In contrast to so many bastardized Porsches, this head-turning 1997 986 Boxster remains truly unique. Designed as an homage to the "Little Bastard" 550 Spyder model immortalized by James Dean and his fatal accident, the bespoke Porsche wanders far from the usual path tread by your everyday Boxster – and it just sold for $29,120 during this month's RM Sotheby's Amelia Island auction.
Plans started in 1999, the build emerging from deep within Dean Trindle's creative cognizance. As the owner of the car, Dean yearned to tailor his Porsche into something that paid tribute to a bygone era. Seeking inspiration from his passion for well-crafted coach-built cars, Trindle decided to enlist Mark Schlacter, of Metalkraft Coachwerks, to ‘fix’ the aspects he didn’t like about the German sports car.
The major complaints started with the headlights, and that turned into the concept for what he calls “The Dean.” The headlights were moved to their new position using a bracket that’s bolted to the original mounting points, and feature an integral turn signal within the lens. As far as the rest of the appearance goes, it’s largely decorated with magnetic graphics.
The front fenders are based on the original bolt-on fenders that have been extended, while keeping the same mounting points, and even uses the same hardware. With the exception of the fuel filler provision, the hood is the same, and modifications to the fuel neck were completed using genuine Porsche materials. Porsche 356 grilles take real estate at the rear deck lid, which were installed with an internal boxed collector pan & drain.
"The Dean" has recently traveled to Germany for action on the Nürburgring, with further bodywork tailored by RUF Porsche Performance and TechArt Studios. The car currently spends most of its time in a climate controlled garage, but takes an occasional trip to the Porsche dealer for servicing.
The real deal about the car is this; it’s not so much intended to copy the original car, it's more the original owner’s take on what a tribute car should look like. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, the car can be completely restored to factory condition, yet it might not be worth the trouble when you can likely buy a similar example for less. Still, the car was built to retain all of the factory integrity, and all of the parts can be pulled and replaced by the original components, if so desired.
Love it, or hate it, “The Dean” is an award-winning car that’s received many awards at several Porsche shows and events. Alternatively, public reception has been a mixed bag in the past when its been the spotlight of car features. Regardless of opinion though, there is no doubting that this Porsche is unique in the extreme.
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