Dean Jeffries, 80; customized cars for Hollywood

In addition to the “Monkeemobile” (above), Mr. Jeffries created the “Black Beauty” for “The Green Hornet.”

NBC Television

In addition to the “Monkeemobile” (above), Mr. Jeffries created the “Black Beauty” for “The Green Hornet.”

LOS ANGELES — A celebrated car customizer who painted James Dean’s Porsche and made the ‘‘Monkeemobile’’ for ‘‘The Monkees’’ TV show has died. Dean Jeffries was 80.

His son, Kevin, told the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Jeffries died in his sleep on Saturday at his Hollywood home.


In 1955, Mr. Jeffries custom painted Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder.

Dean died in a wreck less than a month later.

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Mr. Jeffries also painted many Indianapolis 500 cars.

For television, he created the ‘‘Black Beauty’’ for the 1960s show ‘‘The Green Hornet’’ and built the Monkee- mobile in just 10 days.

He also built movie vehicles, including a moon buggy for the James Bond film ­‘‘Diamonds Are Forever.’’


Mr. Jeffries also was a stunt driver and stunt producer on films such as ‘‘The Blues Brothers’’ and ‘‘The Fugitive.’’

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