James Dean's final Porsche photo to be sold at auction


The last official picture of movie legend James Dean taken just hours before his infamous fatal crash is set to go under the hammer.

The picture shows Dean traveling with mechanic and friend Rolf Wutherich as they were about to head out of Los Angeles.

The photographer, Sanford Roth, was accompanying Dean to the Salinas Road Races. The snap depicts Dean and Wutherich on a sunny Californian morning on September 30, 1955, sitting in the star's Porsche 550 Spyder. Later that day Dean was dead and Wutherich seriously injured thanks to a crash on Route 466 near Pasa Robles.

The poignant photo is all set to go under the hammer at Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills, California, on April 5. Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, told the Daily Mail: "James Dean is quite the icon today yet he was only in Hollywood for five years.

"He made three movies and two of those came out after his death. It's amazing that in 2013 he is still such a memorable icon.

"This is a candid photo and was taken by the photographer from Dean's station wagon in front. Dean was on his way to a car race and it looks like they were all having fun.

"It is a forever powerful and compelling image, with Dean clasping his mechanic's hand in a gesture of anticipation and triumph. As it is one of the last photos ever taken of him, it is most poignant."

Dean first met Roth during the filming of the 1956 film Giant, and the pair soon struck up a friendship. Roth took a number of images of Dean on set – and along with the picture above, some of these photos will also be going under the hammer at the sale.

Auctioneers reckon the poignant last official photo of Dean could fetch £500.