DescriptionJames Dean's Signed Registration for His Tragic Final Race. Undoubtedly the most significant James Dean document to become available for auction is his signed entry form for the race he was destined not to attend -- the October 1-2 Salinas Road Races. Dean died en route to the Salinas races on September 30, 1955, in the legendary "Little Bastard" Porsche 550 Spyder that he was to race in the event. This incredible document stands alone as an artifact of both Dean's life and his tragic death, an incomparable item.
An intriguing observation of James Dean came from his good friend, actor Rod Steiger: "He gave me his prized copy of Death in the Afternoon... Every line that dealt with death was underlined in red pencil... Dean didn't really give a s**t about movies. All he wanted to do was say the lines and get the hell into the car." Quite an assessment of the two-time Oscar nominee. Dean's acting being second only to his fascination with racing is quite a revelation, but to those who knew him, his dedication to the sport was without parallel. Having raced in three prior events in Palm Springs, Bakersfield, and in Santa Barbara, Dean entered the 1st Annual Salinas Airport Sports Car Races with high hopes -- he placed third at Palm Springs and Bakersfield, and moved to fourth at Santa Barbara before blowing a piston. The young actor was known on the tracks by other drivers and not exactly taken seriously -- throngs of fans followed him everywhere, hindering Dean's reputation with fellow racers. He had a lot to prove. Competing at the Salinas track would have undoubtedly provided Jimmy with the racing credibility he deserved.
Though he was contractually prohibited from racing while shooting Giant, once filming wrapped in Texas, Dean prepared for the Salinas races, completing his entry form at the last minute. The registration deadline was September 18, J
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