Monkeemobile Creator Dean Jeffries Dies


  • Dean Jeffries' Mantaray Picture

    Dean Jeffries' Mantaray Picture

    Among Dean Jeffries' custom automotive creations was the Mantaray, which appeared in the 1964 movie Bikini Beach. | May 09, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Custom-car guru Dean Jeffries died May 5 at age 80.
  • Jeffries created two iconic designs from the '60s: the Monkeemobile and the original Green Hornet Black Beauty.
  • Jeffries, who grew up in Southern California and ran a shop for years in North Hollywood, rubbed elbows with some of the era's notable personalities, from James Dean to Steve McQueen.

HOLLYWOOD, California — George Barris, the self-styled "King of the Kustomizers," might be better known. But it was California native and custom-car guru Dean Jeffries, who died May 5 at age 80, who created two iconic designs from the '60s: the Monkeemobile and the original Green Hornet Black Beauty.

Jeffries, who grew up in Southern California and ran a shop for years in North Hollywood, rubbed elbows with some of the era's notable personalities, from James Dean to Steve McQueen.

He was introduced to the world of Indy-car racing by a neighbor, driver Troy Ruttman, and won early notice for his work as a custom pinstriper and painter for such figures as A.J. Foyt and Carroll Shelby.

Jeffries' Mantaray dragster was featured in the 1964 movie Bikini Beach. For television, he worked on the original Batmobile and built the Monkeemobile and the Black Beauty.

Jeffries' family is planning a memorial celebration in late May.

Edmunds says: Another '60s car legend passes.

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