6 marvelous facts about the magnificent Monkeemobile
The Monkees had killer tunes and clever lines, as we all know. The "Prefab Four" cruised around in a pretty sweet ride, too. Next to the Batmobile, the Monkeemobile was one of the most desired custom cars of Sixties television.
With its creamy ragtop, protruding chrome pipes and electric red paint, the Monkeemobile carried as much unique personality as Peter, Micky, Michael and Davy.
Let's look under the hood at some fascinating facts about this gorgeous, goofy automobile.
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There were actually two Monkeemobiles.
Two Monkeemobiles were constructed — one ostensibly for use on the TV show and the other for touring and appearances. Both ended up on the screen. They have minor differences, too, notably the size of the Monkees band logo on the doors. Try to spot the differences between the car's appearences in seasons one and two.
It was built by the guy who made Green Hornet's Black Beauty.
Dean Jeffries was the custom car artisan who both came up with and constructed the Monkeemobile. Jeffries built some of the coolest Hollywood cars of the era, including the sci-fi, dart-like Mantaray seen in Bikini Beach (1964) and the intimidating Black Beauty driven by Bruce Lee on The Green Hornet.
Image: The Everett Collection
It was upcycled from Tony's convertible on I Dream of Jeannie.
The Monkeemobile was crafted from a customized 1966 Pontiac GTO. It was originally blue. In fact, it had a screen career before the Monkees. General Motors was a sponsor of I Dream of Jeannie, the fantasy sitcom produced by Screen Gems / Columbia, the same studio behind The Monkees. The automaker provided cars to the show, including the beautiful blue '66 GTO driven by Tony Nelson. This was the car reportedly chopped up, tweaked and turned into the Monkeemobile!
More than 7 million model kits of the Monkeemobile were sold.
MPC models sold a 1/25 scale kit of the Monkeemobile, which proved to be a huge smash with fans and hobbyists. The company sold more than 7 million of the model kits, which was reportedly second only to the Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee, in terms of TV car model sales.
Jeffries passed on the chance to purchase back the Monkeemobile after the show.
After The Monkees wrapped production, Columbia offered the cars back to Jeffries at a low price. The car builder shrugged off the deal. As he explained in a 2012 interview, Jefferies felt, "I don't wanna pay for something like that. If I wanted one, I'd build it, get it done next week." So what happened to them? Well…
One mysteriously ended up in Puerto Rico decades later.
One of two vehicles was purchased by George Barris, another notable Hollywood car customizer. As for the second Monkeemobile, well, it had quite a bizarre and enigmatic life. The Monkees took the car with them on an Australian tour not long after the show ended. For some reason, the Monkeemobile was left behind Down Under. A quarter of a century later, the car mysteriously turned up in Puerto Rico, where it was being used at a hotel as a courtesy car. It has since been purchased by a collector. However, nobody knows just how the thing got from Australia to Puerto Rice. Perhaps it can swim, too?