Porsche's CEO says that a sub-Boxster model would channel the legendary 550 Spyder owned by James Dean.

With his automaker hard at work on a new four-cylinder engine, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said today that he could envision the automaker recreating its iconic 550 Spyder.

"I can imagine that such a modern version of the famous James Dean Porsche would be well-received by our customers," Mueller told Handelsblatt in its printed edition today.

The "James Dean Porsche" that Mueller references is the 550 Spyder. The Hollywood actor was at the wheel of his beloved "Little Bastard" 550 Spyder (pictured) when he hit a 1950 Ford head-on in rural San Luis Obispo County, California, in 1955. While Dean was killed in the wreck, the car's legacy endured.

For a couple of years, Porsche has talked about a new sub-Boxster model, but this is the first time the automaker has tried to channel the mystique of one of its most legendary products.

A reborn 550 would slot in below the Boxster with a mid/rear mounted four-cylinder engine like the 550 Spyder's 1.5-liter flat four. With an emphasis on weight savings, the car could certainly be dialed in below 3,000 lbs. even with all of the necessary safety and emissions equipment required on modern cars.

More track-oriented than even the Boxster and Cayman, the reborn 550 Spyder could take advantage of Porsche's new owner, Volkswagen. But with the VW lineup devoid of a low-cost rear-drive platform, the collaboration would probably be more centered around a packaging and technology trade than platform-sharing.

Look for more details about this upcoming sports car to make their way public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

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