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The Monkeemobile.

The Monkeemobile is a modified Pontiac GTO that was designed and built by designer Dean Jeffries for The Monkees, a pop-rock band and television program. The car features a tilted forward split two-piece windshield, a touring car T-bucket-type convertible top, modified rear quarter panels and front fenders, exaggerated tail lamps, set of four bucket seats with an extra third row bench where the rear deck should have been, and a parachute. The front grille sported the GTO emblem.[1][2]

Contents

Origin

The Monkeemobile's origins began in 1966 when Dean Jeffries was asked to design and build a car for a new TV show called "The Monkees". Jeffries, under contract with Model Products Corporation (MPC) at the time, told CEO George Toteff about the project. A make of vehicle had not yet been chosen for the project. Mr. Toteff then told his friend Jim Wangers of these developments. Mr. Wangers was working with Pontiac promotion and advertising at the time and saw the show as a huge promotional opportunity for Pontiac. After making the deal, Jim Wangers supplied two base 389 4-barrel 1966 GTO convertibles with automatic-transmissions to be converted into Monkeemobiles. MPC was in turn given exclusive rights to market a model kit of the Monkeemobile. They would end up selling over 7 million copies of these kits.[2]

The car

Two cars were contracted to be built: One as a main TV car, to be used on the television program, and one as a promotional show car, to tour hot rod and car shows around the United States. Both cars would be built in the span of four weeks. The first version originally sported a 6-71 supercharger engine, a solid mounted rear axle (no springs) and extra rear end weight. This was to enable the car to "pop wheelies." Because the car had too much power and was difficult to drive, the original blower set up was removed and a dummy blower was fitted. The second car was used as a touring car for auto shows and promotional events. Both would be used on The Monkees TV series, one during the first season and both throughout the second season.[2]

Several notable differences between the two cars exist, such as the size of the door logo and the styling of the fan belt cover and blower lines, which can be used to tell the difference between the two cars. It should also be noted that there are numerous replicas created over the years, none of which were made by the original cars' creator, Dean Jeffries. Such replicas also have a number of distinctive visual differences unique to each car.

Later years

After the television show ended, both cars were offered back to Dean Jeffries for $1,000 each, who had right of first refusal. He declined to purchase the cars because he felt he could build new ones cheaper.[1]

The "TV car" (aka car # 1) followed the Monkees on tour only to be left in Australia in 1968. It later resurfaced in Puerto Rico as a hotel courtesy car. To this day, there is still no hard information on how the car made its way to Puerto Rico, and it was sold at government auction in 1992 for $5,000 when the hotel went out of business. Though basically as it was built, the car did get some restoration work done when bought, and it was used as the example for the Ertl Company 1:18 scale die-cast toy, The Monkees 1997 TV reunion show, "Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees" and the 2001 "Cars & Guitars Of Rock N Roll" display at the Petersen Automotive Museum . It is now in the hands of a private collector in New York state.

The "show car" (aka car #2) was purchased by custom car designer, George Barris. This car would be the most visible during the years. It would go through many cosmetic changes and a failed auction attempt in 1983. Barris later went on to use and display the car for promotions at many large and small events. In 2006 the car would go through a major restoration. Even though it would become a beautiful 100 point show car, many changes and upgrades were made. In January of 2008, Barris, through Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona, auctioned the car which sold for $360,000. It now resides in the hands of a private collector in southeastern Michigan.[3][4]

Barris also had Dick Dean, who had helped Jeffries build the two originals, make a third copy. A Monkeemobile has been used by other rock bands such as The Sisters of Mercy ("Black Planet" video) and The Missing Links (a Monkees tribute band).

A second replica or tribute car has recently been built by a long time associate of Dean Jeffries. This new Monkeemobile now resides in Florida.

References

  1. ^ a b St. Antoine, Arthur. - "Interview: Dean Jeffries, Hollywood legend". - Motor Trend Magazine
  2. ^ a b c Keefe, Don. - "The History of the MonkeeMobile". - Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine. - (c/o monkees.net) - 1997
  3. ^ Press Release: "Barrett-Jackson Shatters Records at 2008 Scottsdale Event". - Barrett-Jackson Auction Company - January 22, 2008
  4. ^ Golfen, Bob and Peter Corbett. - Gooding auction sells top car". - Arizona Republic. - January 19, 2008

External links

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