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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Hey...hey...here's the Monkeemobiles, and people say they're still monkeying around

Unique ONES - Those are a slightly twisted song lyrics from the theme song of the comedy-sitcom about a four- man band, The Monkees. For those of you who had been one of their fans in the 1960s and 1970s, you might remember and memorize their songs. And for sure you will also remember the bright red Monkeemobile that looks like an exaggerated caricature of a convertible, but it cannot be denied that it is also one of the most famous custom cars ever made to date.
The Monkeemobile built based on the 1966 Pontiac GTO by Dean Jeffries known also as one of the most famous custom cars ever made to date. (Picture from: Flickr)
Even though at the beginning of the development of this custom car, it had invited controversy for the brand owner did not like the custom car by Dean Jeffries named the Monkeemobile built based on the 1966 Pontiac GTO. Even though it appears with its nose and tail stretching more than a foot each, in fact the Monkeemobile can still be recognized as just like a mutated result Pontiac GTO.
The Monkeemobile is powered by a 389 cubic-inch V8 drivetrain coupled with hydramatic automatic transmissions. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
Just look at there're four exhaust tips poking up on each sides just behind the front wheels, and a huge blower shooting out of the front hood. At the rear, the trunk has been hollowed out to make room for a curved bench seat, and a giant canvas top stretches across the shebang like an early 1900's Ford Model T. There's even a drag-style racing parachute installed. How's strange the final form of this car. At least that's what many people see (including the brand holding company top brass).😃
The Monkeemobile's front features a split two-piece windshield, coupled with front fenders, exaggerated tail lamps more than a foot each. (Picture from: HotCars)
So how did a Pontiac GTO change look drastically into a Monkeemobile, maybe it's one of those coincidence cases. By then creator Dean Jeffries was already an established name in the customization world of America, after having appeared with pinstriping Indy cars and even the Porsche 550 Spyder where James Dean died. It was Jeffries who painted "Little Bastard" on the back of the ill-fated car.
The Monkeemobile featured with a giant canvas top stretches across the shebang like an early 1900's Ford Model T. (Picture from: HotCars)
It was Dean Jeffries also who formed the aluminum skin of the Carroll Shelby's first Cobra, and he also crafted the original Black Beauty for The Green Hornet. Therefore it is not wrong if then he is contracted by Universal Studios to provide a hero car for The Monkees. In short, Jeffries purchased two basic 1966 Pontiac GTO convertibles, each powered by a 389 cubic-inch V8 drivetrain coupled with hydramatic automatic transmissions.
The Monkeemobile featured with the fake blower on top of the V8 rather than swapping it out for the real thing. (Picture from: HotCars)
Jeffries built the first car only in 10 days to complete, while the second one took four. The car number one will be used as a television car, and the second as a promotional vehicle, and each got slightly different final touche. For example, the GMC 6-71 supercharger sticking out of the hood of the Monkeemobile rammed so much power into the engine that the car was practically undrivable.
There's even a drag-style racing parachute installed on the Monkeemobile' rear. (Picture from: Flickr)
The second Monkeemobile, used for promotional events, had the weight added to the trunk, while the rear suspension removed so as to create the crowd-pleasing wheel mounts. The TV show cars only have blower shells attached; a four-barrel carburetor will provide all the power it needs.

No one could have predicted the success of The Monkees, who would become legends in 1967, they outsold The Beatles and Rolling Stones, even both were combined! Dean Jeffries continued to customize cars for Hollywood but somehow never got the public recognition he deserved.
The Monkees comprising Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones, while posed along with the Monkeemobile. (Picture from: JimsWorldAndWelcomeToIt)
What's more, when the show finished, he passed up the option to buy Monkeemobiles for $1,000. George Barris bought the second of the two, used it as a promotional vehicle for many years, and sold it at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2008 for almost $400,000.

Like other famous custom cars he has nothing to do with (such as the Ghostbusters Ectomobile), Barris may not claim to have created the Monkeemobile, but he doesn't actually correct anyone who makes those assumptions. A consummate self promoter, Barris was met with much acclaim while Jeffries continued to work. It was a source of bad blood between them.
Micky Dolenz (the last of The Monkees members) posed along with the Monkeemobile during at the Retro Con 2022, April 8, 2022. (Picture from: Retrocons)
As for the original TV show car, it accompanied The Monkees on their world tour. Somehow, ended up being left behind in Australia. Then it appeared in Puerto Rico, where it was briefly used as a hotel limousine. The story goes that the car was repainted pink, no one seems to know how it stranded in the Caribbean.
Then the Puerto Rican government confiscated the car due to unpaid tax issues and put it up for auction. In 1992, an anonymous buyer paid the $5,000 minimum bid to redeem the car, then shipped it to New York. It was restored to its former glory and reunited with The Monkees in 1997, and was used in a television special on ABC.
Today the two Monkeemobiles still occasionally go out to important car shows, and are occasionally driven. There it was, rolling down the road. And, as you might expect, both are still able to show everyone they meet with the funniest sights and not a few people still feel amused by their existence. Hey...hey...they're the Monkees, and people say they're still monkeying around.... *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DRIVING.CA | HOTCARS | BARRET-JACKSON | RETROCONS | WIKIPEDIA ]
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