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$1M offered for James Dean death car

Museum offers payment for Porsche Spyder in which star died, if someone knows where it is.

August 30, 2005; Posted: 11:09 a.m. EDT (1509 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - An Illinois auto museum is offering $1 million for the car in which actor James Dean died in 1955. The car's whereabouts are currently unknown.

Dean crashed the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on Sept. 30, 1955 on a California highway. The badly wrecked car was purchased by car customizer George Barris, who created the customized 1949 Mercury that Dean drove in the movie, "Rebel Without a Cause."

Barris is famous for creating the Batmobile from the 1960s "Batman" TV series as well as the Munster Koach used in the series "The Munsters," and several other TV and movie cars.

Barris had also customized the Porsche for Dean, adding the number "130" and the nickname "Little Bastard" on the back of the car.

Barris sent the wrecked Porsche around the country as part of a police safety demonstration. The car disappeared shortly after one such demonstration in Florida.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dean's death, the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Ill., is exhibiting artifacts from the crash including a passenger-side door from the car. The Museum says it will pay $1 million for the car, if someone will come forward to sell it.

To be eligible for the $1 million payment, the car will have to be authenticated by Barris, the museum said in an announcement.

The price would not be an unreasonable amount for a museum to pay for the car, said McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance a company that insures collectible cars.

Ordinarily, a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, in nearly pristine shape, would sell for about half as much, he said.

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