The Monkees were an American band consisting of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. They were active from 1966 to 1971 initially. They were formed to be the “fictional” band for the TV series “The Monkees” but they quickly went from being actor/musicians playing parts to a real life band who continued to record and tour today.
The Emmy award winning ”The Monkees” focused on the band who were trying unsuccessfully to be the new Beatles. For the show the young lads were given their very own custom hot rod to ride around in. The “Kustom Kar Kraze” was in full effect by then and hot rodders were trying to out do one another.
Two cars were built. The first one was for TV and was a bit of a hoss to drive so the blower was taken off and replaced with a fake one. The second Monkeemobile was built for car shows and promotional events. It was originally driven by The Colonel in the hit TV show “I Dream Of Jeannie” as a bone-stock 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible.
The cars were customized by Dean Jeffries who hacked them up, stretched out the noses of the cars and over-exaggerated the original contours. The trunks were hollowed out and a third row of seating was added and a Model T style tops were added. The cars were painted the reddest red and fitted with a set of chrome mag wheels. The iconic “The Monkees” logo on the sides was added during season two.
Jeffries later turned down the opportunity to buy them back for $1000 each because it would be cheaper to make new ones. One car ended up in Puerto Rico and the other landed in the stable of another famed car customizer, George Barris. Barris restored the car and began taking it to car shows and other events. According to Jeffries Barris began taking credit for the car, going so far as to have Jeffries’ name taken off of the MPC model car boxes and having his own added. It’s unclear why a man with so many accomplishments to his name needed to take credit for the work of others. To be fair, Barris did build some Monkeemobile replicas but they were just that, replicas.
The cars are still out there including Barris’ replicas as well as some replicas built by Jeffries, one of which used parts off the original #2 car replaced during a recent ground up restoration. The #2 car sold at auction in 2008 for $360,000.
I decided to draw the original Monkeemobile sans logo simply because that one is never depicted in any media. The original art is 11”x14” ink and acrylic on Bristol board and is available through the link at the top of the page. Prints are 11”x14”. They are signed, bagged and shipped flat. They can be bought on Ebay and Amazon.