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RIP Dean Jeffries

21 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Sad day, a great one indeed. I wonder if he was related to Matt Jeffries, the creative mind behind the USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek series?

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Posted · Report post

Another great custom legend has left us. My condolences to his family...

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Posted · Report post

Ah, bummer! Another one of my heroes gone....

As long as reruns of the "Green Hornet" are on cable, the "Black Beauty" will continue to shine in his honor.

Wonder if he, Larry Watson, and Boyd Coddington, are working on something for the Big Guy upstairs?

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Posted · Report post

Yeah, just saw this on another forum. The Manta Ray was one of the first full-tilt customs I remember from really early childhood. It made a huge impression on me. RIP Mr. Jeffries!

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Posted · Report post

c12_0511_12z_interview_dean_jeffries_man

Mantaray_Bubbletop.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Wonder if he, Larry Watson, and Boyd Coddington, are working on something for the Big Guy upstairs?

I'm not sure Boyd Coddington is up there....

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Posted · Report post

Ah, c'mon Tommy. Boyd had a church funeral and everything.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt...

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Posted · Report post

. . . guys . . .

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Jeffries was a giant of his generation, a tremendous natural talent. I've always associated him and Larry Watson for what they did for painting. They were key figures in pioneering and developing many of the techniques we associate with the hot rod and customizing idiom. But I have to remind myself of cars like Dean's personal Porsche coupe and the Manta Ray and give him his due in the metal bending department. Over the years there has been quite a controversy over who actually designed and built the Green Hornet Black Beauty and the Monkeemobile, Dean Jeffires or George Barris. George Barris owns the rights to the names and at least one original copy of each but Dean designed and built them although he gave up the rights to promote them. I had always thought they looked unlike any of the other cars of this period ascribed to George Barris, far too "together" looking and original in concept. In retrospect it has always made more sense that Jeffries created them than George Barris. Jeffries' originality and creativity was second to none.

RIP Dean, we're lucky to have had you!
DeanJeffries_01_1500-700x604.jpg

The young master at work
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Dean and his Porsche 356
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Dean operating the Mantaray by remote control
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Dean upon completing the Monkeemobile
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Dean and the Black Beauty
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Edited by Bernard Kron

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Posted · Report post

...I wonder if he was related to Matt Jeffries, the creative mind behind the USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek series?

They weren't related. Matt Jeffies was born in 1921 and died in 2003. He considered himself a Southerner, his parents being from Virginia. Matt Jeffries was a cultivated man, a writer as well as an engineer and designer, a Navy man, and the son of a successful electrical engineer.

Dean Jeffries was more protypically part of the post-war California Hot Rod and Custom Car culture. His parents came to California with Dean from Iowa where Dean was born in 1933. He grew up in Compton and Lynwood California, a hot bed of all things hot rodding. One of his neighbors was Champ Car legend Troy Ruttman who first helped promote Dean's gifts as a pin striper and car painter.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the background info and pix, Bernard. Seeing Dean's custom 356A in the wayback was one of the things that initially pushed me towards Porsches. I think he was probably one of the very first U.S. customizers to apply the concept to Euro steel.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the background info and pix, Bernard. Seeing Dean's custom 356A in the wayback was one of the things that initially pushed me towards Porsches. I think he was probably one of the very first U.S. customizers to apply the concept to Euro steel.

It was an extraordinary car when it came out, It made huge waves. It was almost shocking in its "purity", applying a customizer's aesthetic to refining the basic lines of the production car. The nose "sells" the lines of the stocker by radically de-chroming it and applying the European glassed in headlights, as seen on so many sports-racing cars of the era, in a unique way, especially with the Lucas spots. The inside was full tuck 'n' roll black leather and the engine was a chromed out Carrera cammer with twin Webers. The paint was pearlescent silver, the early stuff made with fish scales. As a little boy this car was my ultimate dream machine, encapsulating everything I loved about cars. It could also be viewed as a fitting tribute to Jeffries' friend James Dean who had perished four years earlier at the wheel of his Porsche 550 RS, a car the actor called the "Little Bastard", which JD had asked Jeffries to letter on the back end shortly before his demise. Perhaps all this will serve to remind us of the powerful cultural wave that Dean Jeffries helped create and which he rode throughout much of his life.

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Posted · Report post

As a kid, I always looked for the Monkeemobile sitting outside Jeffries' shop on Cahuenga Bl when we used the Hollywood Freeway to go somewhere.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks Bernard for the info.

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Posted · Report post

WOW, didn't hear this!!! R.I.P.

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Posted · Report post

I saw that yesterday on one of the pinstriping boards. I'll go out on a limb here but I liked most of Dean Jeffries' stuff a lot better than most of the oddities that came out of Barris' shop (with the exception of the Mercs that is). Dean just had an eye for what was cool and cutting edge, as has been mentioned a great example was his Porsche 356A clean with out all the angel hair interior junk! Dean and Larry Watson both were amazing painters who could do it all, in many ways both had a huge hand in the custom paint we see today now they're both gone.

Dean may be gone, but he had a good time getting there!

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Posted · Report post

Seems like the we're all getting old. and the great ones from our time are passing on.

I had the pleasure to see the Manta Ray in person last year while on tour,, When your consider the time frame and the tools / technology avail back then , that car is simply amazing to look at over and over and over. I took a bunch of pictures of it

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Posted · Report post

He was a genius, Everything in "Black Beauty" worked. beyond that he had a fantastic eye for shape and the use of color.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Here's some pics of Dean working on the Monkeemobile in his garage .

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Edited by TooOld

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Posted · Report post

Our local newspaper reported today that Dean Jeffries passed away yesterday in his sleep. He was 80 years old. Dean did a custom paint job on James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder. Dean died in wreck less than a month alter. He also painted many Indy 500 cars, created "Black Beauty" for the 1960s show "The Green Hornet" and built the Monkeemobile in just 10 days. He also built a moon buggy for the James Bond film "Diamonds are Forever".

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