1966 Pontiac GTO, Monkeemobile, Monkeys
Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees, and aside from being pop-rock legends, they also had their own aptly named late ’60s TV series. Monkeys. And they needed a ride, not just any ride, but something that would let everyone know they had arrived. Universal Studios hired established customizer Dean Jeffries to provide a hero car for the show, who in turn spoke to George Toteff, the head of Model Products Corporation, a maker of plastic model kits. Toteff spoke to Jim Wangers, who handled Pontiac’s advertising account and ordered two base 1966 GTO convertibles, each with a 389-cubic-inch V8 and hydraulic automatic transmission.
The first car took only ten days to complete, the second only four. One was used for television, while the other was a promotional vehicle capable of wheel stands. Jeffries also created Black Beauty from The green hornet and the Moonbuggy of Diamonds are forever. He began by tracing Indy cars, most notably the Porsche 550 Spyder (“Little Bastard”) in which James Dean died.
At the end of the show, Jeffries had the right of first refusal to buy the cars for $1,000. He let them pass and George Barris, the creative mind behind the TV Batmobile and the Munster Koach, grabbed the second car. George Barris sold it at auction in 2008 and won $396,000 upfront. The other car accompanied the band on their world tour and was left behind in Australia, before ending up in Puerto Rico.