Dean Jeffries – Mantaray, Monkeemobile

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Dean (Edward) Jeffries  (1933-2013 )

Dean Jeffries was an American designer and manufacturer of custom cars, as well as a stuntman and stunt coordinator for Los Angeles-based movies and TV shows, in California.

Dean Jeffries Hot Rod – Pinstriping Pin-up

Dean Jeffries was one of the pioneers of America, a man who inspired three generations of Hotrodders, the dragsters, of car manufacturers and customizations with his talent, his vision and his genius. With its pistols, brushes and metalworking tools. Dean Jeffries built his MantaRay to compete in the Grand Prize of the Tournament of Fame, which will be awarded to the Oakland Roaster Show in 1964. After working on the first Cobra for Carroll Shelby in 1962, Jeffries began work on his Mantaray project using parts of the chassis from a pre-war Maserati Grand Prix car he had acquired from his father-in-law, Jeffries used 86 pieces of aluminum to form Mantaray's bodywork, by carefully welding the panels to a complicated arrangement of steel tubes.

The Monkeemobile and the MantaRay were his most famous works.

The Mantaray

It was built on the chassis of an old Maserati Grand Prix racing car Formula 1.

Jeffries is perched on top of his famous Mantaray, documenting its complex construction.

The car was finished with a Plexiglas Bubbletop made by Jeffries using a tube to blow air into molten plastic until it bubbles to the size it needs. The engine he chose was a Ford V-8 with Cobra valve covers associated with a transmission to 4 gears.

The finished car was taken to the Oakland show on 14 February.

After learning to radiate while parking in Germany with the American army, Dean worked alongside Kenneth “By Dutch” Howard and Barris Kustom before opening Dean Jeffries Automotive Styling in North Hollywood. He has made a name for himself for his outrageous stripes and flame paintings and for building breathtaking customs like the Mantaray, opposite the "Oakland Roadster Show" but 64.

Edward ” Dean”  Jeffries Mantaray Custom Concept Car (1963)

Dean Jeffries' Mantaray in action and towing a dragster.

Mantaray Car 3D (Take 3D glasses )


Jeffries, under contract with Model Products Corporation (MPC) at the time, spoke to CEO George Toteff about the project. A vehicle brand has not yet been chosen for the project. M. Toteff then told his friend Jim Wangersde about these developments. M. Wangers was promoting and advertising Pontiac at the time and saw the show as a huge promotion opportunity for Pontiac. After concluding the deal, Jim Wangers supplied two GTO convertibles 1966 with four basic guns 389 with automatic transmissions to convert to Monkeemobiles. MPC has in turn received exclusive rights to market a model of the Monkeemobile kit. They would end up selling more than 7 million copies of these kits.

George Barris Custom (1925-2015)

After “Monkeemania”, the production offered to Jeffries to buy back the two copies for 1 000 dollars. One of the kings of “custom”, George Barris, bought one that he ended up selling 400 000 dollars and 2008. The other copy went around the world, foolishly ending up in Puerto Rico before being redeemed in 1992 by a collector for 2 000 dollars. The two cars are known today and continue to make the show, occasionally !

The Monkeemobile is a modified Pontiac GTO designed and built by designer Dean Jeffries for The Monkees , a pop-rock band and a TV show. The Monkees in May 1967 : Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork. The Monkees is an American pop rock band, trained in 1965 and dissolved in 1970. The group is created in order to launch the television series The Monkees, whose protagonists are the members of the group.

The car has a forward tilt divided into two windshield parts , a convertible passenger car with upper panels, modified rear quarter panel and front bumper, exaggerated rear lights, set of four bucket seats and an additional third row bench where there was originally a trunk, a mounted rear parachute and a GTO emblem on the front grille. The origins of the Monkeemobile started in 1966 when Dean Jeffries was commissioned to design and build a car for a new TV show called “The Monkees”.

3D MonkeeMobile



Virginia Maneval

I am the daughter of Jean Benjamin Maneval, famous urban architect who notably created the Bulle Six Coques, a plastic house from the pop years. You can also find me on my Facebook page or on my page La Bulle Six Coques by Jean Benjamin Maneval.

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