It was only a couple of weeks ago that automotive customizing legend George Barris saw Davy Jones at an autograph-signing event in Los Angeles, but he shared another connection with the deceased Monkee: the Monkeemobile.
Barris, known for such designs as the original Batmobile for the TV show of the 1960s, told Drive On today that he built the Monkeemobile from a design by Dean Jeffries. (Jeffries has his own recollections about who built the car.) Barris bought back one of the Monkeemobiles from the studio after the TV show was finished and later sold it to a Michigan collector. Barris says he was riding in the Monkeemobile when it appeared in the Woodward Dream Cruise in Royal Oak, Mich., a few years ago. Another one is reportedly in an East Coast collection.
The car was a modified Pontiac GTO. “I had to whack the top off, modify the front end and give it more a “V” look,” Barris recalls. It had to have “a hot-looking engine,” which pops out of the hood.
The car, he says, was as much fun as the Monkees themselves. Barris says he met the musician/actors on several occasions and had fond memories of Jones. “He was kind of like the spark of the group,” Barris said. “He had a character, had a certain personality. He seemed to be more dramatic and more fun.”
Barris says compared with some of the other movie or personality cars that he made, the Monkeemobile continues to have a life, to be popular in collections. “It was a great character car,” he says. “It never did die.”