Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures is the previously-anonymous winner of a nearly $400,000 auction that makes him the owner of a macabre piece of film history. Bagans paid $382,000 for the 4-speed transaxle from James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder -- the car the film legend was driving when he died in 1955. While most of the car was either scrapped or reused for parts, there re some pieces of the car that have remained intact and in circulation, and the transaxle is supposedly the largest remaining portion of Dean's car -- but it isn't simple fandom that led Bagans to buy in.
Instead, Bagans is said to have purchased the piece so that he can investigate the supposed curse that follows the car. Per TMZ, who reported his identity, resales of parts originally used in Dean's car went to numerous people who later crashed, with at least one of the accidents being fatal.
Bagans reportedly said that he plans to put the transaxle on display at his "haunted museum" in Nevada.
Dean, best known for his role in the iconic film Rebel Without a Cause, also appeared in the movies Giant and East of Eden, with the former being released after Dean's death. He died while driving the car at high speed on a public road, supposedly to train for an upcoming race that he had registered for. Dean struck an oncoming car which had drifted into Dean's lane, with his speed rendering him unable to stop in time. Dean was killed almost instantly, suffering numerous fatal injuries as his car was thrown across a highway. Witnesses on the scene, including a medical professional who happened to be nearby, tried to help him but to no avail.
A song about Dean, his relationship with his parents and his death, was released in 1970 by folk music great Phil Ochs. Titled "Jim Dean of Indiana," it addressed the idea of Dean's death taking on a mythic quality and his gravesite becoming a kind of mecca for disaffected youth.