Fatal attraction: James Dean, iconic actor and a "carefree daredevil with a tragic end", in a Porsche.
It was the most famous car crash in history, certainly until Princess Di was killed in Paris in 1997.
James Dean, the swaggering supercool actor, had managed to write himself off behind the wheel of a silver Porsche 550 Spyder he'd owned for just nine days.
The year was 1955, and it could have been a disaster for the fledgling Porsche company.
Meanwhile the actor, who had appeared in only one released film at that point, may well have faded away.
Yet the car and the man grew in stature through the years as symbols of immortal youthfulness.
When a recent issue of Christophorus, the official Porsche magazine, featured "Porsche People", there was Dean on the cover.
Didn't seem to matter that his love affair with the brand had cost his life. "Carefree daredevil with a tragic end" was the caption.
Dean's first races were in a 356 Speedster, which he bought in March 1955. He showed promise, winning a race for novices.
When his fast-rising income permitted it, he graduated to the Spyder 550, an ultra-low, rear-engined sports-racer that cost $7000 in the States, the equivalent of two new Cadillacs.
It had a modest 1.5-litre aircooled flat four but was highly successful in motor sport because of its nimble handling and low mass (550 was its racing weight in kilograms).
Dean had the number 130 painted on the doors, nose and engine cover, and one of his nicknames, "Little Bastard", inscribed on the tail.
He struck a deal with Competition Motors in Hollywood - which was distributing the 550 - to have a mechanic accompany him to his first race in the car.
What turned out to be a very short straw went to former Luftwaffe glider pilot and Porsche employee Rolf Wütherich who had recently moved from Germany to help out with the 550 introduction.
It was to be Dean's fourth race at Salinas Municipal Airport, California, in September 1955. If the pair drove there, they could run the engine in too.
There are a lot of things that have added to the legend. Dean, for example, had just filmed a road safety television spot in which he said: "Take it easy driving - the life you save may be mine".
En route to the race, Dean reached a junction on Route 466 (now Highway 46), near Cholame California.
A 1950 Ford Custom coupe was approaching them, driven by a 23-year-old student with the unlikely name of Donald Gene Turnupseed. He began to turn into Highway 41, across the path of the Porsche, the sun in his eyes.
According to the popular legend, Wütherich, in the Porsche passenger seat, reported the actor's last words as "That guy up there's gotta stop. He'll see us."
The cars collided almost head-on, with some estimates suggesting Dean was doing 135 km/h, and Turnupseed about 90 km/h. The aluminium-bodied Porsche was launched into the air, torn and crushed.
Dean's neck was broken and he died before reaching hospital. Wütherich survived but was horribly injured, while Turnupseed suffered no more than shock and a bloodied nose.
Turnupseed was not charged - the accident being put down to Dean's speeding - and he died in 1995, after 40 years of refusing press interviews about the incident.
Wütherich went on to be a successful rally co-driver in the 1960s but reportedly never got over the 1955 crash physically or emotionally.
In 1981 he too died in a car crash.
The scene of the crash has been renamed the James Dean Memorial Junction and in 2012 an original 550 Spyder from 1955 fetched a record $4.05 million.