blew a piston.