Saturday, March 17, 2007

Custom Car: The Monkeemobile

The Monkeemobile is a modified Pontiac GTO that was built for the Monkees TV show. The car features a tall split windshield, a T-bucket convertible top, modified rear quarter panels, exaggerated tail lamps and an extra row of seats where the rear deck should have been. The front grille sported the GTO emblem. The engine was a 389 cubic inch Pontiac engine with Edelbrock valve covers and manifold. Dean Jeffries was contracted to build the car in 1966, and there are now three versions of the car. Two of these fronted the TV series, and one is a recently created replica. The drag racing type parachute to stop the car provide for amusement on the show. Jeffries also converted the Lincoln Futura into the Batmobile as he was contracted to do by George Barris. Note the similarities between the Batmobile and Monkeemobile: both are equipped with parachutes, and both have a split front grille with a vertical blade projecting. In effect, the cars share many of the same styling themes, including bladed edges. It can be surmised then, that the existing styling of the Futura laid the ground work for that of the Monkeemobile.

The first version of the engine originally sported a 6-71 supercharger. Because the car had too much power and was difficult to drive with the original blower, a dummy blower was fitted to all the models. This version of the car was used on the first season of the show and in only one episode of the second season. It has a backwards logo on the passenger side of the door.

The second car was used as a touring car for shows and events. It did eventually get into the second season a few times. The only notable difference was the logo. This logo also changed a few times after the series ended. This version is currently owned by George Barris. The third version was recently built from a 1966 Pontiac Le Mans instead of a GTO but carries the same features as the original. This creation was by Dick Dean for Barris' East Coast promotions to be used at car shows and other events.

The 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).

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