Building The Monkeemobile
The Monkeemobile's origins began when Dean Jeffries was asked to design and build a car for a new TV show called "The Monkees". Dean, who was under contract with Model Products Corporation (MPC), 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, Mr. 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.
Not a bad car to begin with
This is a rendering the show's producer and Pontiac found satisfactory for their needs
Lucky for us, Dean had other ideas. This early concept drawing, though still different, is now closer to what we have today. Take elements from both drawings and you have The Monkeemobile!
"The producers waited until the last minute to give us the go-ahead on the cars. We had to work around the clock for four weeks to get the cars done in time, but we did make it."
- Dean Jeffries
The car in the early stages. It would have to be all but taken apart to begin the conversion
Here the interior and deck lid have been removed. The rear floor is cut away to accommodate the third row bench seat and to access the rear
The rear window deck is cut away to fully open the car's new interior
Removing the rear window deck
The suspension was changed to accommodate a solidly mounted rear axle. Weights would be added to the rear because there was the thought that the car might need to "pop wheelies"
Ready to begin
New sheet metal is added to the quarter panel and tail light areas extending the cars overall length. Dean's design would try to keep as much of the original look as possible.
The same would hood true to the front. New sheet metal is added to the fenders enclosing the stock headlight buckets.
Here Dean test fits the factory grill. Again, keeping with the design of a GTO and making Pontiac happy. Note the wire at Dean's left arm on the placement of where the nose will be.
A front shot of the newly hand formed sheet metal and a nearing completion Monkeemobile. Note the original hood against the wall on the right side. Dean still has at least one of the original hoods in his collection to this day.
In the span of just one month, two cars would be built. Here Dean is pictured with the number one (top) and the number two (color)
The Monkees with the number one in an early promo shot.
Last but not least. The rare trailer built by Dean to be used as a stage set up and a place to carry the band's gear
Many thanks to Susan Ceja Encinas, Don Keefe and Dean Jeffries for their words and pictures. A special thank
you to John, aka Pennyworth, for the best picture of the trailer that we have seen so far!