Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dean Jeffries, pinstriper and custom car bulder, Oakland Roadster Show winner

I was just reading an article about Dean and the Mantaray, and learned that he travelled to Indy for the 500, and on year, pinstriped 2/3rds of the race cars

James Dean was one of his early customers, and Jeffries painted "Little Bastard" on the Porsche 550 Spyder that Dean owned.

Agajanian took Jeffries to the 1952 Indy 500, Mobil Oil, noticing his unusual painting and pin striping style, hired him in the following years to paint any of the Indy race cars. It was free to the teams and Mobil got their logo somewhere on the car. Jeffries would paint and pin stripe the cars and helmets of race car drivers like Jim Rathmann, Parnelli Jones, and A. J. Foyt, and become Foyt's paint and body man.

After that, in 1962, he worked for famous race car designer and builder Carroll Shelby on the Cobra.

Dean's show car, Mantaray, first appeared at the 1964 Oakland Roadster Show where it won the Tournament of Fame First Prize. The smallblock Ford engine and 4-speed trans came directly from Shelby as partial payment for work Jeffries had done and to this day that Cobra engine has just a few miles on it.

He made the hovercraft in the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs, and the GTO Monkeemobile

For more about Dean Jeffries, mostly photos of his pinstriping, Krazy Shirts, and his magazine advertisements:

About his GT 40 (#109) which he bought for a dollar, as it was a Roadster Gt 40, which was a failed test experiment, and of the 5 made, only one won a race, due to the leader, Dan Gurney, running out of gas on the last lap. Dean sold it in 2013

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